On Saturday 12 November, Craig Staddon (Infinity Sports Travel’s COO) and I had the pleasure of going to Marseille to watch France vs South Africa at the magnificent Stade Vélodrome.
After dropping our bags at a hotel very near to Marseille airport, we jumped into a taxi and headed into the city of Marseille which took around 20 minutes. We headed for the old port of Marseille, beautifully steeped in stunning architecture, the view from the Hôtel Dieu Intercontinental towards the port and looking up to the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde was spectacular!
As you walk down the old port of Marseille, the vast array of bars, restaurants and shops is fantastic – there is a wide selection to choose from, you really are spoilt for choice. We picked an Italian, and whilst sitting eating our pasta, and drinking our beer admired the view of the old port from our table.
Kick off time was 9pm – and from about 6pm, you could really feel the atmosphere starting to build in the old port of Marseille. The French flags were waving, the crowds cheering “Allez Les Bleus” – it really was a sight to behold as we walked along the narrow and authentic streets of Marseille.
We jumped on the metro at Vieux Port, which was a simple 10 minute journey with one change to the Rond Point du Prado metro station – and from there only a 5 minute walk to the Stade Vélodrome.
Once we got into the Stade Vélodrome, around 7:30pm, the crowds were sitting in their seats already in anticipation for the big clash! When the players came out for the national anthems, there was a spectacular lighting display, and the crowd singing “La Marseillaise” was a spine-tingling experience. The game was amazing – the standard of the two teams unbelievable – I don’t think I have ever been to a stadium where I have experienced an atmosphere like that. When the French captain, and scrum half Antoine Dupont received a red card – the jeers and whistling were deafening!
The final score was 30-26 to France – what a breathtaking game, full of big hits, skill and fast-paced running rugby.
If this game was anything to go by, Rugby World Cup France 2023 will be something to behold. I for one, cannot wait to experience an atmosphere like that for the Rugby World Cup next year.