Eurostar will welcome thousands of rugby fans this weekend, as they make their way to the Stade de France in Paris for the France vs. Scotland rugby match, the first meeting for both teams in the RBS 6 Nations Rugby Tournament.
The number of passengers travelling with Eurostar from London to Paris is up 5% on Friday 4 February and up 9% on Sunday 6 February compared to the same weekend in 2010, when there was no tournament match.
The increase in passengers is due not only to the hundreds of Scottish and French fans based in the South East of England, but also the supporters that will be travelling by connecting trains from all over the UK and especially from Glasgow and Edinburgh.
As the Scottish fans descend on Paris, the congenial rivalries are expected to continue through the weekend and especially from the moment the final whistle blows on Saturday evening.
One place that is expected to be particularly busy is the Scottish pub ‘The Pure Malt’ in Parisian district of Le Marais. Scottish owner and landlord Colin Shepherd is looking forward to the weekend:
“Paris Rugby fans anticipate the arrival of Scottish fans more than those of any other nation. If all Americans secretly want to be Irish then, after 10 years living in Paris, I think all French secretly want to be Scottish.
“There seems to be a genuine affection between the two nations dating back to the Auld Alliance treaty of 1295. The Bretons for example are extremely proud of their heritage and there will be many Bretons in kilts in Paris on that weekend. The fans mix very well and I’m very much looking forward to one big, happy three day party.”
Mary Walsh, Director of Communications for Eurostar said:
“With Kings Cross and Euston stations on the doorstep of St Pancras International, it is particularly easy to connect to Eurostar from Scotland and we’re expecting a Scottish invasion. Many of our rugby loving travellers tell us their Eurostar journey is a great opportunity to soak up the carnival mood before the match and to celebrate old friendships and sporting rivalries.”
The France vs. Scotland match kicks off at the Stade de France at 18h00 (CET) 17h00 (GMT).