French opt for Evry Centre-Essonne
France will soon be playing Test matches at a new 82,000-seater stadium in Evry Centre-Essonne.
The French rugby federation (FFR) has opted for Evry Centre-Essonne, 25km south of Paris, as the new site for a dedicated 82,000-seater stadium from 2017 despite questions over financing.
Evry's bid, led by former mayor and now-Interior Minister Manuel Valls, beat off that of Thiais-Orly, situated just one kilometre from Paris' second airport at Orly.
The chosen site is spread over 133 hectares (1.33 square kilometres) including the disused Ris-Orangis hippodrome, and urban planning for the area surrounding the stadium includes the development of entertainment, leisure and sporting interests.
"It conforms to what we want," federation president Pierre Camou told a press conference on Friday.
"One of the most modern stadiums in the world: pitch, roof, multi-functional, with exceptional comfort levels for spectators."
Camou added that the new stadium, which will cost €600 million and hopefully be completed in 2017, would be erected in a place where there was already a population centre, unlike the Stade de France in its rather bleak northern Paris site.
The federation's headquarters will, however, remain at Marcoussis 20km west of Evry, along with the National Centre of Rugby, the FFR's centre of excellence where the France team gathers before home internationals.
The French national team played previously at the Parc des Princes before moving in 1997 to the Stade de France, which hosts its home Six Nations matches. Other cities to have hosted home internationals include Lyon, Marseille, Nantes, Sochaux and Toulouse.