World Cup warm-up: a family town damage in football-mad Lyon


As my seven-yr-antique daughter, Ella, jumped up and down together with 26,000 Lyon fanatics, I couldn’t help grinning. Back inside the UK, ladies’s home league video games not often take location in large stadiums. Big fits – inclusive of remaining weekend’s FA Cup Final – appeal to huge crowds, but the playground taunt “soccer isn’t for ladies” is tough to argue with when it’s rare to discover a women’s recreation proven stay on terrestrial TV, or a suit at a Premier League ground.

But at Lyon’s 60,000-seater Groupama stadium – which will host both semi-finals and the final of next month’s Women’s World Cup (7 June-7-July) – and where Lyon play their large games, ladies’s football is on every other stage. We watched the satisfactory women’s membership crew within the world bang in five dreams against rivals Paris Saint-Germain to win the name decider, before captain Wendie Renard leapt over the limitations, grabbed the microphone and serenaded the enthusiasts. We stood on our seats and cheered our hearts out, making a song, “Qui ne saute pas, n’est pas Lyonnais…” (Whoever isn’t jumping, isn’t from Lyon). Drums banged, flags waved and faces were streaked in purple, white and blue, the club colors. We had best been inside the city 24 hours, but already we’d fallen head over heels for the place.

Football-mad Lyon is a herbal desire for the finale of what’s predicted to be the maximum high-profile event in the records of the women’s sport. More than 750 million human beings watched the 2015 World Cup in Canada, where England’s Lionesses gained a ancient bronze medal; even more hobby is predicted this 12 months.


In France greater than five million watched the declaration of the French squad live on TV ultimate week, the information made the the front page of sports day by day L’Equipe, and the entire event can be broadcast on Canal+. A whopping a hundred and eighty,000 enthusiasts with tickets will descend on Lyon next month. Many extra can also come for the surroundings, the Fifa fan area (Place Bellecour 26 June–7 July), and exhibitions celebrating the girls’s game (rue Bouchut, and Lyon’s Hôtel de Ville).

After travelling via educate from London, we took a tram from Lyon’s Gare Part-Dieu to our inn in La Confluence, a newly regenerated area wherein the Saône and Rhône rivers meet. We loved Mob Hotel (doubles from €sixty eight room-best), a stone’s throw from the gap-age Musée des Confluences, with a balcony overlooking the Saône. Although geared toward a hipster crowd (beard oil and natural crisps on sale in the lobby), Mob changed into full of activities for youngsters, such as table soccer inside the eating place, shadow puppets and iPads, with Netflix free of rate.

The casual sense of the resort matched the town. Nearby become the Orange Cube, a cultural centre likened to Swiss cheese, and on almost every avenue nook stood rental Vélo’v bikes and motorised scooters. Parc de la Tête d’Or, within the north of the city, is France’s biggest urban park – with a lake for pedalos, zoo, botanical gardens and, to Ella’s satisfaction, masses of candyfloss. From the park it’s miles feasible to walk, or scoot, alongside the Rhône again to the centre of Lyon.

Keen to keep the wearing theme, we braved the spring temperatures with a dip in Lyon’s famous riverside outdoor pool, Centre Nautique Tony Bertrand (eight Quai Claude Bernard, €3.Forty, beneath-6s free). A second pool opens in June each year, supplying water slides and whirlpools. Both are open every day at some point of the summer season. Afterwards we warmed up with large bowls of noodles and gyoza dumplings at Kuro Goma (15 rue de Bonald).

Lyon is known for its food, so on our first evening we sampled conventional cuisine at a Les Lyonnais bouchon (19 rue de los angeles Bombarde). The surroundings turned into terrific – darkish wood chairs, shared tables, a lady casually feeding her poodle beef scratchings from the table. But it changed into quite heavy fare: gratin dauphinois and meaty plates, or even the frisée salad got here with lardons bigger than my finger. We waddled off to the large healthy that night time.

We desired the meals on the Sunday morning marketplace on Quai Saint-Antoine, in which the smell of chicken roasting, sparkling bread, cheese and patisserie filled the air. A basket of local strawberries were so aromatic you can taste them even before they have been for your mouth. From there, we took a ship back down river to discover the Musée des Confluences – an architectural spectacle in the vein of Bilbao’s Guggenheim. Arranged thematically, its well-knownshows answer a chain of questions – Who are we? How did we get here? – in an revolutionary manner. Many items are on display with out a case so youngsters can touch something from dinosaur skeletons to bits of meteor and moon rock.

On the train domestic Ella cradled her participant cards from the Lyon team: Ballon D’Or winner Ada Hegerberg, England Lioness Lucy Bronze, and host nation favourites Eugénie Le Sommer and Amandine Henry.

England and Scotland on the World Cup

The two home nations will play every different in Nice on nine June – for the primary time in any soccer World Cup tournament. England’s different organization degree fits are against Argentina in Le Havre (14 June) and Japan in Nice (19 June); Scotland play Japan in Rennes (14 June) and Argentina in Paris (19 June).

• The trip changed into provided by Lyon visitor board. Train travel supplied by means of Loco2, which has one-way tickets London-Lyon (4 hours and 40 mins) from £48.50. Prices are higher in the World Cup however more Eurostar price tag are launched from 14-23 May, with fares to some French cities, consisting of Lyon, from £29 one-way

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