Why Lille is your stop for the best sporting events this Autumn

The seasons are beginning to change, and for sports enthusiasts, that can only mean one thing: weekends are about to get a lot more interesting. Autumn in Lille brings a varied programme of sporting events, and there’s no better time than the present to plan a visit.

You don’t need to travel halfway across the world to attend a great game. As summer draws to a close, the athletic calendar in Lille is just heating up. Whether you’re a football fanatic or a lacrosse junkie, there’s a match with your name on it in this lively French city.

Just for kicks: Ligue 1 Football

Ligue 1 is France’s answer to the Premier League, with a parallel season running from August until May. This autumn, Lille’s LOSC hosts Nantes, EA Guingamp, and Bastia – worthy challengers for a team trying to climb its way back to a UEFA Champions League spot. LOSC has won the league three times, and they’re six-time Coupe de France title-holders, so expect matches to sell out quickly as locals start sizing up this season’s fortunes. You’ll find the pitch, Stade Pierre-Mauroy, just a stone’s throw from our Park Inn by Radisson Lille Grand Stade.

Great tackle: Lille Metropole Rugby

See rugby history in the making at Stadium Lille Metropole. After six seasons of consistent improvement, this might just be Lille Metropole’s time to shine. The team currently plays in the Federale 1 league – two below France’s top tier – but their more ambitious fans have promotion to the second league in their sights. Catch home games against Limoges and Libourne in September, Tulle in October, or Bergerac in November. Like the local football heroes, Lille Metropole plays in the neighbouring town of Villeneuve d’Ascq, but there are easy bus and metro links between the stadium and city centre.

Stick to it: BOXMANIA

Since 2009, Lille has hosted one of the biggest events in the box lacrosse sporting calendar. Now in its sixth year, BOXMANIA takes place every autumn, with the 2014 tournament set to play out from November 8th/9th. Men’s and women’s indoor lacrosse teams from across Europe will face off throughout the weekend. Previous tournaments have featured rivals from the Netherlands, Belgium and France, but the defending champions are LC Pardubice from the Czech Republic. Not sure whom to support? Feel free to cheer on the local favourites, Spartiates Lille Lacrosse.

Cool running: the Lille Half Marathon

If you’re visiting Lille around 6th September, expect to run into crowds. That weekend’s Semi-Marathon de Lille Metropole is a hugely popular annual event, with an estimated 13,000 international and domestic participants expected to take part. It’s too late to sign up and get training, so instead join the locals – and supporters from around the globe – as they line the half-marathon route, enthusiastically cheering ‘allez, allez, allez’. Runners will pass by some of Lille’s architectural highlights, so pick out a scenic spot near the city hall