It has been a very exciting week for European soccer fans. As of last Tuesday, 20 of the 24 teams have qualified for next year’s Euro 2016. If you’ve always wanted to go to France, or wanted to see more of this beautiful country, then Euro 2016 is the perfect excuse to do just that, and see the very best of these ten cities as they are alive with the excitement of this epic soccer event. The vibe will be electric, and this will be a trip you’ll have a blast on. Here’s a run down of the ten host cities:
- Paris. The French capital is somewhere that everyone needs to visit at least once, so they can experience the very heart of French history and culture. Besides getting to see the Euro 2016 Final in this exciting city, guests will also be able to explore iconic landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and The Louvre. Paris has superb restaurants, and some seriously chic accommodations.
- Marseille. Come for the soccer, stay for the seafood. This coastal city is the second largest in France, and its southern location means that the weather is usually amazing. Marseille will be named the European Capital of Sport in 2017, so this will be a perfect time to check out all it has to offer sports fans in advance of having that honor bestowed upon it.
- Lille. This northern city is close to the Belgian border, and consequently visitors will hear a charming Flemish accent on the French spoken there by its friendly and welcoming citizens. Once very much an industrial city, nowadays Lille is a cultural hub full of great restaurants and world class museums and attractions.
- Saint-Étienne. Named a City of design by UNESCO, Saint-Etienne is a seriously cool place to visit if you love architecture and design innovation. There’s also a rich cultural heritage to explore, and elegant restaurants to dine at.
- Lyon. The third largest city in France offers lots to visitors, from excellent cuisine, to plenty of historical and cultural attractions – cinema was first invented here in 1895. The Old City is wonderful, as are the many gorgeous parks throughout the city. (Click here to see Anthony Bourdain’s take on the cuisine of Lyon.)
- Nice. Glorious Nice is situated just beside Monaco, and enjoys much of the high-end style as the Principality does. A playground of the rich and famous, Nice is beautiful and when you visit it is easy to see why this is the second most popular city in France for tourists to visit (with Paris being number one, naturally).
- Saint-Denis. Located just north of Paris, Saint-Denis is home to Stade de France, the stadium built specifically for the 1998 World Cup, which is home to both France’s national soccer team, and rugby team. It is also home to the Basilica of Saint-Denis, a magnificent 12th Century church where the kings of France were buried.
- Bordeaux. If you’ve never visited this beautiful city, you’ve no doubt sipped on a glass of the wonderful wines that have been produced here since the 8th Century. Besides being a huge wine destination (and home to the world’s largest wine fair, Vinexpo), Bordeaux is architecturally fabulous and decadent, and a truly incredible city to visit.
- Toulouse. Nicknamed the Pink City after the gorgeous rose-hued buildings that line the cobbled streets of the medieval old city, Toulouse is such a stunning destination. It has superb restaurants, and a laid-back welcoming vibe that makes visitors fall in love with the place.
- Lens. A former coal-mining town undergoing a serious renaissance that includes the Louvre opening a location there (appropriately named Louvre-Lens), Lens is small but interesting. It is also close to some very important First World War battlegrounds, and attracts many visitors each year for that reason alone.
As we do get closer to the championship, it is going to get harder to ensure you have the accommodations and tickets you need either to see the final in Paris, or to follow your favorite team. Now is the time to start planning, so contact us to find out how we can create the perfect trip, customized to your wants and needs, and ensure you see the very best of Euro 2016 from the stands instead of through a TV screen.