Ground: Stade Pierre Mauroy (Grand Stade Lille Métropole)
Date: 14th February 2015
Match: Lille - Nice 0-0 (Ligue 1)
Attendance: 35 053
As in recent years I was free from work the third week in February. I wanted to visit one of the major leagues and in the end it was a choice between Spain and France. Once fixtures were confirmed I was disappointed Marseille´s match (against Reims) was on Friday evening. I wanted a Monaco + Marseille weekend and then a match in Ligue 2 on Monday evening. Going through my options I decided to make this a proper European weekend with matches in three different countries. First up was Lille vs Nice in Ligue 1 on Saturday evening. I would then visit Brussels (Anderlecht vs Mechelen) and Geneva (Servette vs Lugano) before going back home on Tuesday morning. My trip started 04.00 on Saturday morning when my alarm buzzed. At 08.25 my SAS flight left Copenhagen airport and two hours later I was at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. From the airport there are high-speed trains (TGV) to Lille and shortly after 1 pm I had reached my destination, Lille in northern France.
My hotel was only a short walk from Lille Flandres train station and after checking in at the hotel I went to the metro station at Lille Flandres from where I went to Stade Pierre Mauroy, the home of Lille OSC. Stade Pierre Mauroy was opened in August 2012 and has a capacity of 52 000. It also has a retractable roof and has been chosen to host matches in Euro 2016. From the outside the ground looked like a smaller version on Allianz Arena in München. Anyway, after a few exterior pictures I headed towards the city centre for some sightseeing. I have to say the city centre of Lille is quite nice with plenty of old and interesting buildings. Lille is the principal city of the Lille Métropole and is situated in French Flanders near France's border with Belgium. It is the capital of the Nord-Pas de Calais region. I finished off the sightseeing with a very late lunch at a restaurant near Grand Place. As I paid the waiter noticed my credit card was a Swedish one. "Suede?", he asked. I said yes and the waiter replied "Zlatan Ibrahimovic" and laughed. His English was not the best but he was actually going to the game this evening as well.
Kick off at Stade Pierre Mauroy was at 8pm and shortly after 6 I was yet again outside the ground. Lille normally have around 35 000 at their home matches and I was hoping for something similar this evening. Once inside the ground my first impression was Stade Pierre Mauroy is very similar to Friends Arena in Solna, Sweden´s national stadium. That means a new modern stadium clicking all the boxes when it comes to comfort for fans etc but not exactly a groundhoppers favourite. My seat was in row 60 (East Stand), which was in the third tier and from there I had an excellent view of the pitch. OGC Nice brought around 100 fans to Lille for this match and given the huge distance from Nice to Lille that is an ok number. In total 35 000 (although I doubt that figure) were at Stade Pierre Mauroy and we had to watch an awful match. Hardly any chances at all and the match finished 0-0. Lille had a player sent off in the first half but apart from that nothing exciting happened during the match. I was of course disappointed the match was so poor but when I later heard Monaco vs Montpellier had been postponed due to bad weather I was still pleased to have chosen Lille over Monaco. I was back at my hotel around 22.30 and quickly fell asleep.
Lille (view from Lille Flandres)
Grand Place CCI Grand Lille
Theathre du Nord Paroisse St Michel
Palais des Beaux Arts
Porte de Paris
Stade Pierre Mauroy
Stade Pierre Mauroy
Rear of the northeast corner
Rear of the North Stand
Rear of the northwest corner
Rear of the South Stand
Nice fans (pun intended!)
View of play
View of play