City Guide: Paris

A general view of Stade de France ahead of the game 20/3/2021
The City of Lights or the City of Love, anyone who visits Paris is sure to be swept up in the romantic atmosphere of the French capital.

The City of Lights or the City of Love, anyone who visits Paris is sure to be swept up in the romantic atmosphere of the French capital.

The Stade de France is located just to the north of the city in the commune of Saint-Denis, a futuristic beacon standing as the heart of French rugby.

With sightseeing opportunities on every street corner, this quaint yet bustling city is packed with something for everyone.

This weekend, the eyes of the rugby world will turn towards Paris as Guinness Six Nations champions Ireland take on New Zealand in the World Cup quarter-finals on Saturday, before hosts France face off against reigning world champions South Africa on Sunday.

Main Attractions

It is almost impossible to pick out the most popular attraction in Paris, but the Eiffel Tower surely takes the title.

The centrepiece of the 1889 World Fair, the locally named ‘La dame de fer’ stands at 330m tall and provides stunning views of the capital from all angles.

Or if you fancy a different view of the city, head to the Arc de Triomphe for an historic twist.

The Arc honours the names of those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. Beneath its vault lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War One.

From the Arc de Triomphe you can head down for a spot of shopping on the famed Champs-Élysées.

And for art lovers, feast your eyes on Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Mona Lisa’ or feel the freedom of Eugène Delacroix’s ‘Liberty Leading the People’ at the Louvre.

The Food and Drink

With the Stade de France just a short journey away from the centre of Paris, you can enjoy food and drink wherever you like in the French capital.

Paris is a city filled with a variety of different spots to eat and drink, whether that be fine dining, catching a quick bite or enjoying the night life – you can find it all throughout the capital.

If it is fine dining you are after then look no further than Le Fouquet’s, an iconic and historic restaurant in the 8th Arrondissement. Open since 1899, the legendary brasserie is famous for hosting the post-dinner celebrations of the Cesar Awards and is a popular spot for celebrity spotting.

For a less expensive offering, Paris is filled with places to catch a bite, from excellent food stalls, to creperies and everything in between and one of the best is a chain named Chez Gladines with three different restaurants across the city, while outside the stadium itself, you can grab hold of plenty of delicious food.

There are also a plethora of places to enjoy a drink throughout the city, with bars by the Seine (or even party boats on the Seine!) as well as plenty of spots to catch a drink. An affordable place that also does a mean steak (and serves free popcorn with every drink you order) is Nouvel Institut in the Latin Quarter right by the river.

While for Scotland fans heading to Paris this weekend, Auld Alliance is an excellent Scottish pub to head to and meet fellow Scotland supporters.

The Venue

The Stade de France has a staggering 81,338 capacity making it the sixth largest stadium in Europe.

Built to host the 1998 football World Cup, the venue has witnessed a plethora of sporting history, the final that year ending with France beating Brazil 3-0.

The stadium was also the glittering centrepiece of the 2007 Rugby World Cup and will host the final showdown in three weeks’ time.

With a running track neatly hidden under the pitch, the venue has previously been used for several athletics events, including the 2003 World Championships.

And with Paris set to host the 2024 Olympics, athletics will take centre stage at the Stade de France once more.

How Do I Get There?

The Stade de France is easily accessible from both the Gare du Nord and Gare de Lyon, with a quick hop on the RER D or B metro taking you directly there.

From Charles de Gaulle airport you can take the RER B in the direction of Robinson or Saint-Rémy-les-Chevreuse and get off at the La Plaine Stade de France station.

It might be a little bit too long for most to walk from the city centre to the stadium, taking approximately an hour and forty minutes to get there on foot.

If you have bought a parking ticket with your event ticket, then road signs will lead you in the direction of the car park on the day.

However, there are a number of car parks available in Saint-Denis set up in advance by event organisers.

Fun Facts

• New York or Paris? Did you know that there are five Statue of Liberty replicas dotted around various parts of the city, the most famous sitting at the Pont de Grenelle.

• In fact, France actually was the country to gift the USA their famous 93m landmark.

• Paris has an entire underground city called the Catacombs, a veritable labyrinth made from the tunnels of former quarries filled with history and galleries.

• The city is segmented into 20 districts or Arrondissements making Paris a mosaic of densely populated neighbourhoods.