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Monaco

Ground: Stade Louis II

Visits: 1

Date: 4th August 2017

Match: Monaco - Toulouse  3-2  (Ligue 1)

Attendance: 13 572

As kick-off times for the opening weekend of Ligue 1 were confirmed going to France was an easy decision. As reigning champions AS Monaco would kick-off the season on Friday evening with a home game v Toulouse. It was then possible to go to St Etienne (v Nice) on Saturday and Marseille (v Dijon) on Sunday. On Monday I would continue the tour by flying to England for games Monday to Wednesday. Going to football in Monaco means flying to Nice and at 8am on Friday morning my SAS-flight departed Copenhagen airport. We arrived in Nice on time and shortly before noon I was at my hotel in central Nice. Having been up very early my plan was to check-in, have something to eat, visit the beach and then relax in my room until leaving for the game. It was 28-29°C in Nice which is warm but still manageable. Having air condition in my room staying inside and relax felt like an easy and correct decision for the afternoon though. Kick-off in Monaco was at 20.45 and 17.54 my train left the train station in Nice. It only takes 25 minutes to go from Nice to Monaco but I wanted to have a look around before going to the ground.

Monaco, officially the Principality of Monaco, is a sovereign city-state with a population of 38 000 and the area of the country is around 2 km2. The state has no income tax and is a tax haven for very rich people. Monaco is governed under a form of constitutional monarchy with Prince Albert the current head of state. The country is of course tied to France in many ways and the local football team, AS Monaco, play in the French league. The train station in Monaco is inside the rock and you have to leave via escalators leading into a tunnel. Eventually you can see daylight again and it was soon obvious Monaco is a crowded place with plenty of narrow streets and elevations. I visited Port Hercule before making my way to the ground. With escalators and stairs it was not exactly the most straightforward walk I have had to a football ground. From the train station it takes 20-25 minutes to the ground. Stade Louis II, the home of AS Monaco, is tucked in between neighboring houses and some of the apartments are very close to the ground. Originally opened in 1939 the current version of the ground, with a capacity of 18 500, is from 1985. My seat was in row 18 of the Premieres Stand and from there I had a good view of the action. AS Monaco, despite winning the league, only averaged 9 600 last season and for this game I was expecting around 8 000 to show up. To my surprise home sections were almost completely full and 13 572 is an excellent attendance for Monaco. It was the 30 or so visiting fans from Toulouse who could celebrate early on though, 0-1 in the 6th minute. Monaco equalized 20 minutes later and at half-time it was 1-1. Toulouse scored again though and after 53 minutes it was 1-2. AS Monaco were the better team and two goals in the second half meant 3-2 and three points to the champions. An entertaining game and a good start to this tour.

I made the 23.12 train back to Nice and as I was about to leave the train station in Nice I hear someone shout my name. Two former pupils of mine were on holiday in southern Europe and they had actually been at the game as well. It seems I am not safe anywhere anymore! Four days of holiday for them in Nice but my tour will take me to St Étienne tomorrow.

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Port Hercule

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Port Hercule

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Palace

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Palace

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Port de Fontevieille

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Port de Cap d'Ail (in France, picture taken from inside the ground)

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Rear of Pesages

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Rear of Honneur

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Ligue 1 trophy

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Rear of Populaires

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Flag

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Populaires

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Honneur

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Pesages

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Female fan

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Kick-off

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Toulouse fans

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Lights

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View of play

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Honneur

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View of play

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View of play

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Tifo

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Tifo

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Ultras Monaco

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Premieres

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Pano

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Pano

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Pano