UPDATE: Paris fanzone for Champions League final: What Liverpool fans need to know

Authorities in Paris are setting up a fanzone to allow the tens of thousands of Liverpool fans set to descend on Paris for the Champions League final to congregate in one place. Here's what you need to know.

UPDATE: Paris fanzone for Champions League final: What Liverpool fans need to know
Liverpool supporters light flares at a fan zone in Madrid on June 1, 2019 before the UEFA Champions League final football match between Liverpool and Tottenham. (Photo by CURTO DE LA TORRE / AFP)

Paris is readying a massive fanzone in the east of the city for thousands of Liverpool football fans who are expected in the city for the Champions League final against Real Madrid on Saturday May 28th.

Some 50,000 to 60,000 supporters of the Premier League team are expected in Paris and given Uefa has only given the club around 20,000 tickets for the final, thousands of fans will be in the French capital just for the atmosphere.

Which explains why authorities and the French Football Association (FFF) have agreed to set up a fanzone for the fans. 

Where will the fanzone be?

The reception area on the Cours de Vincennes, a wide avenue near Place de la Nation in the south east of the city. It will of course be closed to traffic and surrounded by perimeter fencing. 

Below shows a picture of the avenue during a protest by French farmers. 

Farmers steering tractors take part in a national demonstration on the Cours de Vincennes avenue near Place de la Nation in Paris, on September 3, 2015. AFP PHOTO THOMAS SAMSON (Photo by THOMAS SAMSON / AFP)

The fanzone will be set up between the Boulevards de Picpus and Charonne and la rue des Pyrénées. See map below.

How do I get to the fanzone?

Paris is not a huge city so you could walk there if you are staying in central or eastern Paris.

Otherwise it’s public transport. The easiest way would be to get to Nation Metro stop which is on lines 1, 2,6 and 9. It’s also on the RER A trainline which runs through central Paris.

What time will it be open from?

According to Paris City Hall the fanzone will be open from 2pm and will remain open “until the end of the match”

Will the final be shown on big screens?

This is the big question everyone is asking.

Neither the authorities in Paris, the police nor Uefa have officially confirmed whether or not the match will be shown live. When asked by The Local the police told us they would make an announcement towards the end of the week and that for the moment they would not confirm anything. But they hinted the plan was to show the match.

They have previously confirmed there will be giant screens in the fanzone and that the zone will stay open “until the end of the match” so it’s likely they are simply avoiding announcing anything yet so as not to encourage more fans to come to Paris without tickets.

We’ll update this page as soon as we get it confirmed that match will be shown live on big screens. Certain French news sites are already suggesting this is the case.

However it’s worth remembering that when the final was in Madrid it was not shown live in the fanzone, which left thousands of ticketless fans desperately trying to find a bar to watch it.

There are of course scores or bars and pubs across Paris if they decide not to broadcast the match.

Will I need a ticket to enter the fanzone?

All fans will be free to enter the fanzone although they should expect tight security checks to get in including bag searches. There will no doubt be a big police presence in and around the site. Police will confiscate any pyrotechnics as well as alcohol.

Will I be able to buy a drink?

Authorities have said there will be places to buy food and drink within the fanzone. However expect queues.

Will there be other entertainment?

As expected the people behind the Boss Night in Liverpool will be playing live on stage during the afternoon.

How do I get to the Stade de France from the fanzone?

Fans needing to get to the stadium will have to take public transport across the city using either the Metro or RER trains.
The easiest route may be to get to Gare de Lyon via the Metro (or walk) and then take the RER D north to the Stade de France (Direction Creil). Line 13 and the RER B also serve the Stade de France. 
UPDATE: Transport unions in Paris have called for strike action on Saturday as part of an ongoing dispute with the Paris transport authority over staffing numbers and working conditions. The strike looks set to impact RER B and RER A although it’s likely trains will still be running. We’ll know more by Friday. Give yourself plenty of time to get to the ground. More info on strikes and travel HERE.

Will I be able to get a beer inside the Stade de France?

Yes, the stadium gates will open at 6pm as will the bars inside the stadium. However outside the stadium drinking and buying alcohol will only be allowed up until 6pm. Paris police are encouraging those with tickets to get into the ground in good time.

What about alternative places to the fan zone to watch the match?

Paris is not short of pubs, bars and cafes and squares, so it’s likely fans will congregate all over the city.

There are scores of British/Irish/Scottish/North American themed or genuine pubs all over the city. Certain parts of town like Grands Boulevards, Place de Clichy, St Michel and Rue St Denis around Châtelet have several big pubs grouped together which will likely be focal points.  

There is the Kop Bar in the 18th and the Lush bar in the 17th which are known venues for Liverpool fans but they will likely be packed. Ticketless fans shouldn’t have too much of a problem finding somewhere that will show the game however. The smaller more local bars might be a good shout if the pubs are overflowing. The game is being shown on terrestrial TV in France (TF1) so any bar with a TV should be able to show it.

There is a list of pubs doing the rounds online including venues such as the Bombardier, Belushis, the Harp and the Coq and Bulldog but there are many more across the city.

There are lots of bars opposite Gare du Nord station but pints can be expensive and not many have TV screens.

Pubs like Corcorans by Metro Grands Boulevards (Boulevard Poissonniere / Boulevard Montmartre) have plenty of screens. Also search for O’Sullivans and Cafe Oz which are big pubs around the city with lots of screens.

And a good spot is also Patrick’s – Le Ballon Vert Irish pub at Metro Faidherbe-Chaligny (line 8) There are lots of TV screens.


And finally… the weather?

One thing that could ruin a fanzone is torrential rain but thankfully the weather in Paris on Saturday looks favourable.

According to forecasters Météo France it will be sunny all afternoon and evening on Saturday with temperates hitting 19C to 20C.

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Paris police chief accepts Champions League final ‘failure’ as CCTV images deleted

The head of Paris police acknowledged on Thursday a "failure" around Champions League final and admitted his claim of up to 40,000 Liverpool fans without valid tickets may have been a mistake. It also emerged CCTV images from the stadium were automatically deleted.

Paris police chief accepts Champions League final 'failure' as CCTV images deleted

“It is obviously a failure,” Didier Lallement told a commission investigating the fiasco at the French Senate. “It was a failure because people were pushed around and attacked. It’s a failure because the image of the country was tarnished.”

Lallement and Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin have been under severe pressure since the May 28 match after they initially blamed the chaos on as many as 40,000 Liverpool fans who massed at the stadium without tickets or with counterfeit tickets.

‘Perhaps I made a mistake with the figure’

That figure has been widely disputed since by witnesses and media using images from the ground, leading Lallement to face repeated questions from senators who grew frustrated at his responses.

“Perhaps I made a mistake with the figure I gave to the minister,” he said, saying he had based his estimate on the numbers of people using public transport and from feedback from officers on site. “I never claimed that it was absolutely accurate,” adding that “the figure was not based on scientific evidence”.

He admitted there were not 30,000 to 40,000 “at the gates of the stadium” but maintained that several thousands were “in the vicinity” of police checkpoints at the Stade de France to the north of the capital.

Many Liverpool supporters struggled to enter the stadium, leading to kick-off being delayed by more than half an hour and crushes at the entry gates, where police fired tear gas.

Fans also complained about bottlenecks leading to the stadium created by police deployments, but Lallement said the checkpoints were anti-terror measures “for a risk that is still real”.

The government’s initial decision to blame Liverpool fans for the problems caused tensions between France and Britain, while raising questions about the capacity of Paris to host the Rugby World Cup next year and the Olympic Games in 2024.

‘300 to 400 delinquents’

Lallement said he regretted having to authorise the use of tear gas to move supporters away from the stadium before the game, which affected mostly Liverpool fans including children and disabled people.

“I’m totally sorry on behalf of the police department, but there was unfortunately no other way,” he told senators, adding that the only other option was a baton-charge, which he ruled out as too dangerous.

“I would do the same thing again,” he said, saying that he believed his decisions had saved lives.

Asked about street crime outside the stadium, which many fans described as terrifying, Lallement estimated that there were 300 to 400 “delinquents” who robbed or physically assaulted people as they left the game, which Real Madrid won 1-0.

Deleted CCTV footage

Executives from the French Football Federation, which was responsible for organising the game, expressed their regrets for chaos they blamed on a strike on one of the train lines to the stadium, fake tickets and local gangs.

Speaking to senators, director general Florence Hardouin said 2,471 fake tickets had been detected at turnstiles — much higher than the average of around 300 for similar events in the past.

The federation also revealed that Stade de France CCTV footage from the ground had been automatically deleted — in line with French law that stipulates it must be destroyed within seven days unless it is subject to a warrant from judicial authorities.

The FFF’s Erwan Le Prevost told shocked senators that he had been watching the CCTV cameras all day at his post and described the images as “extremely violent”.

“We’re surprised,” the Senate commission’s co-president, Laurent Lafon, told AFP, adding that an investigation was opened the day after the game (to investigate the presence of fake tickets).

“There was plenty of time to request them (the images). We need to understand what happened.”

He said the debacle at the stadium appeared to be “an accumulation of dysfunctions” linked to a “lack of preparation.”

Senator François-Noël Buffet described the missing CCTV images as “a serious problem” and promised to investigate the reasons why no authority had demanded the CCTV images within 7 days.

Paris police then tweeted out a clarification insisting they still had images in their possession that were available to any judicial investigation and people “shouldn’t get confused between images from the police and those of a private operator.”

Liverpool fans were ‘scapegoats’

Steve Rotheram, the mayor of the Liverpool city region who was at the game, also testified to the Senate on Thursday, calling the issue of fake tickets a “red herring”.

“People’s memories will forever be tarred by the lack of organisation and heavy-handed policing, and then of course the way authorities tried to deflect blame and scapegoat Liverpool fans for their incompetence,” he told AFP before the hearing.

He was a victim of pickpockets before the game, losing his phone, ticket and cards as he made his way to the stadium.

He accused France’s Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin of trying to “cheat the French public but also world’s media” by presenting a false version of events at the stadium.

France offered to host the game after it was stripped from Saint Petersburg in Russia in February by the European football body UEFA, following Moscow’s invasion of neighbouring Ukraine.