Uefa capacity: 42,000
Stade Geoffroy-Guichard is named after the founder of the Casino retail group – one of the largest retailers in the world who you may never have heard of. Holding 42,000 for the Euro 2016 tournament, the ground has an English feel to it with four distinct stands and steep rake.
Opened in 1931, the ground was originally multi-purpose with a grand stand and running track. Luckily, the running track was removed in the 1950s. Due to its formidable atmosphere, Stade Geoffroy-Guichard became known as the “Cauldron” and the “Green Hell” in the late-60s and early-70s when AS Saint-Étienne won four league titles, and the Coupe de France four times. The pre-tournament work to Stade Geoffroy-Guichard gave it a much needed facelift – with many of the old-fashioned supports (restricting views) removed and the corners filled in.
If you’re up for it, Stade Geoffroy-Guichard is about a 30-minute walk, being 2km from the city centre. If not, then you can get the Tram north from the town centre to G. Guichard and walk east along Rue Claude Odde – this will probably take you 10 minutes. It can also be reached by the number 9 bus from the city centre.
Each host city has committed to providing a Fan Zone where supporters are able to gather and watch the matches on big screens, for free. The size and scope of these vary from city to city, however, and while they will all be equipped with fast food stalls and information from tournament sponsors, five-a-side pitches and the usual facilities, don’t assume that what applied in one city will apply in the next.
Some are open only for matches that are played in the host city itself, others for their own matches plus those of the French national team, while others will show every game.