Combining travel with football for EURO 2016

View from Tour Montparnasse, Paris, France

It’s an exciting year for football fans – especially those based in Europe. With Euro 2016 taking place in France in the summer, there’s never been a better excuse to visit the country and combine business (footie) with pleasure. Make it more fun – and potentially profitable – by taking a punt on your favourite team with William Hill football betting.


England v Wales, June 16

Lens may not be the prettiest town in northern France, but it is one in which tourists are rare and thus greeted with enthusiasm. It is also home to a branch of the Louvre which as well as hosting superb works of art is an amazing building in itself.

For a pre or post-match tipple head for the Irish Tavern. Great food can be had at L’Huîtrière, a famous fish shop dating from 1882.


England v Slovakia, June 20

The capital of the Loire region is not going to win any prizes for beauty although St-Etienne does have its share of architectural gems like the Saint Marie church. Look beyond the city for some dramatic mountainous landscapes but it does have a few fine parks of its own too.

The wonderfully-named Smoking Dog is your go-to place for a beer and the city has a few Michelin starred restaurants if you are looking to push the boat out.


Russia v Wales, June 20

Toulouse has plenty to enjoy – from its centrepiece, the huge Place du Capitole, to the St Sernin basilica, the Musée des Augustins and its bars and cafes along the Garonne river.

You won’t have a problem finding a place to drink around Place St Pierre and Place St George is the area for a more upmarket tipple.


Wales v Slovakia, June 11
Belgium v Ireland, June 18

Bordeaux achieved Unesco World Heritage Site status in 2007. It was a well-deserved award – the city is both beautiful and historic – and then there’s that wine, too…

Celebrity chefs work at trendy eateries and design hotels offer rooms with style.

You’ll be spoilt for choice at night, too. Kick off your celebration/commiseration in medieval St Pierre. If you want more, head to the Quai de Paludate where you’ll find late bars catering to the traders at the wholesale meat market. If you are still up for it, make for Bassins-à-Flots for seriously late-night revelry.


Italy v Ireland, June 22

Despite its size, Lille is a laid-back place. It’s also beautiful – full of buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries showcasing its Flemish roots it is a lovely town for wandering aimlessly.

Lively bars popular with students can be found around Rue Solférino; a more sophisticated scene can be enjoyed around rues Barre, Bouchers, Basse and Royale.


England v Russia, June 11

Marseille is a multicultural melting-pot as well as France’s second city and main port. The city’s time as a European capital of culture in 2013 helped liven the old girl up and there are more than enough art galleries, designer hotels, chic restaurants and stores to keep you occupied.

Head for central Marseille for a post-match drink – the best bars are found near the Vieux Port, with those near the beach at the Escale Borély attracting a younger crowd.


Ukraine v Northern Ireland, June 16

Lyon has changed for the better in recent years, opening up its riverside areas and creating pretty promenades. A, exciting new district has emerged where the Rhône and Saône meet, known as the Confluence. The Alps are not far away either, making a great day trip when no football is taking place.

Wine lovers should head for La Cave des Voyageurs.


Poland v Northern Ireland, June 12

Nice is perhaps the most interesting city on this list – unless you’ve never been to Paris, that is.

Both glamorous and beautiful, the capital of the Côte d’Azur boasts more than a stunning bayside setting. The Promenade du Paillon, inaugurated in 2013, consists of 30 acres of park running from the city centre to the sea and is a wonderful addition to the city.

The Old Town (Vieux Nice) is the place to be for a drink in the evening. All tastes are catered for, from grimy pub to sophisticated cocktail bar. The Promenade des Anglais is quieter but no less appealing – so take your pick.


Eiffel Tower

Northern Ireland v Germany, June 21
Ireland v Sweden, June 13

Paris needs your support more than ever after an awful 2015, but it deserves a visit for at least a hundred other reasons. Sometimes feeling more like a collection of villages than one city, and more often than not like a film set, the City of Lights is indeed a magical place.

You may be surprised at the variety of nightlife to be enjoyed in the French capital but the fact that you can eat well is not going to come as a shock. You are going to love it.