Built by miners and home to RC Lens, Stade Bollaert-Delelis was originally constructed as an oval stadium in 1933 before it began to take its rather more British rectangular shape, with four separate stands, in the 1970s. Like many of the other tournament venues, Stade Bollaert-Delelis has undergone extensive refurbishment ahead of the tournament.
The stadium is named after two high profile figures from the town’s past – the mining magnate Félix Bollaert and former-commerce minister André Delelis. Although an all-seater stadium, fans housed in the Tony Marek stand often stand for domestic fixtures.
The ground is just under 2km northwest of Gare de Lens, and will probably take your around 20 minutes on foot from the town centre, following signposts along the way. Bus routes 13, 22 and 40 head north-west from the city towards the stadium, but none of them pass the stadium directly so the nearest stops (on rue de Béthune) would still be a 5 minute walk away – the main bus station is adjacent to the Gare de Lens in the city centre.
You may have noticed that Lens isn’t the most bustling of metropolises and the Stade Bollaert-Delelis is the only tournament stadium that could accommodate all of the town’s residents in its stadium with space to spare.
Each host city has committed to providing a Fan Zone where supporters are able to gather and watch the matches on big screens, for free. The size and scope of these vary from city to city, however, and while they will all be equipped with food and drink stalls and information from tournament sponsors, five-a-side pitches and the usual facilities, don’t assume that what applied in one city will apply in the next.
Some are open only for matches that are played in the host city itself, others for their own matches plus those of the French national team, while others will show every game.