Euro 2016: How to Enjoy or Survive the Soccer Madness in Paris

Euro 2016: How to Enjoy or Survive the Soccer Madness in Paris

June 10 to July 10, 2016

UEFA Euro 2016 logo

The Euro 2016 soccer madness is about to hit France.

UEFA Euro 2016 is the biggest sports event in France this summer – 24 international teams are competing for the title of best men’s soccer (a.k.a. football) team in Europe. A total of 51 matches will be played over 31 days in 10 major French cities: Bordeaux, Lens, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nice, Paris, Saint-Denis, Saint-Étienne, and Toulouse. And, the Stade de France stadium north of Paris hosts the most important matches of this Euro 2016: opening match, quarter final, and final.

Euro 2016 Activities

Are you ready for the month-long soccer mania? If you’re a fan you will likely welcome the excitement that comes with seeing your favorite team play. If you’re not a fan, you might find this whole time very vexing and challenging. But, you know how the saying goes: “If you can’t beat them, join them!” You might find yourself having a fabulous time!  Alternatively, you can escape the fever pitch and try some of these 18 outdoor activities around Paris!

EURO 2016 French team shirts
Photo: Liondartois/Wikimedia Commons

French phrases to inspire you to get into the soccer fervor

Do not “avoir le cafard” or be “down in the dumps” if the team you are cheering for has “les deux pieds dans le meme sabot” (has two feet in the same clog, or fumbling around) or do something ridiculous like “boire comme un trou” (drink like a hole) or get drunk. If you do, you might find that you faire l’andouille or act like a fool and wake up with “la gueule de bois,” in other words, a huge hangover.

Many fans will “engueuler quelqu’un comme du poisson pourri” (yell at their team like they are rotten fish) – especially if they are losing!

Euro 2016 Activities

Hopefully, though, your favorite player will do a “café crème”, a generic expression used to describe a skilled dribble that eliminates, often in a humiliating manner, the threat posed by an opponent.

Maybe your team can fermer la boutique, which is an expression used when a team adopts an ultra-defensive strategy after gaining the lead. In English, the expression “to park the bus” is often used to describe this strategy.

I hope that your favorite team will “fusiller le gardien”, which is when a player scores a goal with an extremely powerful kick which leaves the goalkeeper with no chance of saving it.

Euro 2016 Activities
Fan Zone Champ de Mars. Photo:

Where you can join the Euro 2016 fun in Paris

Official Fan Zone (Eiffel Tower)

Paris will be soccer crazy! If you were not fortunate enough to grab tickets, you can head to the festival-like official Fan Zone at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. There is room for you and over 90,000 of your closest friends, with plenty of giant screens to watch the games broadcast live.

All month long, you can enjoy free soccer-related activities, food, drink and live music in the village. On June 9th, the eve of the tournament, superstar French DJ David Guetta, who wrote the official song for Euro 2016, will headline a free concert in the Fan Zone. British rock band MUSE also performs here on June 28th (tickets on sale via FNAC).

Bars and Other Fun Places to Watch the Matches

Café Rive Droite football fans
Photo courtesy of Café Rive Droite

Don’t have tickets but want to feel the excitement of watching the games in the company of a cheering crowd? A number of bars, pubs and restaurants around Paris are screening the matches and hosting themed events to get everyone into the competitive spirit.

For a lively and exciting al fresco atmosphere, head to Café Rive Droite (1st arr), a regular stop for sports spectators, which will be screening games on multiple screens indoors and out.

Then there are the Anglo-themed sports bars like The Lions, a British sports pub in the 13th arrondissement, which is organizing a special beer contest to celebrate the Euro 2016. Or go to one of the many O’Sullivans Irish Pubs or Frog pubs to watch the matches on big screens while munching on huge burgers with a pint of lager in hand.

For something a little more chic, Hotel du Collectionneur (8th arr) has a dedicated Euro 2016 zone on their outdoor terrace to screen the matches. Or, visit the cozy Bar at Le Bristol (8th arr) where you can score a free cocktail if you predict the number of goals or match results.

Check out Sortiraparis and Time Out Paris for more bars, pubs and fun places where you can watch the matches in Paris while exchanging cheers and beers with other fans.

Euro 2016
Generation 98 Tournament in Paris, Photo:


If all the soccer action is inspiring you to want to play the game, there are also many tournaments for everyone around the city, including a Generation 98 tournament and an international under-16 tournament for girls. France is hosting the women’s FIFA World Cup in 2019.

However you decide to join the football madness coming to France, bonne chance to your favorite team!

(Additional reporting by INSPIRELLE team)

Michelle Beary is another American trying to survive in France. She keeps life in perspective with deep yoga breaths while drinking a healthy dose of wine and Champagne. Life is crazy with four children and a husband that help keep her sane. Keeping the crazies at bay and the drama to a minimum can be a challenge, and some days are harder than others. Still Michelle tries to stay positive and says it is better to look back at the bumps in the road and call them accomplishments. She moved overseas in 2011 and settled in Paris in 2013. Her family wants to spend every weekend on the couch playing video games. So, during the week, Michelle heads out to explore and learn about the amazing city she now calls home.



two − 1 =

All comments are moderated. If you don't see your comment right away, please be patient. It may be posted soon. There's no need to post your comment a second time. Thank you!