Parc Olympique Lyonnais (Stade de Lyon)

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Being a huge football fan I always look forward to the prospect of visiting different football venues, but would never have imagined that I would get the chance to go to a game on foreign soil.

Luckily though in July 2019 I would be able to do just that as the FIFA Women’s World Cup, the biggest tournament in women’s football, took place just over the channel in France.

My wife and I were able to purchase tickets for 3 matches; both in the semi finals in Lyon, and the third place play-off in Nice.

First, a bit about the venue

The Parc Olympique Lyonnais, also now as the Groupama Stadium (for sponsorhip purposes) or the Stade de Lyon (for competitions such as FIFA tournaments), is primarily a football stadium with a capacity of just over 59,000. The stadium has been the home of French club Olympique Lyonnais since it opened in January 2016.

As well as club football the Parc Olympique Lyonnais has also hosted international tournements including UEFA Men’s Euro 2016, and (what we visit for) FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019. the venue has also held non-football events including rugby union and ice hockey matches, and music concerts.

Off to the venue then

Getting to the Stade de Lyon would involve a couple of tram journeys, which would seem simple but wasn’t quite. Annoyingly on our first visit part of the first journey ended early due to roadworks, resulting in a short walk to where we would need to change for our connection to the stadium. Thankfully this only resulted in a 10-15 minute delay before arriving at Gare de Lyon-Part-Dieu Station. Then it was a case of waiting for our connecting tram to the stadium, a wait inevitably made longer by the high number of fans going to the match, England v USA there would be so many American visitors.

We’ve arrived

After a not surprisingly crammed tram journey we finally arrived at our stop. Now it was just a 10 minute walk to the stadium, followed by security checks and then to our seats, which were right near the top. My first thoughts upon arriving at our seats was “WOW – what a view!”.

Time for a match

The Parc Olympique Lyonnais would be the host venue for both semi-final matches of the Women’s World Cup, with the first match between England and USA. It was quite an occasion with so many American fans inside, outnumbering the England supporters. The match itself had everything; excitement, goals, disallowed goals, a penalty, and a sending-off.

Sadly on this occasion England came out second-best to a very strong USA side, but we gave the Americans a good game. The whole atmosphere was amazing the entire evening with plenty of friendly banter between rival fans (if only the same could happen at men’s club matches).

Back for more

The following day we would return to the stadium for the second semi-final, between Sweden and the Netherlands. This match was not as good as the England-USA match but was still a good occasion. Again we ended up chatting with USA fans at the game, only this time we were all able to relax more.

The Sweden-Netherlands game ended up going to extra time, with the Dutch scoring the only goal of the game after normal time. Due to concerns about getting back to the centre of Lyon we ended up leaving the game a couple of minutes before the end, but thankfully nothing else happened so no penalty shoot-out for us to miss.

In the end two enjoyable occasions, and my first visits to an overseas football stadium. Now I’m wanting to visit more football grounds abroad (which would happen a few days later in Nice).

Oh, and thanks to the special tram services outside the stadium we got back to the centre of Lyon safely. Just had to walk about 2 miles back to our apartment as the main trams had stopped running (well past midnight).

Special trams from the stadium, decked out in a special livery for the tournament.

Getting there

The Lyon Tramway T3 goes to near the stadium from the main railway station. The stadium itself is a 10 minute walk away from the nearest main tram stop. There is also a tram stop just outside the stadium itself where some special services run on event days.

Address – 10 Avenue Simone Veil, 69150 Décines-Charpieu, France

Useful links

Website (in French)

by Adam Thompson