SPECTACULAR FRENCH STADIUMS FOR EURO 2016

Heading to France for the month-long football fest – the Euro 2016? Then read all about
the 10 stadiums that will be hosting these matches

By Anmol Sharma

It is holiday season and all football fanatics are waiting for the Euro 2016 to start. The premiere European football tournament will be taking place in France this time and 10 stadiums are ready to give spectators a treat which they will cherish for their lifetime. A total of 51 matches will be played across the 10 venues during the tournament from June 10 to July 10. Here’s an overview of the stadiums:

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STADE DE FRANCE: France’s national stadium, it has a seating capacity of 80,000. It is located in Saint-Denis, a commune north of Paris. In terms of seating capacity, it is the largest in France and the fifth-largest in Europe.
Built for the 1998 FIFA World Cup, it has hosted not just football matches but also rugby, athletic meets and numerous concerts including those of Eminem, U2, Rihanna and Coldplay.
In this edition of Euro championship, this giant stadium will be hosting seven matches, which include four group matches, one ‘round of 16 match,’ a quarter final and the most important final, which will take place on July 10.
Stade de France has been designed by famous architects Michel Macary, Aymeric Zublena, Claude Costantini and Michel Regembal. It was in 2002 when this stadium was honoured with the Outstanding Structure Award by IABSE (International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering). The most appealing feature of this stadium is its roof which is supported by merely 46 slim columns. The roof weighs over 13,000 tons and appears like a flying saucer.

STADE VELODROME: Located in Marseille, Stade Velodrome is one of the oldest stadiums of France. It was initially built for the 1938 FIFA World Cup and had a seating capacity of 30,000. It was designed by architect Henri Ploquin. The stadium now acts as the home for the Olympique de Marseille Football Club.
After the 1998 World Cup, many additional renovations took place and the stadium became a marvel of modern architecture in 2014. The renovations were done by a firm called SCAU Architects.
The stadium’s seating capacity now is 67,000. Stade Velodrome will grace six Euro 2016 matches with four group matches and a quarter final and a semi-final.

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STADE DE LYON: Home to one of the best Ligue 1 teams, Olympique Lyonnais, Stade de Lyon will be hosting six matches in this year’s Euro 2016. Of these, four are group and the other two ‘round of 16,’ and a semi-final.
The stadium is the newest of all where Euro 2016 matches will be taking place. The umbrella roof that overhangs the outside of the stadium enhances the charm. It can seat around 59,000 spectators. The first ever match that took place in this stadium was in January.

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STADE PIERRE MAUROY: It is located in Lille in northern France. Opened in 2012. it is the first in France to have a retractable roof. This 50,000 seating capacity stadium is home turf to Lille OSC FC. It will be hosting six matches including four group matches, a ‘round of 16,’ and a quarter-final.

PARC DES PRINCES: Located in Paris, this is the oldest stadium in the 2016 edition of European Championship. This legendary stadium was originally built in 1897. It is home to one of the most popular Ligue 1 team, Paris Saint-Germain.
PSG has won the Ligue 1 (France’s top tier football league) for four consecutive years now and is one of the richest football clubs. The stadium has a seating capacity of around 48,000.
Paris is known for many great buildings and structures and Parc des Princes is definitely one of them. It was designed by French architects Roger Taillibert and Siavash Teimouri. Taillibert is also renowned for designing the Olympic Stadium in Montreal, Canada. Parc des Princes will host a total of five matches that include four group matches and a ‘round of 16.’

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STADE DE BORDEAUX: A brand new stadium, it was designed by famous Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron, known for exemplary works such as the Allianz Arena (Munich, Germany) and Beijing National Stadium. The Pritzker award-winning firm is also working on the design of Kolkata Museum of Modern Art which will be built on 10 acres of land.
This stadium will be hosting five matches that include four group matches and a quarter final. The stadium boasts of a seating capacity of 42,000. This graceful structure is enhanced by the 900 slim white columns at the exterior that hold the rectangular roof. Design of the stadium was inspired by the lean pine trees of the Landes forest which is situated in the south of the city of Bordeaux.

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STADE GEOFFROY-GUICHARD: Located in Saint-Etienne, it resembles many English stadiums because of the four steep stands which are close to the ground. The stadium has a seating capacity of 42,000 and will be hosting four matches – three group matches and a ‘round of 16.’
The stadium was designed by architects Mayer and Saidoun and was originally built way back in 1930. It has been fully revamped for the Euro Championship. The project was led by an architectural firm called Chaix & Morel and Associates.
A new roof has been installed to make the stadium look modern. The roof has a lot of other environmental advantages as well as it contains around 2,600 m2 of solar panels; the roof is also capable of recycling rainwater for irrigation purposes. The stadium also has a football museum, the first of its kind in France.

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ALLIANZ RIVIERA: Fairly new, it is one of the best looking stadiums. It is located in Nice and has a seating capacity of 36,000. Four Euro 2016 matches will take place in this stadium, including three group matches and a ‘round of 16.
The stadium, designed by French architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte’s firm Wilmotte & Associates, was inaugurated in 2013. Lightness and transparency were the themes behind the design of the stadium.
The distinction between inside and outside has been blurred by the translucent skin, made using Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE), a transparent membrane, which also makes the stadium glow at night. This cauldron-shaped stadium is eco-friendly as well. The roof of the stadium collects rainwater which then helps in irrigation. The ventilation stacks help a lot in natural ventilation in the interior spaces.

STADE BOLLAERT-DELELIS: Located in Lens (home to RC Lens football club), this stadium comes with a lot of history. It was built by unemployed miners during the Great Depression in 1933. The stadium has a seating capacity of 38,000 and will be hosting four matches – three group matches and a ‘round of 16.’ The latest design renovations have been done by Atelier Ferret Architectures.

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STADIUM DE TOULOUSE: Apparently the smallest ground out of the 10, it is built on the island of Ramier at the centre of Toulouse. The stadium, built in 1937, recently underwent a three-year renovation, which was spearheaded by architects Cardete & Huet and Atelier Ferret.
The stands were modified to provide comfort to spectators and the turf was replaced. This stadium hosted the king of pop Michael Jackson in 1992 during his Dangerous World Tour. The stadium will be hosting four matches, which includes three group matches and a ‘round of 16.’
Anmol is a creative writer and sports enthusiast. He can be reached at anmol@urbanvaastu.com