Join the one of the biggest sporting events of the year and visit the Saint-Étienne Fanzone for the football in 2016.
Once an industrial city, today Saint-Étienne is a hive of cultural and sporting activity, boasting a range of galleries, both big and small, and a famous sports stadium. The Stade Geoffroy Guichard opened in 1931 and has been hosting notable sporting events ever since. This summer, the Stade will join 10 other stadiums in France as one of the hosts for 2016's biggest football tournament. The tournament will attract eager football fans from all over the world, all hoping that their team will be the one to lift the trophy. If you're travelling to Saint-Étienne for the football event of the year, read on for our guide.
Explore nearby Parc Naturel Regional du Pilat. © Flickr user Max LesZed.com
If you didn't manage to get tickets to the Stade Geoffroy Guichard, you can catch every moment of the tournament at the designated Fanzone. Each of the host cities will have their own Fanzone, broadcasting the matches to millions of football fanatics. Saint-Étienne's Fanzone will be set up at François Mitterrand Park, approximately 1.5 kilometres from the city centre, and will feature large broadcast screens and food and drinks vendors. Kicking off the action in Saint-Étienne is Portugal v Iceland, followed by Czech Republic v Croatia, Slovakia v England and one round of 16 match, and you can be in the heart of it all at the Fanzone.
What to do
Parc Naturel Regional du Pilat
Saint-Étienne is located in the Massif Central, in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes next to the Parc Naturel Regional du Pilat. This beautiful park is a great spot for walkers and cyclists, particularly during the warm summer months. As well as walking and cycling, you can try hang gliding, treetop walking, kayaking, white water rafting, water skiing and mountain biking. A great day out when you're not watching the football!
Musée d'art Moderne et Contemporain
For something a little more relaxed, visit the Musée d'art Moderne et Contemporain. Housing a large collection of modern and contemporary art, including works by Marcel Duchamp and Andy Warhol, the museum will keep you busy for hours. Want to learn more about the collection? Join one of the guided walking tours or attend one of the regular artist talks.
Where to eat
Chez les Fondus
Cheese is in France is the best in the world, so a restaurant with lots of cheese on its menu is always going to be good. As you may have guessed from its name, Chez les Fondus specialises in fondue. Choose from delicious cheese and dessert fondues, as well as raclette (melted cheese with potatoes, pickled onions, gherkins and ham), cured meats and more, for a hearty post-football meal.
Tuck in to some cheese fondue at Chez les Fondus. © Flickr user Vasile Cotovanu
Where to drink
The Smoking Dog
When visiting Saint-Étienne you won't be short of great places to drink, thanks to its many pubs and bars. The Smoking Dog is a centrally located pub, which is perfect for a post (or pre)-football pint. A range of beers can be found on tap – Guinness, Kronenbourg and more – alongside bottled craft beers, ciders, spirits and soft drinks. You can even grab a cup of coffee if you feel like it!
Where to stay
Hôtel Furania Saint-Étienne
Stay in the heart of Saint-Étienne at Furania Saint-Étienne, a friendly 2-star hotel surrounded by restaurants, bars and shops. From here, you can access many of Saint-Étienne's attractions on foot, including the football. There's also free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel and a French-style buffet breakfast.
Get to the football with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle.
Get there… with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle. Journey from Folkestone to Calais in just 35 minutes and from there, Saint-Étienne is just a drive away.
For tips on road tripping from Calais to Saint-Étienne, read our driving guide here