Round three of fixtures in the 2019 Six Nations provides Jacques Brunel’s France with the chance to seek revenge on Scotland, after to succumbing to a tight 32-26 defeat in a thrilling contest at BT Murrayfield back in February.
Les Bleus saw their early lead in Edinburgh gradually chipped away thanks to the nerveless kicking of Greg Laidlaw.
Laidlaw booted 22 points in total, including six penalties and two conversions, to help complete the Scottish comeback.
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The return fixture will be at the Stade de France, a venue at which Scotland have traditionally not fared well.
The Scots have not won in Paris since 1999 – the year of their most-recent Championship victory – so history is seemingly on France’s side.
But the fixture at the Stade de France on February 23, 2019 (kick-off 3:15pm local time) will be another tightly-fought contest with little margin for error if past encounters have taught us anything.
Matches in the French capital over the past years have been close but for a long time have ended with Les Bleus as victors.
Last time out at the Stade de France, back in the 2017 Six Nations, two late penalties from Camille Lopez helped the hosts to a 22-16 triumph over an injury-hit Scotland, who had led 16-13 early in the second half.
It’s 19 years since Scotland won in Paris – the final edition of the Five Nations – as the Scots marched towards the title.
The visitors ran out 36-22 winners, with two tries each from Alan Tait and Martin Leslie and another from current head coach Gregor Townsend.
The last time France lifted the Six Nations, back in 2010, two tries from Mathieu Bastareaud aided Les Bleus’ cause in a 18-9 win in Edinburgh, as they would go on to secure the Grand Slam.
THE CITY OF LIGHTS
Paris, the City of Lights, has everything. It is city packed with culture and almost too many world-famous sights and attractions to count.
It’s perhaps most famed for the Eiffel Tower, which is said to welcome nearly seven million people each year.
If you are in an artistic mood, there is the Louvre – home to Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa – while a trip to the renowned Notre Dame cathedral is well worth your time and taking a boat trip along the river Seine is perhaps the best way to see all that Paris offers.
For the best view of the city, head to the Sacre Coeur via the metro station Abbesses. Climbing the stairs up to the iconic church is no easy feat but the panoramic views from the top are to die for. Afterwards, take a stroll down to Place du Tertre. Packed with colourful artists’ stalls and surrounded by rustic, cobbled streets, the picturesque centre of Paris’ most charming neighbourhood is worth a visit.
A Six Nations weekend in Paris is something not to be missed.
The Stade de France is located just north of Paris in the commune of Saint-Denis. On a matchday, you can get to the ground via the metro, overground RER trains or bus.
Both RER lines B and D can be taken from Châtelet (a ten-minute journey) and Gare du Nord (a five-minute journey). If you take line B get off at La Plaine Stade de France, if line D get off at Stade de France Saint-Denis. Both stations are located a short walk away from the ground.
Alternatively, take metro line 13 to Saint-Denis Porte de Paris and walk ten minutes to the ground.
It is also worth noting that parking at the stadium is only available to those supporters that have purchased a car park pass in advance.
Once inside, you are guaranteed a great atmosphere as the French fans join in chorus to sing La Marseillaise.
The stadium itself is fairly new, with building finishing at the beginning on 1998, and holds over 81,000 fans. It is Europe’s eighth-largest stadium and is home to the French national football side as well as the rugby team.