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A Guide to the Rugby World Cup 2023 Host Cities and Their Attractions

If you are planning to visit France for the Rugby World Cup 2023, you might be wondering what else you can do besides watching the matches. Well, you are in luck because France is a country full of culture, history, nature and gastronomy that will delight any traveler. In this blog post, I will give you some suggestions on must see places in each of the nine host cities and stadiums of RWC 2023. 

There are nine host stadiums across 10 cities in France that will host the matches. They are:

Stade de France in Saint-Denis (Paris)

Saint-Denis is a suburb of Paris, located in the north of the capital. It is home to the Stade de France, the largest stadium in France with a capacity of 80,000 spectators. The Stade de France was built for the 1998 FIFA World Cup and has since hosted many major events, such as the UEFA Euro 2016, the 2007 Rugby World Cup final and several concerts by famous artists. You can take a behind-the-scenes tour of the stadium and learn about its history and architecture.

But Saint-Denis is not only about sports. It is also a city with a rich cultural and historical heritage. One of the must see places in Saint-Denis is the Basilica Cathedral of Saint-Denis, the first masterpiece of Gothic art and architecture. The basilica is also the burial place of France’s royalty, such as the Capetian dynasty, Louis XIV, Marie Antoinette and Napoleon III. You can admire the impressive tombs and sculptures inside the church and visit the crypt where the remains of more than 70 kings and queens are kept.

Another attraction in Saint-Denis is the Marché Saint-Denis, one of the largest and most diverse markets in France. You can find everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to clothes and accessories, as well as exotic products from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. The market is a great place to experience the multicultural atmosphere of Saint-Denis and taste some delicious street food.

If you are looking for some green space and relaxation, you can head to the Parc de la Légion d’Honneur, a beautiful park that surrounds the Maison d’Éducation de la Légion d’Honneur, a prestigious boarding school for girls. The park offers a nice view of the basilica and has a pond, a fountain and several statues. You can also visit the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire de Saint-Denis, a museum that displays artworks and artifacts related to the history of Saint-Denis and its region.

Saint-Denis is a city that combines tradition and modernity, sport and culture, diversity and unity. It is a perfect destination for rugby fans who want to discover more about France and its people.

Stade Pierre Mauroy in Lille

The next city on our list is Lille, where the Stade Pierre Mauroy will host five pool matches, including France vs England and Scotland vs Japan. Lille is a vibrant and dynamic city in the north of France, near the border with Belgium. It has a rich cultural and architectural heritage, influenced by both French and Flemish traditions.

One of the must see places in Lille is the Vieux-Lille, the old town district that dates back to the Middle Ages. Here you can admire the colorful facades of the houses, the elegant squares and monuments, and the charming shops and cafes. Don’t miss the Grand Place, the main square of Lille, where you can see the impressive Vieille Bourse, a former stock exchange building that now hosts a book market and a chess club.

Another attraction in Lille is the Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille, one of the oldest and largest art museums in France. It has a remarkable collection of paintings, sculptures, drawings and ceramics from various periods and styles, such as Rembrandt, Rubens, Monet, Rodin and Picasso. You can also enjoy temporary exhibitions and cultural events at the museum.

If you are looking for some nature and relaxation in Lille, you can head to the Parc de la Citadelle, a 60-hectare island surrounded by the Deûle canal. It is the largest green space in the city and has many attractions, such as the Lille Citadel, a 17th-century fortress built by Vauban; the Vauban Garden, a botanical garden with rare plants; the Lille Zoo, home to more than 100 animal species; and the Citi-Parc, a small amusement park for children.

Lille is a city that combines history and modernity, culture and fun, French and Flemish influences. It is a perfect destination for rugby fans who want to discover more about France and its neighbors.

OL Stadium in Lyon

The third city on our list is Lyon, where the OL Stadium will host four pool matches, including New Zealand vs France and Australia vs Wales. Lyon is the third largest city in France and a major cultural and economic center. It is also known as the gastronomic capital of France, with a long tradition of cuisine and many famous chefs.

One of the must see places in Lyon is the Vieux Lyon, the old town district that dates back to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. It is one of the largest preserved historical areas in Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here you can explore the narrow streets, the hidden courtyards and the traboules, which are secret passages that connect different buildings. You can also visit the St. Jean Cathedral, a Gothic masterpiece with a stunning astronomical clock.

Another attraction in Lyon is the Fourvière Hill, which offers a panoramic view of the city and its surroundings. On top of the hill, you can see the Fourvière Basilica, a 19th-century church that dominates the skyline with its white marble facade and four towers. The basilica is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and has a richly decorated interior with mosaics, stained glass and sculptures. You can also visit the Roman remains at Fourvière, which include an amphitheater and a theater that still host concerts and shows.

If you are looking for some nature and relaxation in Lyon, you can head to the Parc de la Tête d’Or, one of the largest urban parks in France. It has a lake, a zoo, a botanical garden, a rose garden and many trails for walking, cycling and jogging. You can also enjoy some cultural activities at the park, such as visiting the Museum of Contemporary Art or watching a puppet show at the Guignol Theater.

Lyon is a city that combines history and modernity, culture and nature, tradition and innovation. It is a perfect destination for rugby fans who want to discover more about France and its gastronomy.

The fourth city on our list is Marseille, where the Stade de Marseille will host four pool matches, including South Africa vs Scotland and Ireland vs Japan. Marseille is the second largest city in France and the oldest city in the country. It is a Mediterranean city with a diverse and multicultural population, a rich maritime history and a vibrant artistic and cultural scene.

One of the must see places in Marseille is the Vieux Port, or Old Port, the heart and soul of the city. It is a lively and picturesque harbor where you can see fishing boats, yachts, ferries and cruise ships. You can also stroll along the quays, visit the fish market, enjoy a drink or a meal at one of the many cafes and restaurants, or take a boat trip to the nearby islands.

Another attraction in Marseille is the Notre-Dame de la Garde Basilica, a 19th-century church that stands on a hill overlooking the city and the sea. It is one of the most iconic symbols of Marseille and a popular pilgrimage site. The basilica has a Roman-Byzantine style with colorful mosaics, marble statues and gold domes. On top of the bell tower, there is a huge statue of the Virgin Mary holding a baby Jesus. The basilica offers a stunning view of Marseille and its surroundings.

If you are looking for some culture and history in Marseille, you can head to the MuCEM, or Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations. It is a modern and innovative museum that explores the diversity and complexity of the Mediterranean cultures through exhibitions, collections, events and workshops. The museum is housed in two buildings: one is a former fort that dates back to the 17th century, and the other is a contemporary structure made of glass and metal. The museum is connected by a footbridge to the Fort Saint-Jean, another historical site that you can visit.

Marseille is a city that combines tradition and modernity, sea and land, diversity and unity. It is a perfect destination for rugby fans who want to discover more about France and its Mediterranean identity.

The fifth city on our list is Nantes, where the Stade de la Beaujoire will host three pool matches, including France vs Italy and Argentina vs England. Nantes is a dynamic and creative city in the west of France, near the Atlantic coast. It is the former capital of Brittany and has a strong cultural and historical identity.

One of the must see places in Nantes is the Château des Ducs de Bretagne, a 15th-century castle that was the residence of the Dukes of Brittany and later became a royal fortress. You can visit the castle and its different rooms, such as the Grand Logis, the Golden Crown Room and the Courtroom. You can also see the Nantes History Museum, which displays more than 1,000 objects and documents related to the city’s past and present.

Another attraction in Nantes is the Jardin des Plantes, one of the largest and most beautiful botanical gardens in France. It has more than 10,000 plant species, some of which are rare and exotic. You can admire the colorful flower beds, the majestic trees, the greenhouses and the ponds. You can also see some whimsical sculptures by Claude Ponti, a famous children’s book author and illustrator.

If you are looking for some culture and art in Nantes, you can head to the Passage Pommeraye, a 19th-century shopping arcade that is considered one of the most elegant in Europe. It has three levels of shops and cafes, connected by staircases and decorated with statues, mosaics and ironwork. You can also visit the Musée d’Arts de Nantes, one of the oldest art museums in France. It has a collection of paintings, sculptures and drawings from various periods and styles, such as Delacroix, Monet, Picasso and Kandinsky.

Nantes is a city that combines history and innovation, nature and culture, tradition and creativity. It is a perfect destination for rugby fans who want to discover more about France and its Breton heritage.

Stade de Nice in Nice

The sixth city on our list is Nice, where the Stade de Nice will host four pool matches, including France vs New Zealand and Ireland vs South Africa. Nice is the fifth largest city in France and the capital of the French Riviera. It is a sunny and glamorous city with a stunning coastline, a charming old town and a vibrant cultural and artistic scene.

One of the must see places in Nice is the Promenade des Anglais, a 7-kilometer-long boulevard that runs along the Mediterranean Sea. It is one of the most iconic sights of Nice and a popular spot for walking, cycling, skating or relaxing on one of the blue chairs. You can also admire the elegant hotels and villas that line the promenade, such as the Hotel Negresco, the Palais de la Méditerranée and the Villa Masséna.

Another attraction in Nice is the Vieux Nice, or Old Town, a colorful and lively district that dates back to the Middle Ages. Here you can explore the narrow streets and alleys, filled with shops, cafes, restaurants and bars. You can also visit some of the historical and cultural landmarks of Nice, such as the Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate, the Musee des Beaux-Arts and the Castle Hill.

If you are looking for some culture and art in Nice, you can head to one of the many museums and galleries that showcase the city’s artistic heritage. You can see some of the works of Henri Matisse at the Musée Matisse, some of the works of Marc Chagall at the Musée National Marc Chagall, some of the works of modern and contemporary artists at the Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain, or some of the works of local artists at the Musée Masséna.

Nice is a city that combines beauty and elegance, sea and mountains, history and creativity. It is a perfect destination for rugby fans who want to discover more about France and its Riviera flair.

The seventh city on our list is Saint-Etienne, where the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard will host four pool matches, including France vs Argentina and England vs Japan. Saint-Etienne is a city in the central-eastern part of France, near the Massif Central mountain range. It is a former industrial and mining city that has reinvented itself as a center of design, culture and innovation.

One of the must see places in Saint-Etienne is the Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, one of the largest museums of modern and contemporary art in France. It has a collection of more than 19,000 works by artists such as Picasso, Matisse, Warhol, Kandinsky and Klein. You can also see temporary exhibitions and events at the museum.

Another attraction in Saint-Etienne is the Musée de la Mine, a museum that showcases the history and heritage of the mining industry in Saint-Etienne and its region. You can visit the former coal mine site and see the machinery, equipment and tools used by the miners. You can also learn about the social and economic aspects of mining and its impact on the environment.

If you are looking for some architecture and design in Saint-Etienne, you can head to Firminy, a nearby town that has several buildings designed by Le Corbusier, one of the most influential architects of the 20th century. You can see the Maison de la Culture, a cultural center with a theater and an exhibition hall; the Unité d’Habitation, a residential complex with 414 apartments; the Stade Firminy-Vert, a stadium with an elliptical shape; and the Eglise Saint-Pierre, a church with a conical roof.

Saint-Etienne is a city that combines history and innovation, culture and nature, industry and design. It is a perfect destination for rugby fans who want to discover more about France and its creative spirit.

Stadium de Toulouse in Toulouse

The eighth city on our list is Toulouse, where the Stadium de Toulouse will host four pool matches, including France vs Tonga and Wales vs Fiji. Toulouse is the fourth largest city in France and the capital of the Occitanie region. It is a lively and cosmopolitan city with a rich cultural and historical heritage, as well as a strong reputation for science and technology.

One of the must see places in Toulouse is the Place du Capitole, the main square of the city and the location of the impressive Capitole building, which houses the city hall and the Théâtre du Capitole. The square is surrounded by elegant buildings and cafes, and often hosts markets, concerts and festivals. You can also admire the 19th-century fountain in the center of the square, which depicts the four seasons.

Another attraction in Toulouse is the Basilique Saint-Sernin, a UNESCO-listed Romanesque church that dates back to the 11th century. It is one of the largest churches of its kind in Europe and a major stop on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. You can visit the church and its crypt, where you can see many relics of saints, including those of Saint Saturnin, the first bishop of Toulouse.

If you are looking for some culture and art in Toulouse, you can head to one of the many museums and galleries that showcase the city’s artistic heritage. You can see some of the works of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec at the Musée des Augustins, some of the works of Georges Braque at the Fondation Bemberg, some of the works of contemporary artists at Les Abattoirs, or some of the works of local artists at Le Château d’Eau.

Toulouse is a city that combines beauty and elegance, history and innovation, culture and science. It is a perfect destination for rugby fans who want to discover more about France and its Occitanie identity.

The ninth and final city on our list is Bordeaux, where the Stade de Bordeaux will host four pool matches, including France vs USA and Wales vs Australia. Bordeaux is the sixth largest city in France and the capital of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. It is a renowned wine-producing city with a long and illustrious history, a UNESCO-listed old town and a vibrant cultural and gastronomic scene.

One of the must see places in Bordeaux is the Place de la Bourse, a stunning square that epitomizes the elegance and harmony of 18th-century architecture. The square was designed by Jacques Gabriel, Louis XV’s favorite architect, and features 12 Corinthian columns and statues of the nine muses and three goddesses. The square faces the Garonne River and is reflected by the Miroir d’Eau, a large water mirror that creates a mesmerizing effect.

Another attraction in Bordeaux is the La Cité du Vin, a modern and innovative cultural center that celebrates all aspects of wine. The center has a distinctive curved shape that evokes a wine decanter or a swirl of wine in a glass. Inside, you can explore interactive exhibits, multimedia displays, workshops and events that cover the history, geography, culture and diversity of wine. You can also enjoy panoramic views of Bordeaux from the Belvedere and taste wines from around the world.

If you are looking for some culture and art in Bordeaux, you can head to one of the many museums and galleries that showcase the city’s artistic heritage. You can see some of the works of French painters at the Musée des Beaux-Arts, some of the works of Spanish painters at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs et du Design, some of the works of contemporary artists at the CAPC Musée d’Art Contemporain, or some of the works of local artists at the Musée du Vin et du Négoce.

Bordeaux is a city that combines beauty and sophistication, history and innovation, culture and gastronomy. It is a perfect destination for rugby fans who want to discover more about France and its wine-making tradition.

As you can see, France has a lot to offer to rugby fans who want to make the most of their trip to the Rugby World Cup 2023. From the majestic monuments and museums of Paris to the sunny beaches and vineyards of the French Riviera, from the medieval castles and churches of the Loire Valley to the futuristic space center and Airbus factory of Toulouse, there is something for everyone in this diverse and beautiful country. Whether you are cheering for your favorite team or just enjoying the atmosphere and the spectacle, you will find plenty of reasons to fall in love with France and its culture. So don’t hesitate and book your tickets now for the Rugby World Cup 2023 in France. You won’t regret it!