Heading to Saint-Denis for the football in 2016?
Road trip your way there with our helpful guide.
This summer, one of the world’s biggest
football tournaments is happening in France, and it’s set to draw thousands of
visitors from all over the world. Heated matches will take place throughout the
country, kicking off in Lens and finishing in Saint-Étienne. The second
destination in this football extravaganza is Saint-Denis, a northern suburb in
Paris. Driving to the football from the UK is easy with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle, and there
are plenty of great places to check out along the way. This is our guide to
road tripping from Calais to Saint-Denis.
Tucked away in France’s northern suburbs,
Saint-Denis is home to magnificent architecture, colourful markets and, most
famously, the Stade de France.
Visitors can spend their days exploring the Basilica of Saint-Denis, dining at
delicious restaurants and, of course, watching the football matches, either at
the Stade or at the designated football Fanzone.
From Calais to Saint-Denis
There are two main routes you can take when
driving to the football from Calais: a coastal route that goes west from Calais
before heading inland, and another which goes inland and down through Arras.
Whichever route you choose, there’s lots to see and do along the way. Here are
a few of our favourite spots.
Sometimes known as Berck-sur-Mer, this coastal
town is a lovely place to take a break on your way to the football. Take a
stroll along the seaside, brush up on your local history at the Municipal
Museum and, if you’ve got time, why not play a round of mini golf? Then, pick
up a croissant at one of the local boulangeries and get on your way.
Next stop on the coastal route is Amiens, a
city steeped in history and overflowing with ancient buildings and picturesque
streets. Main points of interest include the Cathédrale Notre-Dame d'Amiens and
the Musée de Picardie, as well as the city’s many winding canals. There’s
enough to keep you busy for days.
Take a break in Amiens © Flickr user user ines s.
At around 45 miles from Saint-Denis, Beauvais
is the third and final stop when driving to the football from Calais… and what
a great stop it is! Take a dip in the Canada Lake, seek out one of the many
golf courses or shop till you drop at Beauvais’ array of boutique and
Like many of France’s cities and towns,
Saint-Omer has its fair share of beautiful buildings and gardens. If your time
is limited, we’d recommend Saint-Omer Cathedral and Le Jardin Public as
must-sees. For those with a little more time, La Coupole planetarium (5 miles
outside of Saint-Omer) is well worth a visit, especially if you’re travelling
with kids. Then, it’s back on the road, football-bound!
By the time you get to Arras, you’re bound to
be feeling a little peckish, so break for a bite to eat at La Bulle d'O. Head Chef, Olivier Lainé,
serves traditional French food with a fine dining twist. Choose from rack of
lamb with sweet potato gratin, foie gras with parsnip cream and more.
Before joining the hustle and bustle of the
football crowd, get back to nature in Compiègne, with a walk through its
stunning forest. Start at the Château de Compiègne and make your way down the Avenue
de Beaux Monts (the main promenade), from there you can walk whichever way you
choose. The forest is huge, so give yourself at least a few hours to explore.
Explore Compiègne Forest. © Flickr user NicholBrummer
Travelling to France for the football?
Don't miss out on this year's biggest football event. Travel from Folkestone to Calais with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle in just 35 minutes.
Read our destination guide for Saint-Denis here.