10 STADIUMS, 10 CITIES AND 10 DIFFERENT EXPERIENCES – ALL AWAIT YOU IN THIS EXHILARATING COUNTRY. THIS YEAR, UEFA EURO 2016 WILL BE HELD IN 10 DIFFERENT FRENCH CITIES FROM JUNE 10-JULY 10.
Once a Greek colony, Marseilles is the true epitome of a Mediterranean city. One of the oldest and most cosmopolitan French cities, Marseilles was chosen as the 2013 European Capital of Culture, thanks to its architecture and historic structures. Gaze upon the city from the top of Notre-Dame de la Garde Basilica or sit at a lovely café in the old harbor and take in the lively atmosphere.
A stone’s throw from Stade Vélodrome is the one Michelin-starred Am par Alexandre Mazzia, which specializes in African, Asian and French fusion cuisines. The three Michelin-starred restaurant inside the Le Petit Nice Passédat, a waterfront hotel, is a great place to sample seafood while enjoying sea views.
Rent a motorboat, sailing boat or gullet for a few hours or choose from a panoramic tour around Marseilles, the nearby island, Δles du Frioul, or to Cassis, and enjoy time on the sea. There are many rental agencies around the harbor, like Goélette Alliance and Le Levantine.
Nicknamed “Little Paris,” Bordeaux’s historic stone buildings lend this 18th century city its charm. Colorful people and a relaxed pace are to be found in chic downtown and in its small squares – all of which deserve a visit. Located on a vast and flat expanse on the Garonne River, Bordeaux is also a city of cyclists, who take pleasure in its 580km-long cycling track.
This two Michelin-starred restaurant is managed by celebrity chef Jöel Robuchon (holder of the most Michelin stars in the world); it’s located inside the historic 19th century Le Grande Maison Hotel. Another great option is the one Michelin-starred Le Pressoir d’Argent - Gordon Ramsay at Grand Hôtel de Bordeaux & Spa.
Who wouldn’t like to stay at the 19th -century Château Grattequina, only 5 kilometers away from the stadium and 9 kilometers from downtown? Situated on the Garonne River, this hotel has balconies in its rooms that offer wonderful views of the city, as well as private, pleasant boat rides to downtown that take only 15 minutes.
One of the world’s most romantic capitals, Paris is held in high regard for lots of things – culture, history, artists, fashion, cuisine, museums, parks, lively atmosphere and love! Beautiful all year long, Paris is ready to greet summer. Enjoy the sunshine on a terrace or on a riverside bank, have a picnic in a public garden and attend one of the many summer festivals!
It’s hard to pick just one restaurant in this culinary paradise. Book a table at one of the three Michelin-starred upscale restaurants in the city. Try the artichoke soup with black truffles at Guy Savoy (within walking distance to Notre-Dame), the lobster at L’Ambroisie (next to Victor Hugo’s House), or one of the dishes using organically grown ingredients at Alain Ducasse’s restaurant in the Hotel Plaza Athénée.
If you’d like to buy yourself or a loved one something from a local boutique, besides famous jewelry brands, stop by Dary’s; this family-run jewelry shop next to Vendome Palace has been operating since 1932.
This small and quiet suburb in northern Paris is home to Stade de France, the fifth-largest stadium in Europe with 81,338 seats. Hosting national and international sports competitions as well as concerts by world famous performers, Saint-Denis is a haven for both sports and music fans.
Two subway stations away from Stade de France is the Le Coq de la Maison Blanche; it’s a delightful option and offers daily menus. Try one of the house specialties: seafood, lamb’s head and Burgundy-style ham.
Within 15 minutes’ walking distance from the stadium is the gothic-style Saint-Denis Basilica. It is the town’s most prominent landmark, as well as one of the country’s most important, both from a historical and architectural standpoint. The church’s marble statues of King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette are particularly notable.
Located in the Pas-de-Calais area north of Paris is the small town of Lens, and is historically important as a fortification point for the Normandy landings during WWII. Prior to, the discovery of coal in the area in 1849 led to the area becoming an industrial center.
At Louvre-Lens Museum Park is Chef Marc Meurin’s two Michelin-starred L’Atelier de Marc Meurin, which serves delicious dishes made with local, organic ingredients. Also highly recommended is Les Jardins de l’Arcadie for high-quality cuts of meat; there is also a beautiful garden.
Don’t be too upset if you didn’t find the time to explore the Louvre in Paris - the Musée du Louvre-Lens has temporary exhibits that feature some its pieces. The all-glass and metal design is a product of the collaboration between SANAA in Japan and Imrey Culbert in New York. The museum’s glass-enclosed design allows visitors to enjoy the landscape at the same time.
Nice, the heart of the French Riviera and the pearl of the Côte d’Azur, appeals to all ages, but it is also still the playground of high socialites. Its close proximity to Monaco, Monte Carlo and Cannes, and to the private beaches along the Promenade des Anglais attract elite from around the world.
Located inside the waterfront Hotel Negrosco, the two Michelin-starred Le Chantecler is one of the best restaurants in town. I recommend that you try the award-winning lobster roasted with Espelette pepper. Another prominent restaurant is the one Michelin-starred Flaveur, managed by French brothers Gael and Mickael Tourteaux. They cook superb Mediterranean and Asian fusion cuisine.
Fancy Going for a Horseback Ride?
For those wanting to get away from Nice’s vibrant atmosphere and hang around the stadium, I suggest heading to the city’s best riding club, Club Hippique de Nice to relieve your stress by taking a ride. And, since it’s near the stadium, you can go before or after a game.
Located close to the Belgian border in the north of France, this city on the Deule River was the 2004 European Capital of Culture. Its cultural heritage, friendly locals, and location on the rapid train line makes Lille a popular weekend escape for those coming from Paris, London and Brussels.
Situated inside a 18th century boutique hotel in the historic city center, La Table is a one Michelin-starred restaurant. The menu (which changes weekly) features dishes prepared with local ingredients. Together with its stylish décor, La Table is one of the best downtown eateries. Another Michelin-starred restaurant is La Laiterie, near the zoo and the castle. Try the tuna and then have the ginger chocolate for dessert.
Get Around in a Classic
How about touring this historic city in a Citroën CV2 convertible? Rivaling the VW Beetle in popularity in the ‘50s and ‘60s, this lovely classic was designed in 1936 and first manufactured in 1948. Loyal to the original design until 1989, when it was redesigned, this car will make your trip back in time even more enjoyable.
Known as the “Pink City” thanks to its terracotta houses, Toulouse is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. A university city that has more than 100,000 college students, Toulouse is also a technological home, with many of the country’s aeronautics and space centers located here.
The cuisine at the two Michelin-starred restaurant Michel Sarran is prepared with ingredients from the nearby Pirene Mountains. Les Jardins de l’Opera, in the five-star Opera Hotel, is located in a 17th-century monastery and is another Michelin-starred restaurant. Do try the foie gras with lemon sauce.
With airplanes, we can fly to other places in mere hours. For an educational journey into the world of flight, I recommend taking a short Airbus aircraft factory tour. Just be sure to make a reservation (online or via phone) at least two days prior to when you’d like to go.
Lyon is the hometown of the Lumière Brothers, the inventors of cinema. Lyon’s delicious cuisine, historic buildings, theaters and cultural activities attract visitors. As the third-most populated city in France, Lyon is sure to have something for everyone.
Opened in 1921 by Eugénie Brazier, the mother of modern French cuisine, La Mère Brazier received three Michelin stars in 1933, earning Brazier the honor of the first female chef to have received three stars. After her passing, her family continued to manage the restaurant. In 2004, the restaurant was bought by Mathieu Viannay and reopened in 2008. Today, the restaurant has two Michelin stars.
The Journey of Silk – La Maison des Canuts
In addition to the famous cervelle de canut cheese and Lyonnaise-style potatoes, Lyon is also known for its silk weaving industry. Visit La Maison des Canuts to learn more about silk and weaving in Lyon, which has been the heart of the French textile industry for more than 500 years.
If you’re travelling between Toulouse and Lyon, this small town is a must-see; it has an important place in coal mining history. In the 15th century the city was fortified by walls, and in the 16th became a center of weaponry manufacturing for the national army. During the French Revolution, the city was known as “Armville” because of this industry.
A unique menu at A La Table des Lys makes it one of the best places to eat in Saint-Etienne, a city of mining and industry. I also can recommend Regency, another spot renowned for its service and fine dishes.
Relaxing on the Green – Golf
If you’d like some time to yourself and want to spend it outside, I suggest the Gold Blue Green, which adheres to international standards and is only 2.5 km away from Geoffroy-Guichard Stadium. Home to two 18-hole golf courses, this golf club attracts golfers from all over Europe.