Wednesday 9 June 2010

Something for the Weekend – World Cup Special!

The 2010 football World Cup may well be kicking off 5429 miles away from Paris in Johannesburg this Friday but it is still possible to get the full international flavour of the event in France’s capital city. Here is my selection of the top places to go to find the best atmosphere and to make new international friends!

If you have any other suggestions (A friendly North Korean bar? A secret Slovakian restaurant?), please add them to the comments below.

Watch the games outside on giant screens
There will be two outdoor locations in Paris for this tournament:

Stade de Charlety
All matches featuring France, Algeria and Cameroon will be shown live at this stadium, as well as all games from the quarter-finals onwards.

The official FIFA fan zone in Paris has been installed on the Esplanade du Trocadéro. All games will be shown live on a 50 m2 screen here, but there are also two football pitches and a stage for live music. Open daily from midday to midnight. Free entrance.

Follow a particular country in a bar or restaurant
Although it may be tricky to find North Korean or Slovenian bars or restaurants in Paris, most of the 32 World Cup nations are well represented here.

English football supporters in Paris tend to gather at the various Frog pubs around the city. In reality, they are not the easiest places to watch a game (apart from at the Frog and British Library where there always seems to be some space), but there is always a good atmosphere and plenty of singing!

In Paris, there is only one place to follow the Seleção Brasileira - the Favela Chic on the Rue du Faubourg du Temple. Futebol, musica & amigos!

Although they represent the only country to play 'soccer' rather than 'football', the Americans of Paris will surely nevertheless join in with the party – at least for the game against England on Saturday night! Bizarrely though, they may well be congregated in a Canadian bar, The Moose, where they will be able to watch the games in 3D!

South Africa
As the only South African pub in Paris, La Pomme d’Eve will surely be the place to watch the Bafana Bafana.

Australia/New Zealand
Although it is a rather soulless chain of pubs, the Café Oz is nevertheless the antipodean bar of reference in Paris.

Two bars in Paris will be turning orange for the World Cup; the Cafe Klein Holland in the Marais, and Le Port d’Amsterdam between Montorgeuil and the Grands Boulevards. Both also serve Dutch beer and bar snacks.

With Erdinger and bratwurst available year round, the Café Titon is the perfect place to watch the Mannschaft. To add to the atmosphere, the games will come from a German stream and feature commentary in the language of Goethe!
Note: the bar is closed on Sundays, so Germany's first game against Australia this weekend will not be shown here.

There are many supporters of the Squadra azzurra in Paris, but no real central meeting point for them. The Bambolina Caffé
in the 9th arrondissement has promised to generate a good atmosphere during Italy games, but you could also just go down to your local Pizzaria and watch the tortured hand gestures and facial expressions of staff during matches!

With the French and Algerian teams, Portugal will be the country with the largest number of supporters in Paris. Fans tend to gather in large groups around the giant screens, but there are plenty of places where you can find a taste of Portugal in Paris. Look for the inevitable Portuguese flags in the windows of neighbourhood bars, or try one of this selection of Portuguese restaurants in the city.

If the Algerians manage to win a game, they will easily be the noisiest supporters in Paris, with parades of cars and beeping horns continuing all night after the match. Across the north and east of Paris, large crowds will gather in the street around bars during games featuring the phennecs, but if you are looking for a complete Algerian experience, try the cheap and cheerful Quatre Frères restaurant.

Another country with a large number residents in Paris, les Lions Indomptables will be well supported in the city during the World Cup. To watch their games, where better than the ‘Au Lion Indomptable’ restaurant
in the 20th arrondissement?

Ivory Coast

To see if Didier Drogba can recover from his elbow injury and lead the Elephants to success, try the A la Banane Ivoirienne restaurant in the Rue de la Forge Royale (75011).

The Latin Quarter or the Mouffetard of course!

Whenever there is an important match featuring a Spanish team you’ll always see a crowd gathered around the El Prado bar
on the Rue Saint Sebastien (75011). As an added bonus, the venue is also home to a good quality Spanish restaurant.

Neutral Territory
For those who do not want to follow any country in particular but just want to soak up a bit of the festive atmosphere and combine football with music or other activities.

Le Truskel
The only club that shows football matches year round and not just during the World Cup. For the World Cup you'll find drinks at reasonable prices, live music and surprise guests, including the English group Supergrass this Friday following their last ever concert.

Cabaret Sauvage
This club in the La Villette park will offer the largest capacity of any private venue in Paris. The ‘Copacabaret’ will feature 4 giant screens (indoors and outdoors) and the possibility of bringing together over 1000 people for each match. The venue has also chosen its favourite, Brazil, and will feature a selection of music, dance and food from this country.
Note: entrance for matches taking place at weekends is not free.

Le Divan du Monde
All of the games live on big screen in this cosy club, followed by concerts or fashion shows!

Football Culture
The World Cup, especially one taking place on African soil for the first time, is not just about kicking a ball. Two exhibitions in Paris show other aspects of the game.

Football design at Colette
How have 33 designers chosen to relook the kits of competing teams and the referee, as well as the ball itself? Find out at Colette.

Football and immigration
Football, particularly in France, has always also been a story of immigration. Raymond Kopa's family were from Poland, Michel Platini's from Italy and Zinedine Zidane's from Algeria, and today's team can count relatives from across the world. The Musée Nationale de l'Histoire d'Immigration has chosen the ideal time to host this fascinating and intelligent exhibition which traces the history of the game and its players.


shano said...

Outstandingly well researched piece. I'll send it on.

Stade Charlety sounds like a lot of fun

seanachie said...

Boteca on Oberkampf will surely be showing Brazil's games too. If you ask me though, there are few things in football as annoying as once-every-four-year fans who flock to bars to support Brazil, out of a misplaced sense of coolness.

Anonymous said...

seanachie, that's so true!!

PeterParis said...

Lack of time, maybe, but you really took the time to make this complete!

Karin B (Looking for Ballast) said...

So wonderfully comprehensive this is! I saw the set up at the Trocadéro early part of last week, and thought it might be interesting to catch a game there.

I used to teach foreign students and for previous World Cup games, I actually used to be kind of "with it" for being an Amuuurican. I have to say, though, to be living in a country with truly active fans, it is a whole 'nother really fun ball game for me! It's contagious, the way people get into football here, and especially now. I know that the excitement is only going to build from here! Especially if France moves on to the Second Round or even the Quarterfinals.

To add to your list of Portuguese restaurants showing games, the one downstairs from me is called Le Daga Club. It was totally packed when the European Cup was going on a couple of years ago. It's, unfortunately, a little noisy when games are going on, and oh wow -- Brazil Night every Sunday night is crazy-loud. It seems like an interesting place, though. A little rough around the edges, but fun. The first Portuguese game is this afternoon. Whooooa. I just saw that Brazil is playing Portugal on the 25th. Not sure what that means for the restaurant downstairs! There could be some interesting brawls that day. Heh!

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