What a great idea to book your European backpacking trip for the summer of 2016. You’ll be rolling into Amsterdam, eating pizza in Italy and enjoy some ‘joie de vivre’ when traveling France this summer.
But wait a minute. Wasn’t there a major thing with traveling France this summer? You try to remember what it was, but for the life of you, you can’t remember. Well, here are some tips to help you not be caught offside when traveling France this summer.
Traveling France this summer during UEFA Euro 2016
Ok, I get it. You don’t have a thing for sports. You actually don’t get soccer. But the truth is, it’s the biggest sport in Europe. And although we also like the World Cup Soccer and the Olympics, the Euro 2016 is really a big deal. And it’s in France this year!
Wait, does this mean you need to cancel your European summer 2016 travels? No not at all. But there is a lot going on and you should be aware of it, to prevent yourself being put offside when traveling France this summer.
Know the cities
France is a big country and there are soccer stadiums all over the place. Make sure you look at the map and see if there are any major matches going on in the cities you plan to visit. There are four in the north. Lille, Lens and two in Paris. In the middle we have the cities of Saint Étienne and Lyon. The South of France has venues in Bordeaux, Toulouse, Marseille and Nice. Check out this link for the dates and the venues. Competition starts on June 10th and the final will be played on July 10th in Paris.
Know the fan zones
In each city, there are designated fan zones. Here, fans can meet, watch the competitions on big screens and celebrate. Make sure you do not find yourself offside on those events. Either join the fun or stay away. Expect a lot of people, dressed in soccer outfits, drinking beer and shouting at the referee when they do not support a decision. If that’s not your cup of tea avoid these areas.
Make sure you know the rules for offside
In case you do want to join in the fun and watch a soccer match. Or just fancy going to one of the fan zones, make sure you know the rules for offside before you join in the conversation. Soccer is not a difficult sport. But there is always a lot of discussion going on whether or not the move was offside or not. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Expect to pay more than normal
France being a popular summer destination for many people, it’s not uncommon for prices to rise during July and August. With Euro 2016 ending on July 10th and the Tour de France starting on July 2th, expect prices for accommodation, transport and food to quadruple during the months of June and July. Although extra trains, busses and planes have been allocated, book as far in advance as possible. Last minute decisions might cost you your credit card limit.
Carry ID at all times
Make sure to carry your identification with you at all times. Don’t leave it in your hotel room when you go out or put it in your stowed luggage when boarding a bus, train or plane. You need to be able to quickly identify yourself at any moment. Throughout France, there will be random police controls. This might take up some of your precious travel time, but keep in mind; it is for your own safety.
Always make 2 copies of your passport. Carry one with you; store the other in a different place (not with the passport). If possible, e-mail a scanned version of your passport to yourself or store the digital scan on your (smart) phone.
Are you traveling France this summer? Did you take any precautions because of the Euro 2016 going on? Let me know.