As my seven-12 months-old daughter, Ella jumped up and down together with 26,000 Lyon enthusiasts, I couldn’t assist grinning. Back within the UK, girls domestic league games hardly ever take place in huge stadiums. Big suits – along with remaining weekend’s FA Cup Final – attract big crowds, however, the playground taunt “football isn’t for women” is difficult to argue with when it’s uncommon to discover a ladies’ sport proven to stay on terrestrial TV or a healthy at a Premier League floor.
But at Lyon’s 60,000-seater Groupama stadium – with the intention to host both semi-finals and the very last of next month’s Women’s World Cup (7 June-7-July) – and in which Lyon play their huge video games, girls’ soccer is on another degree. We watched the nice women’s club team within the world bang in 5 goals against rivals Paris Saint-Germain to win the title decider, earlier than captain Wendie Renard leaped over the obstacles, grabbed the microphone and serenaded the fans. We stood on our seats and cheered our hearts out, making a song, “Quine saute pas, n’est pas Lyonnais…” (Whoever isn’t leaping, isn’t from Lyon). Drums banged, flags waved and faces had been streaked in pink, white and blue, the club colorations. We had simplest been in the town 24 hours, but already we’d fallen head over heels for the location.
Football-mad Lyon is a natural choice for the finale of what’s anticipated to be the maximum excessive-profile tournament inside the records of the girls’ sport. More than 750 million humans watched the 2015 World Cup in Canada, in which England’s Lionesses received a historical bronze medal; even greater interest is expected this 12 months.
In France extra than five million watched the statement of the French squad stay on TV closing week, the news made the front page of sports daily L’Equipe, and the whole tournament can be broadcast on Canal+. A whopping one hundred eighty,000 fans with tickets will descend on Lyon next month. Many more may also come for the environment, the Fifa fan region (Place Bellecour 26 June–7 July), and two exhibitions celebrating the girls’ sport (rue Bouchut, and Lyon’s Hôtel de Ville).
After visiting with the aid of teaching from London, we took a tram from Lyon’s Gare Part-Dieu to our resort in La Confluence, a newly regenerated vicinity where the Saône and Rhône rivers meet. We cherished Mob Hotel (doubles from €sixty eight room-simplest), a stone’s throw from the space-age Musée des Confluences, with a balcony overlooking the Saône. Although aimed toward a hipster crowd (beard oil and organic crisps on sale in the lobby), Mob became complete of sports for youngsters, which include table soccer inside the restaurant, shadow puppets, and iPads, with Netflix free of charge.
The casual feel of the inn matched the city. Nearby changed into the Orange Cube, a cultural center likened to Swiss cheese, and on almost every street nook stood rental Vélo’v motorcycles and motorized scooters. Parc de Los Angeles Tête d’Or, within the north of the city, is France’s largest city park – with a lake for pedalos, zoo, botanical gardens and, to Ella’s delight, lots of candyflosses. From the park, it’s far viable to walk or scoot, along the Rhône again to the center of Lyon.
France Avenue journey: Lyon to Nice
Keen to keep the wearing theme, we braved the spring temperatures with a dip in Lyon’s famous riverside out of doors pool, Centre Nautique Tony Bertrand (8 Quai Claude Bernard, €three.40, underneath-6s loose). A 2nd pool opens in June every 12 months, offering water slides and whirlpools. Both are open every day at some point in the summertime. Afterward, we warmed up with large bowls of noodles and gyoza dumplings at Kuro Goma (15 rue de Bonald).