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Official Review by Gary Foxall, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
If you wish to visit the historic Stade Chaban-Delmas home of French Ligue 1 club Girondins de Bordeaux, then get there fast. The club will be playing their last home game of the 2014-2015 season on the 29th May at their new stadium located in Bordeaux Lac. The new development is one of France's new builds in readiness of hosting the European Championships in 2016.
Bordeaux’s current home, Stade Chaban-Delmas, was opened in 1930 originally as a cycle racing track and was first reconfigured in 1938 for the FIFA World Cup when France were hosts. The stadium was the first in the world to have covered stands without supporting pillars and some parts of the stadium are classed as listed buildings.
Although the cycle track no longer exists, the curved ends behind each goal are indications of its existence.The stadium undertook further redevelopment as a host venue for the 1998 FIFA World Cup. The current capacity is 34,462 which is all seated.
The stadium’s record attendance was set in 1985 when 40,211 watched Girondins play Juventus. The stadium also hosted games during the 2007 Rugby World Cup and occasionally hosts the bigger games of Union Bordeaux Begles, the city's Rugby Union team.
The tunnel connecting the locker rooms to the playing area is the longest in Europe measuring one hundred and twenty metres.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
For a stadium that has hosted major tournaments, you would expect more from the food offerings. The stadium's food outlets under the stands offers sandwiches, hot dogs and crisps, along with the normal range of hot and cold drinks including French beer. If you're hungry, then it is best eat outside the stadium where the various food stalls sell sausage in French bread and fries for a reasonable 6 Euros.
Girondins Ultras in the Tribune Sud generate most of the match day singing and chanting. Because the roof does not cover the lower parts of the stadium the atmosphere is not as intense as some of Europe's other major stadiums. Also, as crowds average around 15,000, parts of the stadium are quiet and lack atmosphere completely. However, ensure that you walk around the stadium both inside and outside as the various statues and the stadium's famous arches must be seen. Stade Chaban-Delmas is very much reminiscent of the Olympic Stadium in Stockholm, and is certainly one that will be missed on the football circuit.
Bordeaux sits in the heart of France's wine-making industry. The city is easily accessible and can be explored on foot. The Cathedral located in the old town is worth visiting, whilst high street shopping can be found a five minute walk away.
Bars and cafes are plentiful and many are located on the riverfront. There are one or two bars located in the vicinity of the stadium with a lot of supporters taking pre match food and drink in the Le Rond Point bar next to the main entrance. The Le Two Much bar just around the corner is also popular. At the opposite end of the stadium is a McDonalds for your fast food option. Plenty of hotels suiting all budgets are available. I stayed in the Hotel Campanile which is located two minutes walk from the Gare St Jean and can be recommended.
Girondins de Bordeaux are one of France's most successful soccer clubs, having won the league title on six occasions and the Coupe de France four times. The club has appeared in European competition on many occasions and were UEFA Cup Runners Up in 1995/96.
Average crowds are high compared to other French clubs. Main rivals are Nantes and Toulouse, but it's games against Lyon, Marseille and PSG that are the main attractions.
The stadium is located just outside the city centre in the direction of Merignac and heading towards the airport. A tram stop directly outside with the stadium's name is the best way to travel to the game.
Street car parking can be found if arriving early. Directly from the airport you can take the shuttle bus to the centre costing 15 Euros return. However, a much cheaper option from the airport is taking Bus 1 to Merignac Centre and then join Tram A to the centre which passes the stadium. A 50 cent ticket each way will suffice. Purchase the ticket from the driver or machine and use within one hour of the ticket being validated. Beware of inspectors if you don't buy a ticket. The city is well served by trains from all over France to Gare St Jean.
Games rarely sell out, although the final game at the stadium in May might well do. Ticket prices range from 15 Euro to 40 Euro. I sat in the Tribune Honneur where a wing seat cost 33 Euro. However seats near the front are not covered and are wet when the rain falls. You can easily move back if the ground is not full.
Tickets can be purchased on the day or via the clubs website. Visiting the stadium for a one off is worth the money, and views from wherever you sit offer good sight lines. The stadium is a gem, but completely outdated in this day and age and the move to a new stadium will benefit the club and city.
There is a club shop located opposite the nearby McDonalds in addition to the one in the city centre. Equally, there are well stocked outlets within the stadium.
Match specific free programmes are available inside the stadium and the club also produces a monthly magazine which is on sale in the club shop.
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1 Avenue du Parc de Lescure
Bordeaux, France 33000
+33 5 56 98 57 85
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6-8 Rue Charles Domercq
Bordeaux, France 33000
+33 5 56 02 00 02