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Away Guide to Stade Français

by Ze Stade Fan on Wed May 02, 2012 2:28 am
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Allez les Blancs!

Where to sleep in Paris

As I live in Paris, I have very little knowledge of hotel standards and prices. But.

An old friend of mine, Vincent, decided to buy and restore a hotel after a long career in the beer industry. The result is quite nice and quite affordable as well. The hotel is located not far from Gare du Nord where Eurostar lands in Paris and not far either from Place de la République, where you can take the métro straight to stade Jean Bouin (line 9). Of know : at Gare du Nord you can take a train to Stade de France (Take RER train line B to Stade de France)

I don't know why Vincent decided to call his hotel Soft Hotel. Anyway, I asked him whether he'd give good value to British supporters coming over the week end to watch a game here. He said that, yes, of course he'd give good rates to a group of supporters provided that 1) they form a group of more than two individuals 2) they send a fax or email to book the rooms mentioning that they come on behalf of "Rémi from Stade Français' supporters club".

Finding your way in Paris

Getting to the Stadium

Stade Jean Bouin is located at the Western tip of Paris. There are two métro sations to get to Stade Jean Bouin : porte de Saint Cloud, on line 9 and Porte d’Auteuil on line 10. In each case, as you get out of the métro, follow the signs saying “Parc des Princes”, for our dreary, crumbling, haunted little stadium “Stade Jean Bouin” is shadowed by the much bigger Parc des Princes stadium.
Where to drink?
Paris is the most visited city on earth, so it is fairly easy to get ripped off in my dear hometown. Remember that due to labour costs and taxes, beer is much more expensive here than in the British Isles.


Where to get the pint? :

My local is The Auld Alliance, used to be owned by Stevie Graham (and the charming Maggie), who sold the place to a Frenchman, but the bar staff remains the same including the very Scottish Davie. Address : rue François Miron in the 4th arrondissement , near métro Saint Paul. An honest to God Scottish pub with everything a Scottish pub should have : Caledonian drought, Guinness, a comprehensive choice of single malt whiskies, British breakfast served on week-ends and pub grub all week long, a small pool table at the back (when it is not squatted by Italian supporters of Roma FC. Yes, we have enough Roma FC supporters in my neighbourhood to invade a Scottish pub’s backroom). All staff is English speaking.

Irish pubs? There once was a shortage of Irish pubs in Paris so people with no Irish connections opened identikit “Oirish” places where I would’nt order a drink if my teeth were on fire. Perhaps because of that, some of the best places closed. Where are ye gone, Tigh Johnny’s and Flann O’Brian’s? Still, I would recommend a pint at “Carr’s” 1 rue du Mont Thabor, 1st arrondissement, Métro Tuileries, owner Connel Carr from Co Donnegal. They also do restaurant. Used to be pretty posh in the past when stock exchange boys would flash their platinum visa cards to offer a round but there’s a nice log chimney, sometimes a piano and the black stuff is served according to acknowledged rules. Some England supporters had set camp there during the RWC. Man, that semi final still hurts.

The Green Linnet, 8 avenue Victoria 4th arrondissement. Owner Eoghan Lucey from Ballynacurra, Co Cork. Near Métro Hotel de Ville and Châtelet, a very central pub. Large pool table. Although he very seldom shows his talent, Eoghan is a distinguished bouzouki player and a master singer of Irish songs. Famous quiz on Wednesday night with Quizmaster Paraic Maguire from Dublin, Co Dublin.

The Frog and Rosbif, 116 rue Saint Denis, 2nd arrondissement, near métro Etienne Marcel : a true English pub, one of the very first in Paris. They serve their locally brewed beer. I used to go watch my Premier League there but I haven’t set foot in the place for quite a while. The owners started a chain across France. Some say the success lead the management to complacency. Pub grub used to be real good, it is perhaps worth checking if it still is.

Near the Stade Jean Bouin
The closest bar is Les Deux Stades, 41 avenue du Général Sarrail, between the Parc des Princes stadium and Stade Jean Bouin. Nothing special there except that they serve lager in plastic pints so that you can carry them away in the stadium.

Les Princes rue Paul Michaux : if you’re going to the stadium coming from métro station Porte de Saint Cloud (line 9), you are normally going to get past Les Princes.The former owner was Christophe Dominici, now that is not the manager any longer, they turned the place into a “chic” venue. I think it’s expensive, but good, perhaps too expensive an not good enough.

Le Stade, 2 rue du Commandant Guilbaud. The place has gone bust! Sadly, because it was the ideal for a post match pint : it was owned by Sylvain Marconnet and Pieter DeVilliers, two of the most capped French props. But, sometimes after a game the bar is re-opened by the staff of our club. The event is then advertised on Stade Français' website. Beer by the pitcher, supporters of all clubs congregate there. The players sometimes come for a drink after the cocktail, in their blazers and ties and interesting bandages. Not easy to find : it is located behind the gates of a small stadium, at the first floor of a gymnasium. It was also a restaurant : they used to serve outside during spring and summer months, and sometimes I would go there and eat informally with some of the players who have lunch before taking the plane for an away game. It was good food, at Parisian prices i.e.: not that cheap.

Le Trinquet, 8 quai Saint Exupéry, métro Porte de Saint-Cloud: the best possible venue when the weather is fair, Le Trinquet belongs to one of Stade’s hookers and captains Mathieu Blin. It is located at a solid ten minutes walk from the stade Jean Bouin, on the banks of the Seine. This little piece of Basque country in Paris has two walls to play “pelote”, a Basque sport where you try not to get knocked in the middle of next week by the ball. There is also a “trinquet”, a kind of indoor facilty looking very much like a squash court.
When they feel like it, the players of Stade Français gather there for a bash. The Argentinians order beef “a la plancha” and the fans drink Oldarki, the Basque ale, with plates of raw ham or beef skewers. Cheap, cheerful, and the atmosphere is what you make of it.

“Thirst Street” (rue de la soif) is a nickname for a few blocks, far away from stade Jean Bouin in the 6ème arrondissement of Paris, at the corner of rue Guisarde and rue Princesse, near métro Saint-Sulpice. There are notably the bar and disco “Le pousse au crime” (shall I translate by “the jail bait?” – you’d better ask her if she is really 18) and the pub The Bradford Arms, among others. Indeed players and rugby fans sometimes congregate for a binge during the Six Nations. The locals are used to seeing people getting thoroughly pished after a match but we don’t do this, do we?

Our Stadium, Stade Jean Bouin

According to Wiki-bollix-pedia, Jean Bouin was a sports enthousiast who lived at the turn of the XXth century. The chap was part of the French delegation at the 1908 Olympics in London but he was sacked from the team for escaping at night and getting arrested after a fist fight in Soho. What a complete French athlete! All my respect to Jean Bouin, who finally died during an offensive in 1914.

Stade Jean Bouin itslef is an ill-conceived, old and crumbling multipurpose stadium which will be pulled down soon in order to let some space for a brand new, chic and trendy rugby-only stadium. Only note of interest : they serve beer at several lil’ bars in or behind the curves, but don’t expect a full fledged pub in the stadium. Don’t expect the Spanish inquisition either, for no one expects the Spanish inquisition! There is a club house near the grounds. I don’t drink there so I don’t have any arguments to advise you to go or not to go there.
Our Club, Stade Français
Stade Français is a club, Stade de France is a venue which does not belong to Stade Français, although Stade Français invades the place three to four times a year for big matches.

Stade Français was founded in 1883 by a group of students, all of them sports fans. As they were all runners, they decided to name their club “Stade”, from the old length unit inherited from the ancient Greeks, the “stadion”, which is the distance a trained athlete with momentum can run without breathing (approx. 600 feet). Thanks to Stade Français’ founder, the word Stade was used to designate a club. Today Stade Français plays in pink, which is also a form of tribute to the ancient Greeks according to our ennemies, and also many of our friends.

Past glory

In 1890, Stade Français was the first club to enforce Rugby rules according to English Union laws, and they were thus the first to play against British clubs. In 1892, Stade Français lost the very first final of the French championship, the referee being Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern happy dopey steroid fest. Er... the Olympics, that is. Between 1893 and 1908, the club won no less than 8 French shields, the famous, the much coveted, the glorious “Bouclier de Brennus”, which (or should I say “whom”?) I had the pleasure to heave thanks to the generosity of Stade Français’ management. After WWI, Stade Français fell in a long slumber, with an occasional famous player making the news.

Modern times

In 1995, a businessman and founder of the most successful private radio in France, Mr Max Guazzini, bought the club and merged it with another Parisian club, the CASG. A new history began. Between 1995 and 2008, Stade Français – CASG Paris Rugby won 5 French shields and netted 2 finals of the H Cup (we’ve GOT to get that one, for Pete’s sake !) President Max, who – as far as I know – never was a rugby player, hired some ole cunning gurriers and young promising cubs and Stade Français became what it is today : a bloody serious contender for silver or wood (the French shield is nailed to a plank).

That is not all. The French rugby tradition is deeply rooted in the South : the French rugby speaks with a rural accent, and the sport is mostly seen as a village game where ole buddies congregate to vent out their frustrations on the pitch. Songs are sometimes sung in local dialects (Basque or Occitan, for instance), the brass bands (called bandas) alway play the same time honoured tunes. Players often bear the name of illustrious internationals of days of yore, for the simple reason that they are sons or nephews of the said internationals.

Being a media mogul and rugby ignoramus, Max Guazzini shook the ole tradition, as he believed that rugby, now a professional sport, could not survive without broadening its barriers. Pom-pom girls were called to cheer the crowd before major games. For placed kicks the tee was brought on the pitch by a remote controlled car. Before the others, Max had the idea to make the boys pose for a nudie calendar, an idea that was largely copied round the world, although our calendar is really really hot.

In 2005, Max had another great idea of having the boys playing in pink. Of course ill-tempered rugby pundits started groaning that enough was enough and that the game was being put in disrepute. Some even suggested that all those new ideas would not have flourished if President Max wasn’t a very, very liberal character. Some even cursed him and his extravaganza for being camp like a row of tents.

But the public followed Max and his fancy circus. And of course, Toulouse, our arch-Nemesis from the “rosie city” adopted a pink jersey to mark their 100th anniversary in 2007. Today it looks like people accepted that Paris’ tradition lies in challenging traditions, and the three or four games per year which are played at the 80,000 seats Stade de France are always sold out.

Paris is a large city so, yes, we have our little share of urban disturbance. Without any accurate figures I’d say “less than London more than Dublin” although I heard that Dublin was not really improving these days. I am a 45 year old tall-but-not-that-big fellah and I feel safe to walk around the center of Paris at any time by day or by night. A group of towering rugby fans should avoid any form of trouble other than being ripped off by a taxi driver. Still avoid drinking too much, some might think you’re an easy prey. As Paris is very touristy, we also have a variety of well trained pickpockets. In the métro, watch your wallet if someone steps in the carriage with a coat folded on his arm.

Police : the French police officers very seldom speak English.
Police : their French is not that good either.
Police : the French police officers are lazy. To be more lazy than a French police officer you’d have to be a plant, although some species of bamboos grow faster than our coppers move.

banker: England has its chavs, Ireland has its scumbags, but France has no word for the kind else than “the youth from the council estates”, as some politicians still try to persuade the public that those kids are aggressive because they are socially rejected. I personnally call them “branleurs”, the French for banker, because in my banker years I kinda tried my bad boy impression on my parents. It failed. If you travel by Eurostar you might see a gang of branleurs or two near Gare du Nord, else they congregate near Les Halles shopping centre in central Paris or sometimes stroll Les Champs Elysées.

Additions from a Connaught man...

Au Metro in the XV, it's close to the the Metro 10 line and therefore within 15 minutes to the ground. I live close by so I know. It's an authetic piece of the rugby south in the heart of the city, much favoured by Stade fans and visitors alike, and home to at least three local clubs. Matchdays are fantastic here and all H Cup games are shown live on the big screens! (

Closeby is Le Cristal, the place for the younger set to go the night before and after the game. Late nights, DJs and best prices in the city. Again, a number of local sides are based here and the rugby influence is strong. (

Also in the same arondissement, closer to the Seine, is Au Dernier Metro, a very rugby-friendly Basque establishment, on Metro 6 line beside Dupleix station. More a Biarritz bar than a Stade hang-out, but a great place to eat and drink the weekend of a game. Allow fifteen to twenty minutes to get to the stadium from here. (

If you're stuck in the 11th, Rush Bar close to Clichy is worth a visit. Very sports friendly and popular with the UK/IRL ex-pat set. Great music most weeekends and most UK/IRL sport is shown live. (

Beer is reasonably priced in each of the above but Cristal is easily the best value. Bars near the stadium are poor and best avoided other than for a last minute pit-stop. Ditto Irish bars.

Our very own Windeos sez...

In case anyone is looking for cheap accomodation, while in france for the world cup me and my mates stayed in a hostel called the 3 ducks, was right beside the Eiffel Tower and in a great area. So if your looking for somewhere cheap, have a noisy there. It also had one of the cheapest bars in Paris so if anyone gets in there they are onto a winner...



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Ze Stade Fan has been a member since Sat Jul 05, 2008 12:13 am. He/She has posted a total of 1 News item(s) for a total of 45 post(s).

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