The new season for the TOP 5 European leagues starts... today! On Friday, August 5, the top-level matches in England, Germany and France will kick off. It is this latter competition, and in fact its stadiums, that we will be taking an in-depth look at in this article.
The end of last Ligue 1 season surprised even the most seasoned observers of French football. After 38 gameweeks, Bordeaux were sensationally relegated from the league, while 10-time national champion Saint-Etienne shared the fate of 'Les Girondins' by losing the Ligue 1 play-offs to Auxerre. This means that we will no longer see Matmut Atlantique (Bordeaux) and Stade Geoffroy-Guichard (Saint-Etienne), as well as the smaller Stade Saint Symphorien (Metz), at the top level of the competition.
In the previous Ligue 2 season, Ajaccio, whose Stade François-Coty is now the smallest in the elite, achieved promotion to the top flight. The situation is slightly better at the aforementioned Auxerre. Stade de l'Abbé Deschamps is, after all, bigger than, say, Stade Louis II in Monaco or Stade du Moustoir in Lorient. Second division champion Toulouse is definitely not ashamed of its arena. The venue of the newcomers, Stadium de Toulouse, after all is the eighth largest in the league.
Among the smallest arenas, the venue in Clermont in particular should be mentioned. Stade Gabriel Montpied is definitely not amidst the league leaders. Indeed, it is second from last in terms of capacity. The stadiums of Brest (Stade Francis-Le Blé) and Angers (Stade Raymond Kopa) are also not too large. The former, however, are dreaming of a new facility, while the stadium in the Pays de la Loire is currently undergoing renovation.
The 20,000-seater cluster opens with Stade de l'Aube in Troyes, Stade Auguste-Delaune in Reims and Stade de la Mosson in Montpellier, occupying places in the middle of the table in terms of capacity. In the TOP 10 of the ranking, there is a spot for Stade de la Meinau (RC Strasbourg) and Roazhon Park (Stade Rennais), but neither of them boast a capacity of 30 000 seats.
French Cup winner Nantes, with its 35,000-seater Stade de la Beaujoire, is 7th, narrowly losing the competition to the modern Allianz Riviera located on the azure coast of Nice. There could be no surprises in the TOP 5. Well, unless we are just talking about the 5th place. Stade Bollaert-Delelis in Lens still remembers the 1930s, but is nevertheless still one of the country's top venues in terms of capacity.
Just behind the podium, surprisingly, came Paris' Parc des Princes. PSG's home venue is often confused with Stade de France, where the French national team plays. The stadium, located in Saint-Denis, with more than 81,000 seats, would come in 1st place in this ranking, almost 14,000 seats ahead of Orange Velodrome in Marseille.
The podium has been completed by the stadiums built for EURO 2016 in France - Stade Pierre Mauroy (50,083 seats, Lille) and Groupama Stadium (59,286, Olympique Lyon). An overview of all French Ligue 1 stadiums in the 2022/23 season is available on our YouTube channel: