Monday, July 11, 2016

Traveling: Euro Cup in Fan Zone Under the Eiffel Tower

My family are big soccer fans and are excited to be in France during the Euro Cup. The final game was Portugal v. France. As you can imagine, this was a big game, so we decided to join the throngs of soccer fanatics and head to the fan zone that was set-up at the Eiffel Tour. We were told that as many as 100,000 people were expected. I think that it was many more.

The line to get in snaked through the neighborhoods surrounding the tour. My brother-in-law did a smooth move and we cut in pretty close to the front. But the bottleneck was the worst that I have ever seen with a big crowd. Soldiers stood along a defense line and were the first checkpoint to enter. In total, we were pat down 3 times and our bags were searched pretty thoroughly as many times. The security was necessary. Their presence is omnipresent here in the wake of recent terrorist attacks.

Once inside, it was a huge soccer party. A couple of us hit the beer line and stood in line for an hour and a half! It was hot, crushing, and the most unorganized selling of beer that I have ever seen. Three girls waited the counter where hundreds of fans lined up to buy. I thought that I was going to faint. But we got some beer. My nephew and I had made the pact that if we did get the beer that one of them would be ours to chug. I never had a beer taste so good!

For all of the people there, I had expected more chants and cheers, but it was a relatively tame crowd. It was a tense game, and it wasn't until overtime that Potugal kicked the winning goal. A couple  rooting for Portugal stood right in front of us and they were cute smooching the victory in a crowd of French fans. And the French fans were pretty cool, until we got outside. Fans were throwing bottles into the street and sirens became the majorative sound across the city. We headed straight back to hotel. We were hungry, but all of the cafes had battened down the hatches. Either way, the fans were going to command the streets of Paris on this night.

No comments:

Post a Comment