Seven arrested in Lille as thousands break curfew to celebrate football win

Seven people were arrested as thousands of fans gathered despite a coronavirus curfew to celebrate Lille's Ligue 1 title, the prefecture of the Nord region said on Monday.

Seven arrested in Lille as thousands break curfew to celebrate football win

The fans gathered in the northern French city after Lille won at Angers to clinch the title in their last game of the season on Sunday night.

“The police had to make seven arrests, including one for ‘attempted homicide against the police using a vehicle’,” the prefecture said.

Three people were arrested for throwing projectiles, two for burning rubbish bins and one for possession of fireworks, it added.

Twenty people were treated by emergency services, including three who needed to be taken to hospital, the statement said.

The police had set up a roadblock to control entry to the Grand-Place, the historic centre of the city, but supporters gathered anyway and were allowed to make their way into the square through side streets.

They waved flags and scarves in their team’s colours, in a red halo of smoke, to the sound of exploding firecrackers while singing “We are the
champions” and “Freed from desire” and dancing.

The mood was generally festive and good-natured atmosphere. On Saturday, the regional prefect Michel Lalande had called on the people of Lille to “enjoy this moment of sport in complete safety, in a health context that is improving but remains fragile”.

He asked “everyone to continue to respect all the health measures in force and not to set off fireworks on the public highway”.

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What Liverpool fans coming to Paris for the Champions League final need to know

Paris will stage the final of the Uefa Champions League on Saturday May 28th. For any fans coming to the city there are a few things you should know.

What Liverpool fans coming to Paris for the Champions League final need to know

Where is the Stade de France?

The Stade de France is in the northern Paris suburbs, just a few Metro or train stops from the northern edge of Paris. Strictly speaking and as the locals in Saint-Denis will tell you, the national stadium is not actually not located in Paris.

It’s in the town of Saint-Denis, that forms part of the petite couronne – the ring of inner suburbs that surround the French capital.

Anyone arriving into Paris down the A1 motorway or indeed by Eurostar or the RER B rail connection from the airport will see the stadium on their approach to the city.

Getting to central Paris from the airport

Those fans arriving by plane will likely fly into Charles de Gaulle airport to the north of Paris. The best way into town is with the RER B overland train that passes through Gare du Nord and the central of the city. Follow signs for “Paris by Train / RER B” to the platforms and ticket area. It could be a fair walk depending on which terminal you arrive at.

It also serves Orly airport so anyone arriving into Paris’ other airport can also get the RER into town via the Orlyval shuttle train.

If you are taking a taxi from Charles de Gaulle airport into town make sure it’s an official one which are subject to flat rates. Follow the signs for the official taxi ranks and avoid drivers offering taxis to in other parts of the airport. 

The fixed rates are either €53 or 58 depending on which part of central Paris you are going to as the map from shows.

There is more info on taxis here.

What’s the best way of getting to the Stade de France from the city centre?

Probably the easiest way to get to the ground is by taking an RER train or by Metro.

For the RER, which is basically a suburban rail service that extends to the outer suburbs of Paris, you can take either RER B or RER D from level 3 in Gare du Nord – where the airport train and Eurostar trains arrive – (With RER B its Direction Mitry-Claye or Aeroport Charles de Gaulle, and with RER D it’s Direction Creil)

RER B and D also head to the stadium from from Châtalet les Halles – a big transport hub in the city centre, not far from Notre Dame Cathedral and the River Seine.

On RER B you need to get off at La Plaine Stade de France and on RER D the stop is Stade de France St-Denis.

You can also get to the stadium by taking Line 13 of the Metro, which passes through Saint Lazare station and Place de Clichy (where a lot of fans will no doubt congregate around. the many pubs in the area – for more on where to get a pint, see below).

If you’re on line 13 the stop is Saint-Denis Porte de Paris.

Buying transport tickets

This can get a bit complicated because the Stade de France is in zone 2 so an ordinary Metro ticket won’t work.

The best option would probably be to buy a Navigo 1 day pass for zones 1 and 2, which you can do in Metro stations or by downloading the “Bonjour RATP” phone app and following the instructions.

You can also just buy a return ticket to the Stade de France at Metro stations although it’s a little more complicated to use the automatic machines.

Note of warning. It’s probably best to get your transport tickets well in advance. Queues can be horrendous and last time Liverpool played in Paris, the transport police were out in force making sure all fans had the right to travel. It caused chaos at the Metro station near Parc des Princes.

Can I walk to the ground from central Paris?

Yes, in theory, but it’s probably not a wise option.

It’s much easier to get public transport to the ground. While the stadium is not that far from the edge of Paris it’s not a great walk – not least due to all the rail tracks and motorways that snake around the area.

One possible route if you really want to walk is via the canals. It takes a bit longer but the first part of the walk along the Bassin de La Villette and the Canal de L’Ourq is at least lined with plenty of bars. The second part along the Canal de Saint-Denis is less picturesque. It passes through a fairly run down industrial area but there is at least a well used cycle path to follow.

But public transport is by far the better option.

Are there any fanzones?

For the moment there has not been any fanzones announced as there were in Madrid for the 2019 final between Liverpool and Tottenham – although reports say the club are trying to discuss the issue with local authorities in Paris so there may still be an update to come on this. If there is a fanzone it doesn’t mean there will be a big screen set up to broadcast the match. In Madrid the fanzone had live music but closed before kickoff.

For the moment there is no news on any big screens being set up in central Paris but things may yet change. Authorities in Saint-Denis have announced plans to show the match on a big screen in front of the town hall – that’s the town hall in Saint-Denis, not central Paris.

But it sounds like it’s more a set up for locals in the town than for thousands of Liverpool fans.

Most ticketless fans however will likely stay in central Paris and find a bar or a pub… 

Where will fans congregate?

Paris is not short of pubs, bars and cafes and squares, so it’s likely fans will congregate all over the city.

There are scores of British/Irish/Scottish/North American themed or genuine pubs all over the city. Certain parts of town like Grands Boulevards, Place de Clichy, St Michel and Rue St Denis around Châtelet have several pubs grouped together which will likely be focal points.  

There is the Kop Bar in the 18th and the Lush bar in the 17th which are known venues for Liverpool fans but they will likely be packed. Ticketless fans shouldn’t have too much of a problem finding somewhere that will show the game however. The smaller more local bars might be a good shout if the pubs are overflowing. The game is being shown on terrestrial TV in France (TF1) so any bar with a TV should be able to show it.

There is a list of pubs doing the rounds online including venues such as the Bombardier, Belushis, the Harp and the Coq and Bulldog but there are many more across the city.

There are lots of bars opposite Gare du Nord station but pints can be expensive and not many have TV screens.

Pubs like Corcorans on Grands Boulevards (Boulevard Poissonniere / Boulevard Montmartre) have plenty of screens. Also search for O’Sullivans and Cafe Oz which are big pubs around the city with lots of screens.

Will there be any special events?

UEFA have organised two official trophy experience locations in the build-up to the final, one in central Paris and the other in Saint-Denis.

From Thursday, May 26th until two hours before kickoff on Saturday, May 28th, fans can experience the walk-through zones free of charge.

“The activities are free and open to everyone so come enjoy the electric atmosphere, meet fellow fans, and get in the festive spirit,” says Uefa.

Entry: No ticket needed; entry is completely free!

The Two locations are:

  • Paris, Place de l’Hôtel de Ville
  • Saint-Denis, Place Victor Hugo

Are there any Covid rules I need to be aware of?

France has dropped all travel restrictions for vaccinated travellers from UK, although unvaccinated travellers still need to provide a negative test prior to travel.

Face masks are no longer obligatory in shops or on public transport although they are recommended.

Can I drive into Paris?

Beware you’ll need a Crit’air sticker on your car or risk paying a fine. The stickers are an anti-pollution measure and even foreign cars should have them. You can get more information here.