Euro 2016: Inside the Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Lille

The 50,000-capacity home of Lille OSC will host four group games and a quarter-final during Euro 2016. As France’s stadiums gear up to steal the limelight from Brazil, it seems only fitting to take a closer look at the €30 million Stade Pierre-Mauroy.

Since its Grand Opening in August 2012, Stade Pierre-Mauroy has established itself as one of France’s premier sporting venues, hosting regular Ligue 1 matches and occasional rugby union internationals. Flawlessly designed with an unbeatable match-day atmosphere, this is a stadium worth getting excited about – and with Park Inn by Radisson Lille Grand Stade located a stone’s throw from the arena, you can make sure you never miss a moment.

Ultra-modern design

Constructed by Eiffage, the company behind the iconic Millau Viaduct, Stade Pierre-Mauroy was built with Euro 2016 in mind. With planning permission granted in early 2009, the still-only-theoretical stadium became a symbol of France’s upcoming bid for the tournament, which (spoiler alert) it subsequently won. The decision was announced in February 2010, and the arena’s first brick was laid just six months later.
Unsurprisingly, the stadium is nothing short of spectacular. Given that Lille is in northern France and therefore enjoys the same charmingly temperamental weather as most of Britain, the sleek retractable roof that serves to protect spectators if/when the heavens open is definitely a valuable addition. This one’s different from most, though: powered by two windmills and solar panels, it’s a clear symbol of the stadium’s commitment to sustainable energy.
Another (slightly smaller) feature set to go down well is the arena’s card cash system. Designed to speed up queues at the 40 refreshment outlets, fans can choose either a pre-paid or rechargeable card to buy their half-time steak baguette, doing away with the need to fumble around for loose change – and the crushing disappointment that comes when you realise you’re just short of the cash you need.
With such clear attention to detail, it’s no surprise that the stadium itself feels supremely modern. Concourses are wide and spacious, the 50,186 seats are comfy and have ample legroom, and the views from just about every corner of the ground are fantastic.

Transformer field

It’s arguably Stade Pierre-Mauroy’s quirkiest feature: a pitch that divides into two before one half rises and slides over the top of the other. Sadly, this isn’t a hi-tech tactic designed to throw France’s opponents off-course, but a rock concert practicality – one that’s already been used by Rihanna and Depeche Mode.

Vital statistics

Standing 31 metres tall, the stadium boasts 4,965 business seats, 1,842 seats in hospitality boxes, 448 protocol seats and 326 seats for journalists. Having received its five-star UEFA ranking, Stade Pierre-Mauroy will host five matches during Euro 2016 including at least one France match in the group stage, a round of 16 game and a quarter-final clash.

A history of sport

Stade Pierre-Mauroy hosted its first game on 17th August 2012: a 1-1 draw between Lille OSC and AS Nancy. Fortunately, just a few months later the French rugby union team shrugged off the pressure to defeat Argentina 39-22 in their debut appearance, giving the fans in the stadium a chance to really test the venue’s acoustics with a few hours of top-volume cheering.