Saturday, July 20, 2024

How to get to Paris Olympic hockey venue Yves-du-Manoir Stadium, what to do in Colombes, where to eat, stadium facts 

Are you spending time in Colombes or near the Olympic hockey venue? Here’s our guide to what to do and facts on the venerable revamped stadium

How to get to the Olympic hockey venue: Stades Yves-du-Manoir

The Yves-du-Manoir Stadium is served by Le Stade station (train line J from the Gare Saint-Lazare in central Paris). Direction Ermont Eaubonne, then it’s a 15-20 min walk to reach the venue. Trains run every 15 minutes but this could change around the Olympics.

Situated in the Hauts-de-Seine Department (92), about six miles north west of the Eiffel Tower or a two-hour walk from the Arc de Triomphe, Games venues located nearby include La Défense Arena, Stade de France or the Olympic Aquatics Centre. For Colombes parking/drop-off zone: 50 Rue de la reine Henriette – 92700 Colombes.

What they say about Colombes

A multicultural hub, Colombes is the largest residential city in the inner Parisian suburbs. Politico says Colombes is a “diverse town of 80,000 — home to both well-off young professionals and multi-racial, poorer communities.”

Meanwhile, The Telegraph writes that the hockey venue is “set in the utterly delightful – if ever so slightly dull – suburb of Colombes (strong Richmond-upon-Thames vibes)”. 

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There is also a feeling that Colombes is becoming more gentrified, buildings are being spruced up and more young professional families are moving to the area. Conversely, the industrial area hit the headlines last summer with three successive nights of riots – following the fatal shooting of a teen – and the mayor forced to declare a night curfew.

Where to eat and drink

Local Bear – A 20-minute walk from the venue, it is run by two brothers, Cameron and Brett, from Virginia. “It serves the finest burgers in France, and also has a Star Wars-themed wine bar next door,” says The Telegraph.

Closer to the stadium, in fact opposite, café La Belle Époque is decked out in black-and-white images of French film stars. “The friendly owner,” says Libero guide (which also has a good tale on football club Racing Club de France, which will return to the stadium post Olympics), “still harks after the days when rugby fans from the UK and Ireland would spend their nights carousing there after the game.”

Research does suggest that decent restaurants – and generally things to do – are at a premium but then again it’s not Paris if you can’t stumble across a leafy wine bar on your way to the venue. Try Tripadvisor for most recommended places in Colombes.

For pre and apres hockey, nearby chic hotel the Kopster and the courtyard at the Marriott should cater for your needs. Or there is solidarity food truck Rouge Basilic, which operates from two venues in Colombes.

The venue: Yves-du-Manoir Stadium

The Olympic hockey competition will start on July 27 and run through until August 10.

History abounds at the Yves-du-Manoir Stadium, a former racetrack and internment camp during WWII. The only venue for the 2024 Games which was also used, 100 years later,  for the 1924 Paris Olympics, it hosted the opening ceremony, athletics, cycling, equestrian, gymnastics, tennis, football, rugby and modern pentathlon events.

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After nearly two years of construction, costing around 101 million euros (90% of which was financed by the Department of Hauts-de-Seine), three hockey astros were built, one for training, the second with a 1,000-seat stand, while the old stand on the main pitch (which was once part of a 6,000 seater-stadium) has been since updated. The roof on the revamped old stand will not only protect fans from the weather but will also play a part with a heighened vocal atmosphere.

When stade Parc des Princes opened in 1972, it signalled a slow decline while three of the four stands were knocked down at the end of last century. But hockey hosting has given a new lease of life and temporary stands will see a capacity of around 15,000.

Scenery by the Seine

Time to explore during matches? Parc Pierre Lagravère has been a popular, bustling walking spot since the 19th century. It offers 5kms of paths and is part of the Blue Promenade along the Seine.

You join the Promenade Bleue from Rueil-Malmaison to Colombes, which pays homage to the Impressionists who painted river scenes along here. Go by foot or bike.

Facts about Yves-du-Manoir Stadium

The stadium is named after aristocratic French rugby player Yves du Manor, who died in a plane crash in 1928, aged only 23.

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This will be the only 2024 Paris Olympic venue to be hosting the Games for a second time. 

Yves-du-Manoir hosted the 1938 World Cup football final – where Italy beat Hungary – and had its capacity expanded to 60,000 after the end of World War II.

A record stadium attendance was ushered in on March 5, 1969, with 63,638 spectators for the European Cup match between Ajax and Benfica.

It has also hosted 42 French Cup finals between 1924 and 1971.

The multi-sport theme has legs. This was also the home of French pole vaulting, which garnered two medals at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

Yves on film… nearly

During the 2024 Olympics, the venue was the scene of the great sprint rival races with GB athletes Harold Abrahams and Eric Liddell, portrayed in the 1981 film Chariots of Fire. Abrahams’ greatest victory left American silver medalist, Jackson Scholz, to later recall what he remembered of the race to which he replied, “I remember his ass.”

The movie budget meant no location shoots at the actual venue, which were instead shot at a leisure centre track near Liverpool. Yves-du-Manoir is also where the fictional events of Escape to Victory occurred.

Olympic legacy

Following Paris 2024, the French Hockey Federation will establish a permanent presence at the stadium. The whole complex has four football pitches, three rugby pitches with a changing room building and a 300-seat grandstand.

Map of Paris 2024 Olympic venues

Click to enlarge

READ MORE: Paris 2024 Olympics: Hockey schedule, match fixtures
Our full Olympic coverage of 2024 Games

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