Football Travel: Olympique Lyonnais

France’s second city can boast a truly world class stadium. Here’s how you can plan your trip to Lyon to see “OL”.

 

Understated Lyon is not often the first place people may think of for a weekend break, but this elegant city on the banks of the Rhône claims to be the gastronomic centre of France. The food itself would be reason enough to come here but there’s also Olympique Lyonnais and its impressive new 59,000-capacity Parc Olympique Lyonnais home.

 

 

“OL” was France’s team of the noughties, mopping up all of its seven Ligue 1 titles in one row between 2002-2008. Back then the club was based in the tight 42,000 Stade de Gerland, but Euro 2016 led to the construction of the space age Stade de Lyon on the city’s northeastern fringes and it’s a cracking ground.

 

I went for the brilliant 3-3 draw between Portugal and Hungary, and the noise was electric. I would definitely go back for an OL match just to contrast the experience. There’s a great view from all angles and wonderful acoustics. [Continues…]

Hungary v Portugal in Lyon, Euro 2016

Hungary v Portugal in Lyon, Euro 2016

The history of Olympique Lyonnais

 

The sports club Lyon Olympique Universitaire (LOU) was formed in 1896 through a merger of Racing Club de Vaise and the Lyon Rugby Club, and joined the French league in 1910. In 1950, disagreements led to a parting of ways, and the football club rebranded as Olympique Lyonnais. [Continues…]

 

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OL did not win much at all during the twentieth century, just three of its five French Cups, but it rarely challenged for the title until a change of ownership and an ambitious plan reaped rewards.

 

Lyon’s biggest rival is nearby AS Saint-Etienne, but also challenges for honours with Paris Saint-Germain and Olympique de Marseille.

 

Things to do and see in Lyon

 

Lyon is huge. While it may not have the knockout, world-famous sights of Paris, or the seaside attractions of Nice, it is a very pleasant city on the eye. Its aspect reminds me a lot of Budapest, where an ancient citadel overlooks an elegant city of bridges and boulevards.

 

Wander around the Old Town (Vieux Lyon) and definitely get the tram (or walk) to the hilltop basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière for outstanding views across the city and – on a clear day – all the way to the French Alps. [Continues…]

Lyon skyline

The Lyon skyline from the Notre-Dame de Fourvière

How to get to Olympique Lyonnais

 

Parc Olympique Lyonnais is in the suburb of Décines and has its own tram stop on the T3 line, which is open on event days only.

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