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A Rugby Lover’s Guide to the Best of France

The 2023 Rugby World Cup is kicking off on September 8th, hosted by nine cities across the rugby-loving nation of France. The tenth men’s Rugby World Cup will see 20 teams battle to be crowned World Champions on the 28th of October.

If you’re planning to catch some of the matches across France and wish to do some exploring at the same time, we’ve put together a guide to each host city to help you plan a great trip itinerary.

Download our France 2023 Rugby World Cup Pocket Guide

We've also put together a very handy pocket guide that will give you quick information on the matches, teams, and locations, plus a few tips for those travelling to see a match.

2023 Rugby World Cup Host Cities

Saint Denis Paris

Saint-Denis (Paris)

The opening game and Final will take place at the Stade de France, the nation’s largest stadium, in the Parisian suburb of Saint-Denis.

The city of love has no end to its list of incredible attractions, the only challenge will be fitting them all into your trip! From art galleries including the Louvre, to the gothic Notre Dame cathedral, the city is bursting at the seams with rich culture and history.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a trip to Paris without visiting the Eiffel Tower but if you have time, we recommend venturing outside of Paris to the Palace of Versailles where you’ll find incredible art, architecture and royal history.

Saint Etienne


The base city for the Wallabies, and host to two of the Aussie team’s matches, Saint-Étienne is located about an hour's drive from Lyon. Having transformed itself into a creative arts hub, the city has earned itself the UNESCO City of Design label. Everywhere you go, you’ll find quirky, vibrant and modern architecture, with many former industrial sites now used as art spaces. One example of this is the Cité du Design, with the former weapon factory now home to several design exhibitions.


Villeneuve-d'Ascq (Lille)

Located in the north of France, this suburb of Lille will hold one of the host nation’s matches against Uruguay. Lille’s heritage is evident through its 17th-century buildings, cobblestone streets, and intimate courtyards. With a bustling gastronomic scene and dozens of microbreweries to explore, you won’t want to miss the highly-recommended Le Capsule. Other attractions include the old stock exchange building (La Vieille Bourse), the Grand Place, and the Town Hall Belfry.



Also known as La Ville Rose (the pink city) due to the terracotta bricks used in many of its buildings, Toulouse features a vibrant music scene within a stunning old town. Fascinatingly, the city is home to Europe’s largest space centre. Top attractions in Toulouse include the Place du Capitole, the Basilica of Saint-Sernin, and by night, the stunning Garonne River.



One of France’s most gorgeous cities, Nice is situated on the Côte d'Azur (the French Riviera). The colourful and lively city has plentiful options for drinking, dining and shopping, but if lounging by the beach is more your thing, the pebbly shores of Nice are perfect for just that. Visit the Promenade des Anglais, Opera Beach or Villefranche-sur-Mer for sapphire-blue waters and glorious Mediterranean sunshine.



France’s second biggest city features grand metropolitan allure with pockets of natural Mediterranean beauty and mouthwatering food options. For the city’s best architecture, we recommend exploring the Roman Ruins at the Museum of the Roman Docks near the Old Port, or venturing outside the city to the Pont du Gard Roman aqueduct, the Théâtre d’Orange Roman amphitheatre in Orange and the Roman Arena in Arles.

For dinner, you can indulge in bouillabaisse and an aperitif at one of the many waterfront restaurants and enjoy the sunset against the mountainous backdrop. Alternatively, you can watch the sunset from the top of the Notre Dame de la Garde Cathedral, boasting panoramic views of the entire city.



For lovers of fine wine, delectable food and impressive architecture, Bordeaux has it all! Wander through the vibrant streets, following your nose to one of the many wine bars or let your stomach lead the way to one of the city’s enticing restaurants.

Most of Bordeaux can be explored by foot, and the UNESCO Bordeaux Heritage trail gives you the best of Bordeaux in under 5km. From monuments, to museums and town squares, you’ll find there’s plenty to do in Bordeaux aside from drinking the local wines.


Décines-Charpieu (Lyon)

While Lyon is famous for its 2000-year history and impressive architecture, its foodie-scene is what keeps people coming back. The old town will give you the best of both worlds as every second historic building houses an authentic Lyonnais eatery. After indulging in some local cuisine, why not try uncovering some of Lyon’s secret passageways, the 'traboules'! You will spot them marked by a bronze shield in the old town and a lion's head in Croix-Rousse.



Nantes is a sprawling city that straddles the border between Brittany and the Loire. The city will amaze you with elegant buildings, spectacular countryside, and rich history through its Cathedrale de Saint-Pierre et Saint-Paul and Château des Ducs de Bretagne. Our top pick for Nantes though has to be the Les Machines de l’île - an incredible theme park paying homage to the city’s industrial city with giant mechanical animals that have to be seen to be believed.

Getting Around France

By Train

The most convenient and efficient way of travelling between the host cities is by train. France’s extensive railway network makes travelling between major towns and cities simple. You can plan your trip and book tickets in advance using the French Railways (SNCF) website.

By Car

If you’re planning to explore outside of the host cities, then hiring a car may be a more cost-effective option for you. You can hire a car in all major cities and airports but remember that rural areas can be tricky to navigate due to narrow roads and a general lack of signage. To drive in France you will need both an International Driving Permit (IDP) and a valid Australian licence.

Travel Smart with the Travelex Money Card

If you’re heading to France for the Rugby World Cup, Travelex can help you make your trip a breeze. You can load Euros directly onto your Travelex Money Card, and easily manage and check your balance using the Travelex Travel Money app.

You can also order your Euros in cash online and collect them at your nearest Travelex store or at your local Australia Post office before you leave.