Stade Velodrome: Olympique de Marseille

3 Boulevard Michelet, Marseille, 13008, France
By Challengeputeaux (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The Stade Velodrome has been the home to Olympique de Marseille since it first opened in 1937 and has been used in such competitions as the 1998 World Cup and the 2007 Rugby World Cup. It is a multipurpose stadium and as such occasionally hosts RC Toulon rugby games. The capacity of 67,394 makes it the largest club football stadium in France.

Marseille were founded in 1899 and have spent most of their time in the top flight of French football. They have won Ligue 1 nine times and hold the record for Coupe de France wins with ten victories. They are also the only French club to win the Champions League, something they achieved in 1993.

Stats

Stade Velodrome Stats
Year Opened1937
Capacity67,394
Average Attendance47,057
Record Attendance65,252 (Marseille v PSG (2017))
Pitch Size105 x 68 (7140)
OwnerCity of Marseille
SponsorOrange
Clubs HostedOlympique de Marseille, RC Toulon
First FixtureMarseille v Torino FC (13/06/1937)
Olympique de Marseille Stats
Year Founded1899
NicknameLes Phocéens, L'OM, Les Olympiens
RivalsPSG
Previous StadiumsStade de l'Huveaune
KitWhite & Light Blue (Home) / Sky Blue (Away) / Royal Purple (Third)
Training GroundCentre d'entraînement Robert Louis-Dreyfus
Shirt SponsorInter Sport
Team OwnerFrank McCourt
Record GoalscorerGunnar Andersson (194)
Record AppearancesRoger Scotti (451)

Stade Velodrome Photos

Stade Velodrome Seating Plan & Where to Sit

Panoramic before the new rood (2011) - By revjoy (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Like most stadiums in the modern era the Stade Velodrome is built in a bowl style. It still has four stands officially named Tribune Jean Bouin, Tribune Ganay, Virage Sud and Virage Nord, The North and South stands are the ones traditionally occupied by Marseille’s more hardcore fans, whilst away fans are normally housed between the Virage Nord and the Tribune Ganay in the lower tier. It is called the Zone de Visiteur by the club. There are three tiers to the stands, though the Nord and Sud stands look like one large concourse.

Olympique de Marseille Ticket Prices

Ticketing at Marseille has been a little bit confusing in the past, owing to the fact that the club had an arrangement to sell all of their season tickets to nine different supporters’ associations who were then responsible for selling the nearly 28,000 tickets to supporters. That changed ahead of the 2016-2017 season, with the club taking full control of the ticket sales.

Pricing is different depending on where in the ground you want to sit and what game it is that you’re hoping to see. Up until now the stands behind either goal have been reserved for season ticket holders, so the likelihood is that you’ll be looking at tickets in one of the side stands. Prices can range from about €20 to €55 for Ligue 1 matches but it will be higher for more high profile matches or matches in Europe.

How To Get Olympique de Marseille Tickets

As with most major football clubs, the best way to get tickets for Marseille is via the club’s official website. There is a ticket office at the stadium, of course, as well as one in the club’s official store in city centre. You can also pick tickets up from Francebillet, Ticketnet and Digitick who all have sales outlets online and in the city.

Where to Buy

Getting To Stade Velodrome

The Stade Velodrome isn’t in the centre of Marseille but rather is a little outside of the city. It’s still relatively easy to get to, however, especially because of the excellent Metro system within the city.

train - Getting to Marseille from the UK is relatively simple, even if it’s not a short journey. The Eurostar will take you to Paris and from there you will get a French train through to Marseille. It will take around seven hours, but it will be worth it for your time in one of France’s most beautiful cities.

When you get to Marseille you’ll arrive at the Saint Charles train station. From there the Southbound Metro line will take you to either the Rond-Point du Prado or the Sainte Marguerite Dromel, both of which are within walking distance of the stadium.

Bus - Saint-Charles is not only the main train station in Marseille but it’s also the chief bus station. This is the best place to head to if you want to catch a bus rather get the Metro, though the train is by far the best method of travel. There will be numerous different signs and timetables around Saint-Charles showing you how to get to the Stade Velodrome.

Car - If you choose to fly to Marseille and want to drive to the stadium then taking the A55 is the way you’ll want to go. The same is true of if you’re based in the North of the city.

By Air - Marseille Provence Airport serves both the city of Marseille and the entire Alpes-Côte d’Azur region. It is around 27 km from Marseille city centre and the stadium. There are excellent connections to the city from the airport, with shuttle buses and trains running from one location to the other.

Taxi - A taxi from Saint-Charles station to the ground, as an example, would cost about €20 and take the same amount of time. The amount you’ll have to pay will alter depending on the traffic, so don’t be surprised if it costs you up to €50 if you’re stuck in traffic jams for a significant length of time.

Parking Near Stade Velodrome

Parking near to the Stade Velodrome is surprisingly reasonable, with a number of sites close to the ground that will let you park there for just a few Euros.

Useful Resources

Stade Velodrome Hotels

Marseille was the European Capital of Culture in 2013, so the city has seen numerous changes to it and has had an influx of cash, too. It goes without saying, then, that your hotel options are significant but if you’d like some options there here you go:

Citadines Prado Chanot Marseille - £41+

9-11 Boulevard De Louvain, Marseille, Bouches-du-Rhone, 13008
The Citadines Prado Chanot is just 0.1 miles from the Stade Velodrome and offers self-parking, smoke-free rooms and free Wi-Fi, along with multi-lingual staff if you failed your A-Level French! More details.

Novotel Marseille Centre Prado Vélodrome - £53+

103 Avenue Du Prado, Marseille, Bouches-du-Rhone, 13008
This Novotel is about half a mile from the stadium and has four meeting rooms, a conference space, 120 guest rooms and free Wi-Fi.
More details.

Radisson Blu Hotel, Marseille Vieux Port - £100+

38-40 Quai De Rive Neuve, Marseille, Bouches-du-Rhone, 13007
The Radisson Blu is a top-quality hotel located about half a mile from the ground. There is an outdoor pool, a rooftop terrace, two restaurants and a 24 hour fitness centre. It also offers valet parking and is near to the beach. More details.

Pubs & Bars Near Stade Velodrome

Marseille is a wonderful city with excellent weather and an exciting outdoor culture. There are numerous bars that take advantage of all of this with pleasant terraces and beer gardens. Here are some of our favourites:

The Black Unicorn

176 Boulevard Chave, 13005 (09 52 99 62 74)
The Black Unicorn is one of the most popular British style pubs in Marseille. They do Guinness, ales, lagers and show sport on big screens, so it’s a great place to head to for your pre-match pint.

Brasserie du stade

26 Bd Michelet, 13008 (+33 4 91 22 03 45)
More of a restaurant than a bar, the Brasserie du Stade offers great food and top-class drinks. Unlike the other two bars on the list it has a very French feel to it, perhaps in part because of its location so close to the Stade Velodrome.

O’Brady’s Irish Pub

378 avenue de Mazargues, 13008 (+33 491 71 53 71)
O’Brady’s is one of the best Irish bars in Marseille, set-up by Jean-Luc Bardy whose father coached the French athletics team. He went to Dublin as a non-drinker and returned to his home town as a drinker who knew all about the different beers and ales available throughout the land plus, of course, Guinness. They serve food, show sport and their pints are real ones.

Facilities

The Stade Velodrome has recently undergone a major facelift, meaning that the facilities are much improved in-line with UEFA’s expectation for the grounds that will be used in the Euros. There is hardly a bad seat in the house, so your view is not one of the things you’ll have to worry about. Unlike in the UK, there are not loads of large places selling food and drink. Instead there are small sandwich bars selling their wares dotted around the ground.

Hospitality

There are numerous hospitality boxes that separate the various tiers in the side stands of the Stade Velodrome, so it’s fair to say that you’ll be presented with a good amount of hospitality options if that’s the sort of thing you fancy when you’re out in Marseille. The best thing to do is to contact the club directly and they’ll be able to give you all of the details you need for your trip to France.

As well as the private boxes there is also the Table of Legends, a private area where you’ll enjoy a gourmet buffet, a panoramic view of the pitch and you’ll do so in the presence of some former players of the club. There's another lounge called the Pub Heineken, located in the Tribune Ganay. It’s an English-style pub with a view of the pitch and a DJ playing some classic Europop for your enjoyment.

Private Hire

It is likely that there are several private hire options for your entertainment at the Stade Velodrome. Unfortunately our French doesn’t quite stretch fair enough to guarantee it, so if you’re hoping to hire the stadium for your own benefit then you’ll be clever to get in touch with the club directly. They’ll doubtless be able to help you with whatever you need.

Stadium Tours & Museum

You can tour the Stade Velodrome for about €13 if you’re an adult and slightly less if you’re a child, student or concession. The Marseille tourist board suggests the tour will take you to a ‘mythical place’, but we’re not quite sure that’s likely. Instead you’ll get to see the panoramic lounge with a great view of the pitch, the press room and the dressing rooms as well as the tunnel the players head down before making it on to the pitch.

Tours operate on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays and the amount of tours increase when it’s school holidays or a holiday season. There are numerous tours a day so if you’re interested in having a look around the Stade Velodrome then your best bet is to check out the Marseille tourist board’s website to see what time tour you might be able to make.

About Olympique de Marseille

Final of the French Cup in 1934 between Olympique de Marseille and FC Sète See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Olympique de Marseille are not only the only French team to have won the Champions League, they’re also the team that has won the Coupe de France a record ten times. Things haven’t always been rosy for the club, though. The year after they won the Champions League they were relegated to the second tier of French football because of bribery charges and they also had their domestic trophy stripped from them.

In 2010 Marseille once again won Ligue 1 after they appointed Didier Deschamps as their manager. The former club captain achieved such success at the club that he was appointed head coach of the national team. The club was purchased by Swiss businessman Robert Louis-Dreyfus in 2009 and his wife, Margarita, became the club’s majority shareholder after his death in 2009.

Stade Velodrome History

By Trace (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Between 1904 and 1937 Marseille played their games at the Stade de l’Huveaune. The ground was much beloved by the supporters, so much so that they donated money at the beginning of the 1920s in order to renovate the place. It only had a capacity of 15,000, though, so in 1937 they were offered an opportunity to move to the Stade Velodrome. They were resistant initially, with their fans calling it the ‘stage of the City Council’.

The name of the stadium came about because there was a cycling track that ran around the perimeter of the pitch. Over time, however, the stands gradually crept forward enough to cover the track and make the stadium less about the cycling and more about the sport that was taking place there. The Stade Velodrome was renovated in the early 1970s, with new floodlights installed on two of the tribunes. The capacity was also increased by around 6000.

The Stade Velodrome was completely overhauled during the 1982-1983 season, with the club returning to the Stade de l’Huveaune whilst the work took place. This was because the ground was going to be used for the 1984 European Championships. A similar thing took place in preparation for the 1998 World Cup, with the ground once again completely renovated before the tournament. The capacity was increased to just over 60,000 and the stadium was used to host the semi-final between Brazil and the Netherlands.

The Stade Velodrome isn’t one of France’s most loved grounds. It has lacked a roof, has terrible acoustics and is exposed to the wind. For that reason it has undergone numerous projects to bring it up to date. In 2010 France was awarded the chance to host the Euro 2010 championship and it was decided that Marseille’s ground would be one of the stadiums used. Another set of renovations took place to make the Stade Velodrome a UEFA Elite Stadium by adding a roof and increasing the capacity.

Future Developments

Stadium under construction - August 2013 - By Guiguilacagouille (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Owing to the renovations that brought the Stade Velodrome up to scratch for the 2016 Euros, there are unlikely to be any further developments any time soon.

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