For a road trip you'll remember, follow our guide when you travel to Saint-Étienne for the football in 2016.
This summer, during June and July, France will host one of the most anticipated events in the sporting calendar: the football! Teams from all over Europe will battle it out in a series of matches, each of them vying to lift the trophy, to be held at ten destinations throughout the country. Saint-Étienne, in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, is one of these destinations. If you're travelling to Saint-Étienne's Stade Geoffroy Guichard, or the official Fanzone, get there with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle.
Pick up some delicious food at Saint-Quentin's market. © Flickr user Alex Janssen
Saint-Étienne was once an industrial city, but, in recent years, it has been transformed. Gone are the industrial factories, and in their place you'll find modern art galleries, fine-dining restaurants, retail precincts and more. Combined with this year's football tournament, Saint-Étienne is set to be a top summer holiday destination.
From Calais to Saint-Étienne
Driving from Calais to Saint-Étienne can take anywhere between 7 and 10 hours, depending on which route you choose. This route, which we've created just for you, takes 9 hours and is best spread over two days, with lots of stops along the way.
Stop One: Saint-Quentin
Around two hours' drive south from Calais is Saint-Quentin. Located in the Picardy region of France, this historic town is home to several must-see attractions. Stretch your legs at the colourful local market, held Tuesday to Sunday, where you can pick up delicious snacks and produce. Not feeling peckish? Visit the Basilica of Saint-Quentin, a beautiful old church, the Butterfly Museum, which displays a huge insect collection, or simply pick up a café au lait and get back on the road to the football.
Stop Two: Châlons-en-Champagne
The next stop on your drive to the football is Châlons-en-Champagne, the perfect spot for a lunch break. While there are plenty of restaurants and cafes to choose from, The Grand Jard park is a great place to have a picnic, especially in the summer. Pick up a few baguettes, a selection of cheeses and cured meats, and set up your picnic blanket under a shady tree. After eating, take a stroll around the beautiful park, past ponds, flower gardens and the canal.
Stop Three: Avallon
Located in the centre of Burgundy, Avallon is a quiet market town complete with cobbled streets and traditional stone and woodwork houses. After driving all day, Avallon is where you'll stay overnight. The Moulin des Ruats Hotel is a spectacular converted mill, overlooking a picturesque river and lovely grounds. Choose from 25 beautiful rooms, each one with its own unique charm, and dine at the onsite restaurant, which serves Burgundian classics alongside more modern creations.
Avallon in Burgundy.© Flickr user Random_fotos
Stop Four: Mâcon
After a good night's sleep in Avallon, it's on to the fourth and final destination: Mâcon. A small city on the banks of the Saône river, visitors to Mâcon will find that there's lots to see and do. Take a boat down the river, past pretty riverside buildings, browse the shops on Rue Carnot or simply stretch your legs with a quick walk around town. If you like a glass of wine, be sure to pick up some of the region's finest at a wine shop, or visit one of the local wineries. As it's only a drive away from Saint-Étienne, Mâcon also makes a great day trip destination for when you're not watching the football.
Take a boat ride down the Saône river in Mâcon. © Flickr user Mark Goebel
Get to the football with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle.
Get to the football with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle. Travel from Folkestone to Calais in just 35 minutes and you'll be in Saint-Étienne in no time at all.
Find out more about the football Fanzone, as well as where to eat, where to stay and what to do in Saint-Étienne, in our destination guide.