Parc des Princes
Situated in the south-west of the French capital, the Parc des Princes was used as a royal hunting ground in the 18th century, from which it took its modern-day name.
Before the arrival of the Stade de France, this was the home of the French national team for both football and rugby internationals. The first European Cup final, when Real Madrid beat French side Stade de Reims Champagne 4-3 back in 1956, is one of six European club football finals to have been held at the Parc des Princes.
The stadium has hosted games at two World Cups and was the venue for the 1960 and 1984 European Championships finals, the latter of which saw Michel Platini score and captain the host nation in their 2-0 win over Spain.
Renovation work at the Parc des Princes for Euro 2016 was completed last year and included additional rows of seating at pitchside as well as new dugouts and improved facilities for supporters, while also raising the overcall capacity to 45,000.
Sights to see:
Easily one of the world’s most rewarding tourist destinations, Paris is packed with must-see attractions.
No visit to the French capital is complete without a trip to the summit of the Eiffel Tower, the sparkling beacon of this city. At 276m tall, the view from the top is well worth the climb.
There is no shortage of boat trips available out on the River Seine, all offering a unique perspective on the architectural splendour of the city.
With its signature glass pyramid, the Louvre Museum is the most visited museum of art and antiquities in the world and a must when exploring Paris.
The Arc de Triomphe is another stunning vantage point from which to see Paris. By night it offers the best viewing point to see the Eiffel Tower’s lighting display and the chance to stare down the iconic Champs-Élysées below.
The French Open tennis tournament takes place at Roland Garros in late May and early June for Euro 2016 fans that may choose to arrive a little bit early. The famous red clay of the Parisian venue ensures the French Open stands alone amongst the sport’s grand slam events.
For over 40 years, the world’s most enduring cycle race, the Tour de France, has organised its final stage in central Paris on a circuit that runs along the famous Champs-Élysées each July.
This famous old venue holds memories both bitter and sweet for French football. In the 1984 European Championship Final, Les Bleus were crowned continental kings for the first time in their history as second-half goals from skipper Michel Platini and Bruno Bellone saw off Spain.
Less than ten years later and the stadium was the backdrop for arguably the most ill-fated night in France’s footballing history. Needing only a point to qualify for the 1994 World Cup, France squandered a lead as Bulgaria’s Emil Kostadinov scored deep into stoppage time to stun Gerard Houllier’s men and leave them looking in from the outside at the American extravaganza.
Group Stage Standout:
Portugal v Austria
The Parc des Princes is home to one of the world’s outstanding individual players in Paris St Germain’s Swedish star Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
On June 18, another superstar will take centre stage as Portugal skipper Cristiano Ronaldo leads his country into what could be a real battle against an Austrian side that qualified in some style.