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Velodrome Stadium Marseille

Velodrome Stadium Marseille

As well as being a premier venue for football (soccer) and rugby matches, the Stade Vlodrome has also hosted a number of high profile musicians and other sports and is renowned for its lively atmosphere.

History of the Velodrome StadiumThe name “Stade Vlodrome” derives from a velodrome, or cycling track, which was originally in place between the playing field and the stands, until the early 1970s. In this time the Marseille Velodrome Stadium hosted a number of different sports, including cycling, athletics, boxing and gymnastics, and saw ten finishes of the Tour de France cycle race.

The stadium was renovated in 1984 and again in 1998 for the FIFA World Cup, seeing its capacity increase from 42,000 to 60,031 seats, or 32 miles of benches. It is the second largest stadium in France, after the Stade de France in Paris.

L’Olympique de Marseille (or OM) celebrated its centenary in 1999 and is a leading French football club and an integral part of Marseillais culture, in a city where football is a religion. The Marseille stadium is the homeground of the OM and home to some of France’s most passionate supporters.

Sports at the Stadium VlodromeOM have played innumerable matches at the Marseille football stadium, and the stadium has also hosted six FIFA World Cup matches, including two semi finals 60 years apart. Rugby games are played regularly at the Stadium, including the 2007 Rugby World Cup. The French rugby team has a very successful track record at the Stade Vlodrome, having only been defeated there twice (once to Argentina, in 2004 and a recent crushing defeat by the New Zealand All Blacks in November 2009).

Other Events at the Stadium

The Stadium has seen a number of famous musicians including Johnny Hallyday, ACDC and Madonna. In July 2009 the Stadium made headlines when a portion of the stage collapsed, killing two and injuring five, while preparations were being made for Madonna’s concert there.

Visiting the StadiumThe Velodrome Stadium is located at 3, Boulevard Michelet 13008 Marseille. It is accessible by public transport on the metro (line 2, metro stop ‘Rond Point du Prado’ for southern stands/Tribune Jean Bouin, or line 2 metro stop ‘Sainte Marguerite Dromel’ for northern stands/Tribune Ganay) or by bus 83. Either way takes around 15 20 minutes from the city centre.

In arriving at the Stadium it is important to leave sufficient time to find the correct entrance gate and seating. There are a number of gates with some distance in between them, and the sign posting is not very clear for non French speakers arriving late can mean a hasty dash to get to the right place! Also the seat numbering is not very clear on some of the seats, so again arriving early is recommended. Once inside, though, visitors are rewarded with a dynamic and colourful atmosphere and a world class stadium experience.

An event at the stadium can easily be combined with Marseille travel including a visit to the beach or neighbouring Provencal villages such as Allauch. The city of Marseille is a vibrant and unique combination of Mediterranean sunshine, ancient French history, beaches, shops, restaurants, Provencal culture and North African influences.

Future of the StadiumMarseille has been named European capital of culture for 2013 and the city is undergoing an exciting reinvigoration. Alongside this, the Stade Vlodrome is undergoing renovations for the 2016 UEFA Cup, at a cost of 140 million. Its capacity will be increased from 60,013 to 80,000, bringing its capacity in line with the Stade de France in Paris and it will be called the Nouveau Stade Vlodrome (New Velodrome Stadium).