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Insight

On location

With the Champions League final now being played in Paris, we’ve picked out highlights both footballing and cultural in the French capital

WORDS Ian Holyman

Where it all began

Gabriel Hanot was a player, then manager-turned-journalist, who had the unique distinction of once calling for his own head as coach of the French national team. However, of more pertinence is the competition he proposed via an article published in French sports daily L'Équipe on 15 December 1954. “The idea of a European club championship… deserves to be launched. It is worth a try.”

By early April 1955, 20 representatives of 15 of the most influential clubs in European football were sat around at table in Paris’s Hotel Ambassador; they decided that 16 teams from 16 countries would play each other home and away in midweek fixtures with evening kick-offs. On 4 September 1955, Sporting played out a 3-3 draw with Partizan in Lisbon – the very first European Champions Clubs’ Cup fixture.

Montmartre itself is a hive of artistic activity. You’ll understand why celebrated French author Victor Hugo wrote, ‘Breathe in Paris, it preserves the soul’

Host with the most

Real Madrid have been to three Paris finals, and it was in the southwest of the French capital that European Cup final history was written. Real’s legend-laced squad, headed by Alfredo Di Stéfano, travelled to France to face Stade de Reims for the inaugural showpiece at the Parc des Princes on 13 June 1956. Two-nil down within 10 minutes and 3-2 behind with under half an hour to play, Real roared back to win 4-3 and claim the first of their record 13 triumphs. 

On return visits to the capital, Real lost to Liverpool in 1980/81 before defeating Valencia in 1999/2000. The latter was one of two finals previously staged at the Stade de France; the other came when Barcelona defeated Arsenal in 2005/06. France, meanwhile, have only ever had one winner in the competition: whisper it quietly, as it was Paris Saint-Germain's arch-rivals Olympique de Marseille in 1993.

Sweet treat

If you can’t find something you like across the colourful spectrum of cuisines available in Paris, you might just have to accept that you’re a fussy eater. The acid test of that could be the café gourmand – a ‘gourmet coffee’ – which is the hidden treasure of Parisian dining. It's not always on the menu so you might have to ask, but it consists of coffee (or tea) served with three or four mini desserts.

“At the time we were in one of our restaurants, but we were in a hurry and we just wanted to nibble on something,” said Bernard Boutboul, who – along with restaurateur Hervé Gourlaouen – is credited with the invention of the café gourmand back in 1985. “So we took a brownie, we cut it in four and I said to myself, ‘That’s what we should offer people.’”

Where it all began

Gabriel Hanot was a player, then manager-turned-journalist, who had the unique distinction of once calling for his own head as coach of the French national team. However, of more pertinence is the competition he proposed via an article published in French sports daily L'Équipe on 15 December 1954. “The idea of a European club championship… deserves to be launched. It is worth a try.”

By early April 1955, 20 representatives of 15 of the most influential clubs in European football were sat around at table in Paris’s Hotel Ambassador; they decided that 16 teams from 16 countries would play each other home and away in midweek fixtures with evening kick-offs. On 4 September 1955, Sporting played out a 3-3 draw with Partizan in Lisbon – the very first European Champions Clubs’ Cup fixture.

Montmartre itself is a hive of artistic activity. You’ll understand why celebrated French author Victor Hugo wrote, ‘Breathe in Paris, it preserves the soul’

Host with the most

Real Madrid have been to three Paris finals, and it was in the southwest of the French capital that European Cup final history was written. Real’s legend-laced squad, headed by Alfredo Di Stéfano, travelled to France to face Stade de Reims for the inaugural showpiece at the Parc des Princes on 13 June 1956. Two-nil down within 10 minutes and 3-2 behind with under half an hour to play, Real roared back to win 4-3 and claim the first of their record 13 triumphs. 

On return visits to the capital, Real lost to Liverpool in 1980/81 before defeating Valencia in 1999/2000. The latter was one of two finals previously staged at the Stade de France; the other came when Barcelona defeated Arsenal in 2005/06. France, meanwhile, have only ever had one winner in the competition: whisper it quietly, as it was Paris Saint-Germain's arch-rivals Olympique de Marseille in 1993.

Sweet treat

If you can’t find something you like across the colourful spectrum of cuisines available in Paris, you might just have to accept that you’re a fussy eater. The acid test of that could be the café gourmand – a ‘gourmet coffee’ – which is the hidden treasure of Parisian dining. It's not always on the menu so you might have to ask, but it consists of coffee (or tea) served with three or four mini desserts.

“At the time we were in one of our restaurants, but we were in a hurry and we just wanted to nibble on something,” said Bernard Boutboul, who – along with restaurateur Hervé Gourlaouen – is credited with the invention of the café gourmand back in 1985. “So we took a brownie, we cut it in four and I said to myself, ‘That’s what we should offer people.’”

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

Tour de Paris

There’s no shortage of things to do in Paris ahead of kick-off. Take a boat trip on the Seine, walk the quiet, narrow streets of the Marais quarter or experience the high-energy bustle of any of the major boulevards that criss-cross the capital. You can also take the 1,665 steps to reach the top of the Eiffel Tower – or how about the 270 that lead up to the Sacré-Cœur on Montmartre? 

Montmartre itself is a hive of artistic activity – and those steps come alive with street performers in the spring and summer. Take in show after show on your way up (and down), and drink in the unparalleled view of Paris from the top. You’ll understand why celebrated French author Victor Hugo wrote, ‘Breathe in Paris, it preserves the soul.’

See the sights

There are many things to do in this city – but one not to do is drive. Firstly because, well, traffic. Secondly, because there has been a vélorution in the French capital as part of a drive to unclog the streets and clean up the air. Once a hazardous enterprise, cycling here has become not only possible but pleasurable, with numerous bike lanes snaking around the place. The Vélib’ scheme means you can pick up and drop off a bike from one of 1,400 docking points dotted across the Greater Paris area.

Noisy neighbour

Football in Paris is not just about Paris Saint-Germain. Paris FC actually merged with Stade Saint-Germain to form PSG in 1970 – but split again in 1972, and has lived in the shadow of its neighbour ever since. But perhaps the most storied club in the French capital is Red Star FC. 

Founded by Jules Rimet (yes, that one) in 1897, it is the fourth oldest club in France. A winner of five Coupes de France – four of them in the 1920s – it has the cachet of a team that does things a bit differently off the pitch. It also boasts a trio of former Champions League players helping to run the show: Steve Marlet, David Bellion and Habib Beye.

And why ‘Red Star’, in English? Rimet’s governess made the choice, based on a ferry firm that ran between England and France.

Where it all began

Gabriel Hanot was a player, then manager-turned-journalist, who had the unique distinction of once calling for his own head as coach of the French national team. However, of more pertinence is the competition he proposed via an article published in French sports daily L'Équipe on 15 December 1954. “The idea of a European club championship… deserves to be launched. It is worth a try.”

By early April 1955, 20 representatives of 15 of the most influential clubs in European football were sat around at table in Paris’s Hotel Ambassador; they decided that 16 teams from 16 countries would play each other home and away in midweek fixtures with evening kick-offs. On 4 September 1955, Sporting played out a 3-3 draw with Partizan in Lisbon – the very first European Champions Clubs’ Cup fixture.

Montmartre itself is a hive of artistic activity. You’ll understand why celebrated French author Victor Hugo wrote, ‘Breathe in Paris, it preserves the soul’

Host with the most

Real Madrid have been to three Paris finals, and it was in the southwest of the French capital that European Cup final history was written. Real’s legend-laced squad, headed by Alfredo Di Stéfano, travelled to France to face Stade de Reims for the inaugural showpiece at the Parc des Princes on 13 June 1956. Two-nil down within 10 minutes and 3-2 behind with under half an hour to play, Real roared back to win 4-3 and claim the first of their record 13 triumphs. 

On return visits to the capital, Real lost to Liverpool in 1980/81 before defeating Valencia in 1999/2000. The latter was one of two finals previously staged at the Stade de France; the other came when Barcelona defeated Arsenal in 2005/06. France, meanwhile, have only ever had one winner in the competition: whisper it quietly, as it was Paris Saint-Germain's arch-rivals Olympique de Marseille in 1993.

Sweet treat

If you can’t find something you like across the colourful spectrum of cuisines available in Paris, you might just have to accept that you’re a fussy eater. The acid test of that could be the café gourmand – a ‘gourmet coffee’ – which is the hidden treasure of Parisian dining. It's not always on the menu so you might have to ask, but it consists of coffee (or tea) served with three or four mini desserts.

“At the time we were in one of our restaurants, but we were in a hurry and we just wanted to nibble on something,” said Bernard Boutboul, who – along with restaurateur Hervé Gourlaouen – is credited with the invention of the café gourmand back in 1985. “So we took a brownie, we cut it in four and I said to myself, ‘That’s what we should offer people.’”

On location
Insight

On location

With the Champions League final now being played in Paris, we’ve picked out highlights both footballing and cultural in the French capital

WORDS Ian Holyman

Where it all began

Gabriel Hanot was a player, then manager-turned-journalist, who had the unique distinction of once calling for his own head as coach of the French national team. However, of more pertinence is the competition he proposed via an article published in French sports daily L'Équipe on 15 December 1954. “The idea of a European club championship… deserves to be launched. It is worth a try.”

By early April 1955, 20 representatives of 15 of the most influential clubs in European football were sat around at table in Paris’s Hotel Ambassador; they decided that 16 teams from 16 countries would play each other home and away in midweek fixtures with evening kick-offs. On 4 September 1955, Sporting played out a 3-3 draw with Partizan in Lisbon – the very first European Champions Clubs’ Cup fixture.

Montmartre itself is a hive of artistic activity. You’ll understand why celebrated French author Victor Hugo wrote, ‘Breathe in Paris, it preserves the soul’

Host with the most

Real Madrid have been to three Paris finals, and it was in the southwest of the French capital that European Cup final history was written. Real’s legend-laced squad, headed by Alfredo Di Stéfano, travelled to France to face Stade de Reims for the inaugural showpiece at the Parc des Princes on 13 June 1956. Two-nil down within 10 minutes and 3-2 behind with under half an hour to play, Real roared back to win 4-3 and claim the first of their record 13 triumphs. 

On return visits to the capital, Real lost to Liverpool in 1980/81 before defeating Valencia in 1999/2000. The latter was one of two finals previously staged at the Stade de France; the other came when Barcelona defeated Arsenal in 2005/06. France, meanwhile, have only ever had one winner in the competition: whisper it quietly, as it was Paris Saint-Germain's arch-rivals Olympique de Marseille in 1993.

Sweet treat

If you can’t find something you like across the colourful spectrum of cuisines available in Paris, you might just have to accept that you’re a fussy eater. The acid test of that could be the café gourmand – a ‘gourmet coffee’ – which is the hidden treasure of Parisian dining. It's not always on the menu so you might have to ask, but it consists of coffee (or tea) served with three or four mini desserts.

“At the time we were in one of our restaurants, but we were in a hurry and we just wanted to nibble on something,” said Bernard Boutboul, who – along with restaurateur Hervé Gourlaouen – is credited with the invention of the café gourmand back in 1985. “So we took a brownie, we cut it in four and I said to myself, ‘That’s what we should offer people.’”

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

Where it all began

Gabriel Hanot was a player, then manager-turned-journalist, who had the unique distinction of once calling for his own head as coach of the French national team. However, of more pertinence is the competition he proposed via an article published in French sports daily L'Équipe on 15 December 1954. “The idea of a European club championship… deserves to be launched. It is worth a try.”

By early April 1955, 20 representatives of 15 of the most influential clubs in European football were sat around at table in Paris’s Hotel Ambassador; they decided that 16 teams from 16 countries would play each other home and away in midweek fixtures with evening kick-offs. On 4 September 1955, Sporting played out a 3-3 draw with Partizan in Lisbon – the very first European Champions Clubs’ Cup fixture.

Montmartre itself is a hive of artistic activity. You’ll understand why celebrated French author Victor Hugo wrote, ‘Breathe in Paris, it preserves the soul’

Host with the most

Real Madrid have been to three Paris finals, and it was in the southwest of the French capital that European Cup final history was written. Real’s legend-laced squad, headed by Alfredo Di Stéfano, travelled to France to face Stade de Reims for the inaugural showpiece at the Parc des Princes on 13 June 1956. Two-nil down within 10 minutes and 3-2 behind with under half an hour to play, Real roared back to win 4-3 and claim the first of their record 13 triumphs. 

On return visits to the capital, Real lost to Liverpool in 1980/81 before defeating Valencia in 1999/2000. The latter was one of two finals previously staged at the Stade de France; the other came when Barcelona defeated Arsenal in 2005/06. France, meanwhile, have only ever had one winner in the competition: whisper it quietly, as it was Paris Saint-Germain's arch-rivals Olympique de Marseille in 1993.

Sweet treat

If you can’t find something you like across the colourful spectrum of cuisines available in Paris, you might just have to accept that you’re a fussy eater. The acid test of that could be the café gourmand – a ‘gourmet coffee’ – which is the hidden treasure of Parisian dining. It's not always on the menu so you might have to ask, but it consists of coffee (or tea) served with three or four mini desserts.

“At the time we were in one of our restaurants, but we were in a hurry and we just wanted to nibble on something,” said Bernard Boutboul, who – along with restaurateur Hervé Gourlaouen – is credited with the invention of the café gourmand back in 1985. “So we took a brownie, we cut it in four and I said to myself, ‘That’s what we should offer people.’”

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

Tour de Paris

There’s no shortage of things to do in Paris ahead of kick-off. Take a boat trip on the Seine, walk the quiet, narrow streets of the Marais quarter or experience the high-energy bustle of any of the major boulevards that criss-cross the capital. You can also take the 1,665 steps to reach the top of the Eiffel Tower – or how about the 270 that lead up to the Sacré-Cœur on Montmartre? 

Montmartre itself is a hive of artistic activity – and those steps come alive with street performers in the spring and summer. Take in show after show on your way up (and down), and drink in the unparalleled view of Paris from the top. You’ll understand why celebrated French author Victor Hugo wrote, ‘Breathe in Paris, it preserves the soul.’

See the sights

There are many things to do in this city – but one not to do is drive. Firstly because, well, traffic. Secondly, because there has been a vélorution in the French capital as part of a drive to unclog the streets and clean up the air. Once a hazardous enterprise, cycling here has become not only possible but pleasurable, with numerous bike lanes snaking around the place. The Vélib’ scheme means you can pick up and drop off a bike from one of 1,400 docking points dotted across the Greater Paris area.

Noisy neighbour

Football in Paris is not just about Paris Saint-Germain. Paris FC actually merged with Stade Saint-Germain to form PSG in 1970 – but split again in 1972, and has lived in the shadow of its neighbour ever since. But perhaps the most storied club in the French capital is Red Star FC. 

Founded by Jules Rimet (yes, that one) in 1897, it is the fourth oldest club in France. A winner of five Coupes de France – four of them in the 1920s – it has the cachet of a team that does things a bit differently off the pitch. It also boasts a trio of former Champions League players helping to run the show: Steve Marlet, David Bellion and Habib Beye.

And why ‘Red Star’, in English? Rimet’s governess made the choice, based on a ferry firm that ran between England and France.

Where it all began

Gabriel Hanot was a player, then manager-turned-journalist, who had the unique distinction of once calling for his own head as coach of the French national team. However, of more pertinence is the competition he proposed via an article published in French sports daily L'Équipe on 15 December 1954. “The idea of a European club championship… deserves to be launched. It is worth a try.”

By early April 1955, 20 representatives of 15 of the most influential clubs in European football were sat around at table in Paris’s Hotel Ambassador; they decided that 16 teams from 16 countries would play each other home and away in midweek fixtures with evening kick-offs. On 4 September 1955, Sporting played out a 3-3 draw with Partizan in Lisbon – the very first European Champions Clubs’ Cup fixture.

Montmartre itself is a hive of artistic activity. You’ll understand why celebrated French author Victor Hugo wrote, ‘Breathe in Paris, it preserves the soul’

Host with the most

Real Madrid have been to three Paris finals, and it was in the southwest of the French capital that European Cup final history was written. Real’s legend-laced squad, headed by Alfredo Di Stéfano, travelled to France to face Stade de Reims for the inaugural showpiece at the Parc des Princes on 13 June 1956. Two-nil down within 10 minutes and 3-2 behind with under half an hour to play, Real roared back to win 4-3 and claim the first of their record 13 triumphs. 

On return visits to the capital, Real lost to Liverpool in 1980/81 before defeating Valencia in 1999/2000. The latter was one of two finals previously staged at the Stade de France; the other came when Barcelona defeated Arsenal in 2005/06. France, meanwhile, have only ever had one winner in the competition: whisper it quietly, as it was Paris Saint-Germain's arch-rivals Olympique de Marseille in 1993.

Sweet treat

If you can’t find something you like across the colourful spectrum of cuisines available in Paris, you might just have to accept that you’re a fussy eater. The acid test of that could be the café gourmand – a ‘gourmet coffee’ – which is the hidden treasure of Parisian dining. It's not always on the menu so you might have to ask, but it consists of coffee (or tea) served with three or four mini desserts.

“At the time we were in one of our restaurants, but we were in a hurry and we just wanted to nibble on something,” said Bernard Boutboul, who – along with restaurateur Hervé Gourlaouen – is credited with the invention of the café gourmand back in 1985. “So we took a brownie, we cut it in four and I said to myself, ‘That’s what we should offer people.’”

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

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