As my seven-year-old daughter, Ella, jumped up and down together with 26,000 Lyon followers, I couldn’t assist grinning. Again within the UK, girls’s home league video games not often happen in massive stadiums. Massive matches – comparable to final weekend’s FA Cup Closing – entice massive crowds, however the playground taunt “soccer isn’t for women” is difficult to argue with when it’s uncommon to discover a girls’s sport proven dwell on terrestrial TV, or a match at a Premier League floor.
However at Lyon’s 60,000-seater Groupama stadium – which can host each semi-finals and the ultimate of subsequent month’s Girls’s World Cup (7 June-7-July) – and the place Lyon play their large video games, girls’s soccer is on one other degree. We watched the very best girls’s membership staff on the earth bang in 5 objectives towards rivals Paris Saint-Germain to win the title decider, earlier than captain Wendie Renard leapt over the limitations, grabbed the microphone and serenaded the followers. We stood on our seats and cheered our hearts out, singing, “Qui ne saute pas, n’est pas Lyonnais…” (Whoever isn’t leaping, isn’t from Lyon). Drums banged, flags waved and faces have been streaked in pink, white and blue, the membership colors. We had solely been within the metropolis 24 hours, however already we’d fallen head over heels for the place.

Ella, the author’s daughter, on the Lyon match. {Photograph}: Anna Kessel
Soccer-mad Lyon is a pure alternative for the finale of what’s anticipated to be essentially the most high-profile event within the historical past of the ladies’s sport. Greater than 750 million folks watched the 2015 World Cup in Canada, the place England’s Lionesses received a historic bronze medal; even higher curiosity is anticipated this 12 months.
In France greater than 5 million watched the announcement of the French squad dwell on TV final week, the information made the entrance web page of sports activities every day L’Equipe, and all the event will probably be broadcast on Canal+. A whopping 180,000 followers with tickets will descend on Lyon subsequent month. Many extra could come for the environment, the Fifa fan zone (Place Bellecour 26 June–7 July), and two exhibitions celebrating the ladies’s sport (rue Bouchut, and Lyon’s Hôtel de Ville).
After travelling by practice from London, we took a tram from Lyon’s Gare Half-Dieu to our lodge in La Confluence, a newly regenerated space the place the Saône and Rhône rivers meet. We cherished Mob Lodge (doubles from €68 room-only), a stone’s throw from the space-age Musée des Confluences, with a balcony overlooking the Saône. Though aimed toward a hipster crowd (beard oil and natural crisps on sale within the foyer), Mob was stuffed with actions for teenagers, together with desk soccer within the restaurant, shadow puppets and iPads, with Netflix freed from cost.

Mob Lodge. {Photograph}: Aldo Parede
The casual really feel of the lodge matched the town. Close by was the Orange Dice, a cultural centre likened to Swiss cheese, and on nearly each avenue nook stood rental Vélo’v bikes and motorised scooters. Parc de la Tête d’Or, within the north of the town, is France’s largest city park – with a lake for pedalos, zoo, botanical gardens and, to Ella’s delight, a lot of candyfloss. From the park it’s doable to stroll, or scoot, alongside the Rhône again to the centre of Lyon.

Eager to proceed the sporting theme, we braved the spring temperatures with a dip in Lyon’s well-known riverside out of doors pool, Centre Nautique Tony Bertrand (eight Quai Claude Bernard, €3.40, under-6s free). A second pool opens in June every year, providing water slides and whirlpools. Each are open day-after-day all through the summer season. Afterwards we warmed up with large bowls of noodles and gyoza dumplings at Kuro Goma (15 rue de Bonald).

Lyon’s well-known out of doors pool on the banks of the Rhône. {Photograph}: Getty Photos
Lyon is understood for its meals, so on our first night we sampled conventional delicacies at a Les Lyonnais bouchon (19 rue de la Bombarde). The environment was good – darkish wooden chairs, shared tables, a girl casually feeding her poodle pork scratchings from the desk. However it was fairly heavy fare: gratin dauphinois and meaty plates, and even the frisée salad got here with lardons greater than my finger. We waddled off to the large match that evening.

We most well-liked the meals on the Sunday morning market on Quai Saint-Antoine, the place the odor of rooster roasting, recent bread, cheese and patisserie stuffed the air. A basket of native strawberries have been so aromatic you could possibly style them even earlier than they have been in your mouth. From there, we took a ship again down river to discover the Musée des Confluences – an architectural spectacle within the vein of Bilbao’s Guggenheim. Organized thematically, its displays reply a collection of questions – Who’re we? How did we get right here? – in an modern approach. Many objects are on show with out a case so youngsters can contact something from dinosaur skeletons to bits of meteor and moon rock.

The Musée des Confluences. {Photograph}: Alamy
On the practice residence Ella cradled her participant playing cards from the Lyon staff: Ballon D’Or winner Ada Hegerberg, England Lioness Lucy Bronze, and host nation favourites Eugénie Le Sommer and Amandine Henry.
“Mum, can we come again for the World Cup?” she requested.
“Sure,” I smiled, “I feel we are able to.”
England and Scotland on the World Cup
The 2 residence nations will play one another in Good on 9 June – for the primary time in any soccer World Cup event. England’s different group stage matches are towards Argentina in Le Havre (14 June) and Japan in Good (19 June); Scotland play Japan in Rennes (14 June) and Argentina in Paris (19 June).
Tickets are nonetheless out there for many video games and begin from €9 from
• The journey was offered by Lyon vacationer board. Prepare journey offered by Loco2, which has one-way tickets London-Lyon (4 hours and 40 minutes) from £48.50. Costs are increased within the World Cup however additional Eurostar ticket are launched from 14-23 Could, with fares to some French cities, together with Lyon, from £29 one-way
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