After their sensational and well-deserved victory over Australia to win the 2003 Rugby World Cup, defending champions England head to France in 2007 hoping to retain the Webb Ellis trophy – a feat no country has achieved before. However, while England ended 2005 with a credible win over Australia and came close to overturning the seemingly unbeatable All Blacks, results in the topsy-turvy 2006 Six Nations Tournament could see a host of exciting young England prospects given the chance to stake their claim for a World Cup berth. So with some huge, yet mobile, forwards coming through the ranks to help give England a formidable platform once again - coupled with some dynamic young backs with the ability to create and use space - the flag of Saint George might still fly high again in France in 2007!
Lens was once one of the most important coal centres in France, and is famous for its University and Art Deco railway station in the shape of a steam train. Situated in the heart of the Artois in the Nord Pas-de-Calais region, Lens is a friendly, welcoming city with a great selection of bars and restaurants, and is close to some of World War One’s most important sites, including the Vimy Ridge Memorial. Modern attractions include the nearby Loisinord, the first year-round artificial ski resort in France. However, Lens’ most renowned landmark is perhaps the Stade Félix Bollaert, home to the football club Racing of Lens. The stadium, built in 1932, holds up to 41,800 people – about 4,000 more than the current population of Lens.
Brittany’s largest town, Nantes is the capital of the beautiful Pays-de-la-Loire region. Located on the largest of three islands in the Loire and near the Atlantic coast, it is blessed with excellent museums, golden beaches, many terrific seafood restaurants and fine wines including Muscadet, the perfect partner for sea-fresh oysters. It’s also a certified party town, as you’ll discover in the pubs and cafés along the place du Bouffay, place du Pilori and rue Kervagen. There’s a terrific live music scene in Nantes, covering everything from blues and jazz to rock and metal, as well as nightclubs running the gamut from vintage 1970s disco to the latest techno. Nantes’ intimate La Beaujoire Stadium, built in 1984 and renovated in 1998 to seat up to 38,285 spectators, is located in a peaceful suburban area with a few drinking spots outside.
Paris, The City of Light, has a very special atmosphere all of its own, and the constant capacity to surprise and delight even the most well-travelled of visitors. Discover for yourself elegant parks, quaint fountains and tree-lined boulevards; sample the cafés and restaurants along the splendid Champs Elysées; follow the sound of jazz music to the lively Latin Quarter; or wander through the cobbled streets of old Montmartre. Throughout Paris you’ll find excellent restaurants, relaxing bars and a colourful nightlife, as well as world famous attractions such as the mighty Eiffel Tower, majestic Notre Dame, the Arc de Triomphe, and La Place de la Concorde – Paris's largest square. Situated on the former hunting grounds of French princes and holding up to 50,000 spectators, the Parc de Princes was the home of French international rugby until 1997 and remains one of the world’s best-loved stadiums.