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Paris

The French capital is a popular destination for tourists all over the world and is home to some of the finest contributions to the world of art and culture the world has ever seen.

Sport is a big part of the Parisian identity, with rugby competing alongside football, tennis and cycling for the attention of locals.

The financial might of the city far outweighs that of any other in France, accounting for 30 per cent of the country’s GDP.

The city has existed since the third century BC, meaning it has had plenty of time to work on what is a noticeably strong identity.

The administrative borders of Paris have been essentially unchanged since 1860.Since the 19th century, the built-up area of the city has grown far beyond those borders. Together with its suburbs, the whole agglomeration has a population of 10,550,350.

Stade de France

The Stade de France has been the national stadium for France’s rugby and football teams since it was opened for the FIFA World Cup in 1998.

Local club sides Racing Metro and Stade Francais have moved high-profile fixtures to the 81,000-capacity venue, which also hosted the opening fixture and final of the Rugby World Cup in 2007.

Despite its modern facilities, the stadium is situated in the rather unglamorous northern suburb of Saint-Denis but within easy access of the city centre.

Curiously, the stadium does not have any undersoil heating, which led to controversy in 2012 when France’s Six Nations clash with Ireland was called off at the last minute in front of a full stadium.

Reports have suggested French rugby may well look to move from the Stade de France, although there is nothing in the pipeline yet.

The atmosphere at this ground can be truly electrifying, although French fans have been known to voice their displeasure when things go against them. 

Getting Around

Paris

Rail and metro services are at the heart of public transport in Paris. The Stade de France is served by two lines on the city’s suburban rail network known as the RER.

RER B and RER D both serve St Denis station, which is the quickest way to get to the ground. Both lines depart from the Gare du Nord (five minutes journey time), Chatelet-Les Halles (10 minutes) and Gare de Lyon (15 minutes) in the city centre. 

The Saint-Denis branch of Line 13 on the Paris Metro also serves 'Saint-Denis-Porte de Paris', which is also close to the stadium and is well linked to the rest of the city.  

While both the metro and suburban rail services are very efficient, it is worth bearing in mind that crowds after the match can lead to queues outside the station, with some fans waiting up to an hour before being able to get the train back to Paris. It’s therefore worth waiting for the crowds to die down before heading back. 
 

What to see

arc de triomphe

There is no shortage of things to keep visitors busy.

Arguably the most famous sight in the city is the Eiffel Tower, which is an instantly recognisable beacon of French culture and society.

Once the largest man-made structure in the world, the tower is some 324 metres high, with visitors often venturing to the top to see the magnificent view of the city.

The Arc de Triumphe and the Champs Elysees are also must-sees.

Those looking for a bit of culture can head to the Louvre, which is the most visited art museum in the world. It’s popularity isn’t unfounded as it is home to some of the finest artworks ever created, including Leonardo Da Vinci’s enigmatic Mona Lisa.

Other museums include the Musée d'Orsay, noted for its collection of French Impressionist art, and the Musée National d'Art Moderne, a museum of modern and contemporary art.

Paris is also often noted for its unique gothic architecture, the best examples of which can be found at the iconic Notre Dame de Paris and the Sainte Chapelle.

Where to drink

French bar

Many sports fans choose to drink away from the stadium, due to the reputation of St Denis, with popular spots including the Gare du Nord and Châtelet, both of which are close to rail connections that go to the stadium.

One favourite is the centrally-located Kitty O'Sheas near the Opera Metro station, while the Eden Park Pub on Rue Princesse is also a good bet.

It’s always worth remembering that drinks tend to be very expensive in Paris, so always be on the lookout for any Happy Hour deals.

Fans hoping for a pint inside the stadium will also be disappointed to learn that all beer sold at the ground is alcohol free!

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