Euro 2016: Republic of Ireland v France
You know when the GAA delay the Leinster Senior Football Championship semi-finals, something serious is afoot. Thanks to Robbie Brady’s 85th minute goal on Wednesday, Ireland achieved what many thought to be the impossible, and beat Italy 1-0 in their last group E match to get through to the final 16 of the Euros. This Sunday at 2pm, the whole country will come to a standstill as Ireland face tournament favourites and host nation France, in Lyon.
While Martin O’Neill has been preparing his team to face Les Bleus, huge swathes of Irish fans across the globe have been planning their route to Lyon, by any means necessary. Because win or lose, one thing is certain. This match promises to be one of those sporting events that will be talked about for years to come. So if you’re planning on swelling the ranks of the now-legendary Green Army, here’s everything you need to know to about Lyon and how to get there.
Lyon a glance
Lyon, in the centre-east of the country, is known as France’s second city and it’s easy to see why. Lyon has everything: festivals, museums, a smart revamped dockland area, not to mention plenty of fine food and wine. Formerly the ancient capital of Gaul, it hasn’t rested on its laurels and is now a fine mix of the new and the old. Must-sees include the Musée des Confluences, a jaw-dropping futuristic building of twisted steel, concrete and glass, which houses the story of mankind through a collection of two million objects, including a 1,000 year-old mummy and a piece of moon rock. And if all that football gets a bit too much, you can take refuge in the Musée des Beaux Arts, known as the mini Louvre because of its fine collection of masters, including Rubens, Rembrandt, Manet, Monet, Dégas, Cézanne, Rodin, Picasso, and Bacon.
Driving from Lille: It’s a 692km drive via the A26, which should take around six hours.
Cork to Roscoff with Brittany Ferries and then onto Lyon by car via the A71. It’s a 950km drive, which should take around eight hours and 45 minutes.
Hiring a car?
Hiring a car in Europe isn’t always straightforward. So if you’ve decided to fly to France and hire a car, here’s a useful guide with everything you need to know.
The brand new 59,186-seater Parc Olympique Lyonnais, nicknamed the Stade des Lumières, is located in Décines-Charpeiu, 10 kilometres east of the city centre. Right next to the N346 / E15 motorway, the stadium is easily reached by car. Get on the N346 from the A42 in the north or the A43 in the south and take exit 6.
If using public transport, the stadium is a 10-minute walk from station Decines Grand Large on tramline 3, which departs from Gare Part-Dieu on the eastern edge of the city centre.
Eating and drinking
Lyon is known as France’s gastronomic capital, so there are plenty of bistros, wine cellars, and traditional and contemporary restaurants to choose from. If you only eat out once, make sure it’s in one of the city’s famous ‘bouchons’. Vegetarians look away now – they serve hearty, traditional Lyonnaise dishes like sausages, duck pâté and roast pork. As well as a warm and friendly atmosphere, they are an affordable choice too.
Where to stay
Hotel Grand Est and B&B Hotel Lyon Meyzieu are decent mid-range options located right on the other side of the N346. You can find more hotels near Parc Olympique Lyonnais here. Lyon’s city centre has plenty more options in all price ranges.
Check Kuoni, the official accommodation agency for the tournament.
Fun fact to impress the lads with
Les traboules, a medieval network of covered alleyways and stairs that link courtyards and homes to the river, also served as escape routes and hiding places during the German occupation. Many are private, but some are open to the public so keep an eye out for the signs.
All Liberty Insurance motor policies give you the minimum cover you need by law to use your car in any EU country, including France, for up to 93 days. They will also extend your cover to the same level you use at home – just give them a call today on 1890 944 412.