Local footie team had a home game and always fancied a visit to the stade Velodrome so, off I went! Mrs B wisely, it turned out, declining the offer of a night out.
A Coupe de France game against Le Havre AC, sparse attendance of around 10,000 making the stadium look almost empty and the football on offer probably an indication why many chose to stay away. I managed to stay for 60 minutes before boredom dragged me away.
For the record a 3-1 home win after extra time, yawn.
They have a pretty intimidating set of fans in the ground. It always amazes me how the home fans get so many flares etc into the ground when we away supporters are body searched, put in holding areas, herded about like cattle and then stuck behind bars in a corner of the ground with a lousy view. My husband was almost denied entry as his walking crutch was deemed a dangerous weapon! C'est la vie!
I have to say that the home fans attempts at atmoshere was pretty poor - I'm afraid if you need a PA system and megaphones it doesn't impress me much. By the time they were losing 3 or 4 nil they seemed to lose interest in the game and then spent their time either fighting amongst themselves or were they playing some form of tick? Thanks to the strong wind all the fireworks and flares that were aimed in our direction never reached us.
However they do have a decent element of fans and it was good to exchange mutual applause and sing a few songs to each other when the game was over and we were held back (as is the normal) for another half hour in the bitterly cold weather.
Equipment: If you visit in the winter dress very warmly!
As everywhere in France you will also see people here in Marseille playing boules - it is a national sport in France! Surprisingly enough we did not see many places in Marseille, though, since it requires an unpaved surface - and so many places in Marseille are either under construction or - paved!!!
There is also a fabrication of boules pétanques, for more information have a look at my shopping tips!
The Stade/Velodrome is the home of Olympique Marseille. It holds 60000 spectators and is the largest club stadium in France. It was built in 1937 for the soccer championships in 1938. Just recently there were plans to make it even larger (to hold up to 80000), but there were protests about the high costs, so this plan was not accomplished.
In front of the stadium you can rollerscate, which lots of people did, when we were there on a sunday morning.
Home of Olympique de Marseille
Home for the day, on 15 June 1998, of England and Tunisia fans.
Huge place, 60,000 seats. You'd better hope for decent weather, as there is much protection from the elements.
Sailing is a major sport in Marseille. The winds can blow from different directions and allow interesting regattas, Most of the time it can be windy while the sea remains smooth enough. It has been considered as a possible site for next America's cup. Finally, only preliminary sailing will take place in Marseille.
Allez, allez allez allez, l'OM, l'OM...
Getting to know the Marseillais is that little bit easier if you know about their football team. Olympique de Marseille is perhaps the best supported team in France, and a night out in the raucous open Stade Velodrome watching OM play is well worth the 30 or 40 euro you may have to pay. This season, 2002-03, they are on the verge of winning the league...
Equipment: A scarf (it gets chilly in the stade, and you best make sure it's white or blue!!!)
The local club is one of the best known in European football (read: soccer). They
have won the Champions League in the 90ties and were relegated to lower divisions for financial irregularities of Tapie, their then boss. Like the story of Princess turned Cinderella again...
However, now the club is no the rise and is one of the top team in the highest division of
French football league.