Stade Vélodrome

Key facts

Club: Olympique de Marseille | Opening: 1937 | Capacity: 60,031 (temp. reduced)

History and description

Stade Vélodrome was built to serve as a playing venue for the 1938 World Cup, and as the new home of Olympique after Stade de l’Huveaune had become too small for the club.

Stade Vélodrome officially opened on the 13th of June 1937 with a friendly between Marseille and Italian side Torino.

During the 1938 World Cup, the stadium hosted one first round match and the semi-final between Italy and Brazil (2-1).

Stade Vélodrome initially had a cycling as well as a running track circling the pitch. It was bowl-shaped and both long sides had cover.

The stadium remained largely unchanged for the following decades, though the tracks got gradually eaten away by the extension of the stands.

Stade Vélodrome received a first refurbishment in preparation of the Euro 1984 Championships, during which it hosted one first round group match, and the semi-final match between France and Portugal (3-2).

The stadium was almost completely rebuilt for the 1998 World Cup, and it was then when the stadium got its characteristic round-shaped stands. Capacity got increased to about 60,000 seats, though the new stadium was also criticised for its lack of cover.

During the World Cup, Stade Vélodrome hosted four first round group matches, a round of 16 match, a quarter-final, and the semi-final between Brazil and Holland (1-1).

Olympique has recently started another round of renovation works that will prepare the stadium for the Euro 2016 tournament. The works include the complete or partial reconstruction of the two principal stands, minor works on the stands at both ends, and the construction of a roof that will cover the complete stadium. This will result in a capacity of 67,000 seats.

Works are expected to be finished in the summer of 2014. In the meantime, the stadium has a reduced capacity of about 40,000 seats.

(photos of the present Stade Vélodrome below)

Getting there

Stade Vélodrome is located in the south of the city of Marseille, about 3.5 kilometres from Marseille’s city centre and a kilometre more from central railway station Saint-Charles.

One can get to the stadium with metro line 2. Catch the metro southbound at any of the stops in the city centre (e.g. Jules Guesde, Saint-Charles or Noailles), and get off at either Rond-Point du Prado or Sainte Marguerite Dromel (both located at different sides of Stade Vélodrome).

Address: 3 Boulevard Michelet, 13008 Marseille

Eat, drink, and sleep

Stade Vélodrome is located in a mainly residential area. There are a few eating and drinking options around, most of all on the Avenue du Prado in the direction of the city centre, but in general it is a rather quiet area and it may be a better idea to eat and drink in Marseille’s city centre.

There is a reasonable amount of hotels in the vicinity of Stade Vélodrome. The Mercure Marseille Prado, Inter-Hotel Parc des Expositions, and Citadines Prado Chanot Marseille all get good reviews and are only 5 to 10 minutes walking from the stadium. Hotel Le Huitième is a more budget alternative.

If you wish to stay close to the coast (and beach), the Residence Adagio Prado Plage may be of interest to you. You can also pick a hotel just south of the city centre, e.g. near the Place Castellane, which means both the stadium and city centre are at walking distance.

Click here for all hotels near Stade Vélodrome, and here to investigate further options in Marseille’s city centre.

Tickets

Tickets for Marseille games can be purchased online, at the ticket office at the stadium, or at the OM official store at 31 Rue St Ferréol in the city centre. They can furthermore be bought at any of the Francebillet, Ticketnet, or Digitick pre-sale points.

Due to the ongoing redevelopment works, tickets are only available for limited sections and sell out more quickly than before. For most matches tickets will be available in pre-sale though.

Ticket prices for a seat at the main stand range from €30.00 to €90.00, and a seat at the lower opposite side costs €40.00. Expect to pay more for a few high-profile matches.

For more information call +33 (0) 892 700 840.

Stadium tours

Olympique organises guided stadium tours that include access to the dressing rooms, the press room, VIP areas, and dugouts. The tours last about 60 minutes.

Tours run every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at different hours, usually in the late morning or early afternoon. More tours may run during the school holidays.

Tickets can be booked online, by phone +33 (0) 826 10 40 44, or at any of the Francebillet sales points.

The tour costs €10.00.

Photos

Relevant Internet links

OM.net – Official website of Olympique de Marseille.
Marseille-tourism.com – Official website of the Marseille tourism office.
RTM.fr – Marseille public transport information.

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