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Where does the France national team play?

The France national team is currently enjoying something of a golden age. Spurred on by the likes of Kylian Mbappé and Antoine Griezmann, Didier Deschamps’ side won the World Cup in 2018 and went within inches of defending their title in 2022.

They, like any other successful international team, have played matches all over the world. But where do they play when they are at home? Read on to find out.

The Stade de France interior
The Stade de France is the biggest stadium in France. Photo by Icon Sport

Stade de France

The France national team play their home games at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, just outside of Paris. With a capacity of 81,338, it is the largest stadium in France.

The stadium was built for the 1998 World Cup, with construction having began on 2 May 1995 and the ground having been formally opened on 28 January 1998.

It cost €364 million to build, and was named by Michel Platini, who was the head of the World Cup organising committee.

The Stade de France is also the home of the French national rugby side – it is one of only two stadiums in the world to have World Cup finals for both football and rugby (the other being Nissan Stadium in Yokohama, Japan).

It also has an athletics track, which is usually almost completely covered by the pitch when football matches are played. 

Most iconic France matches at the Stade de France

Despite being a relatively new stadium, the Stade de France has hosted its fair share of iconic matches involving the France national team.

The first came straight away in an international friendly to inaugurate the ground. On 28 January 1998, Zinedine Zidane scored the only goal of the game as France beat Spain 1-0. What the game might have lacked in action, it certainly made up for in spectacle as 78,836 watched the first event held at the new stadium.

France’s first World Cup game at the stadium was also a historic moment. Unlike nowadays, the first game at World Cup 1998 did not feature the hosts, and so France had to wait until their second game in Group C to play a World Cup fixture at their new stadium. It was worth the wait, though, as goals from Thierry Henry, David Trezeguet and Bixente Lizarazu helped Les Bleus to a 4-0 victory over Saudi Arabia.

No doubt the most iconic match in the stadium’s history is the 1998 World Cup final, in which France romped to a 3-0 win over holders Brazil. Two Zidane headers and a stoppage-time clincher from Emmanuel Petit were more than enough to make France world champions for the very first time.

That was not the only final that France have played at the Stade de France, although they might not want to remember the other one. It came at Euro 2016, when an extra time winner from Eder gave Portugal a 1-0 win over Les Bleus. It was Portugal’s first and, to-date, only ever major tournament title.

Where else has the France national team played?

Up until 1972, the France national team used to alternate between the Parc des Princes in Paris and the Stade Olympique Yves-du-Manoir in Colombes, a Parisian suburb.

They also played a few matches at other notable French stadiums, such as the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille and the Stade de Gerland in Lyon.

In 1972, the Parc des Princes was renovated and became the largest stadium in Paris, motivating the national team to move there permanently.

They played there for more than 25 years, before the Stade de France was built ahead of the 1998 World Cup.

Jamie Barton

A freelance football writer and podcaster, Jamie has appeared on/in the BBC World Service, PA Media, Charlton Athletic FC and Empire of the Kop, among others. He's attended matches all around the world, from Tranmere to Tokyo, and once had his bus home from the 2022 Champions League final in Paris delayed by 28 hours.

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