Stade du Hainaut is the new home stadium of Valenciennes FC, replacing Stade Nungesser on the 26th July 2011. The ground has room for 25,000 football fans but has the capacity for 10-15,000 more spectators in the event of a music concert or other non-sporting event, making it a true multiprocessor venue.
- 1 Stadium Guide
- 2 Matchday Experience
- 3 Ticket Prices
- 4 Matchday Transport
- 5 Accommodation
Before moving to Stade du Hainaut Valenciennes FC originally played at Stade Nungesser which first opened in 1930. Dating back to the early part of the 20th century, the facilities at Nungesser had become outdated, and instead of chasing their tale with short term renovation work, Valenciennes opted to build a completely new stadium.
When Valenciennes FC were crowned Champions of Ligue 2 during the 2005/2006 season the club were given further impetus to see the project through as Ligue 1 stadium requirements are much more stringent than the lower divisions. The city launched a design competition for the new stadium, and several architectural companies responded with the winning concept said to be a cross between the Allianz Arena and Estadio da Luz.
After identifying a plot of land east of the city centre construction began on 6th May 2008 and as completed three years later on the 26th July 2011. Stade du Hainaut was inaugurated with a narrow 1 nil victory against Borussia Dortmund in a friendly match which was witnessed by 22,778 fans. The opening game held the record attendance until 11th December 2012 when an additional 250 fans came to the match against Paris Saint-Germain.
Costing an estimated €75.9 million euro project, the overwhelming majority of the funding was derived from public sources. The local council of Valenciennes contributed €41 million euros of funding, and the wider Nord-Pas-de-Calais chipped in another €20 million leaving the football club to make up the remaining €15 million.
As a municipally owned stadium, Stade du Hainaut was always envisioned as a multi-purpose sports arena for the city. Capable of hosting rugby matches, and outdoor concerts for 35,000 fans, the stadium follows the pattern of other new venues across Europe which are now than just football grounds.
Below is a seating plan of Stade du Hainaut:
Stade du Hainaut is comprised of four stands: North, East, South and West.
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Click the thumbnails above to enlarge an image of each stand.
Valenciennes were founded in 1913 and have competed in Ligue 1 since the 2006-2007 season until they finished 19th in their 2013-2014 campaign. With the 17th largest budget in Ligue 1 at 30 million euros, the club punched above it’s financial weight for a while but relegation always appeared inevitable when the economics of Football were factored in. Applying the same logic to their Honours Roll, it is understandable to see why the club lack major trophies with two Ligue 2 Championships and a Coupe de France runner-s up medal in 1951 hardly forming a formidable history.
Still, fans of the club are famed for their unconditional support ever since they were voted “Champions of France Supporters” in 1957 and it is something Les Athéniens have prided themselves on since. Following the wave of “Ultra” supporters which emerged in post-war Italy, the fashion caught on in France in the mid 1980s and numerous supporter groups came into existence. The Red ‘n’ White Dragons formed in 1992 to much notoriety with USVA encouraging less “aggressive” supporters in the early 2000s which saw the rise of new fan groups such as Ultra Roisters, Generation Red and White and the Red Devils.
The best example of the passionate support is when the club take on neighbours Lille OSC in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais derby, although you will also see a sharp rise in attendance against other Northern neighbours such as Lens, Boulogne and Calais with the caveat that they contain less historic importance and intensity.
As a modern stadium, Stade du Hainaut is a venue to be proud of and the fully enclosed design ensures great acoustics, with the modern architecture permitting clear views throughout the stadium.
Food and Drink
The city of Valenciennes is small meaning that you can easily explore different streets and avenues until you find a restaurant or bar that takes your fancy. En route to the stadium there is the Coyote Cafe, Auberge Du Vigneron and Fabio Pizza to sink your teeth into, and within the stadium itself there are over 10 dedicated food points to satisfy your hunger although I must warn you that you need a preloaded cash card to purchase things once inside.
If you want something authentic and pertaining to the cuisine of Nord-Pas-de-Calais then try something containing Maroilles which is their local cheese or any dish containing herring or rabbit. Yum, Yum.
Valenciennes websites indicates that there are two official stores around the city in addition to their online boutique.
1. Place a’Armes Shopping Centre
The club have a store within the centrally located shopping mall which is popular with residents of the city.
- Address: 12, rue de la Halle, 59300
- Phone Number: 03 27 45 41 93
- Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday 9.30am – 7.30pm
2. Fan Shop Stadium
Located within Entrances G and H the store is accessible before you enter the stadium with your ticket.
- Address: Avenue des Sports, 59300
- Phone Number: +33 3 27 51 92 00
- Opening Hours: 3 hours before kick off on matchdays, although might also be open at other times.
You can undertake a fully guided 60 minute tour of the new Stade du Hainaut for around €6.00 which will take you into the glamorous world of football by granting you access to usually off-limits areas of the stadium such as the changing rooms, the players tunnel, the dugouts and other VIP areas.
To find out the availability of tour dates and to book your ticket, check out the official website of the stadium or phone 03 27 51 92 00.
Tickets to see Valenciennes FC play can be purchased online, or in person at either of the club shops located in the city centre and the stadium itself. Even with a state of the art, 25,000 capacity, shiney-new stadium Les Athéniens rarely sell out their home fixtures which means you can purchase tickets either in the days leading up to the match or even just before kick-off if you like to live dangerously.
Ticket prices like the majority of French clubs are very affordable with the cheapest seats starting at €12.00 (Furthest away from the pitch, behind the goal) and most expensive being €40.00 (Central, main grandstand), with a slight premium to be added on when the biggest teams in Ligue 1 come to town such as PSG and Marseille.
For more information you can call the club on +33 (0) 3 27 45 41 93.
Stade du Hainaut is located ever so slightly South-East of the concentric city centre, approximately 1.5km away by foot and slightly further from the main railway station of Valenciennes.
The easiest roads to use as point of reference are probably Boulevard Saly which wraps around the bottom left of centre ville and then Avenue du Sergent Cairns which is just off of the joining roundabout. This road will then take you right up to the stadium along Avenue De Reims with a total journey time well under 20 minutes.
Gare de Valenciennes is the main train station of the city and is served by both High Speed (TGV) services to Paris and regional routes (TER Nord-Pas-de-Calais) making the area well connected to the rest of France.
Stade du Hainaut and the rest of the sports area of the city have been connected to the city centre by Line A since June 2006. From the main train station hop on the tram in the direction of the Université and get off at Nungesser stop which will leave you will less than a 10 minute walk to the stadium. The journey only takes 5 minutes and the frequency of trams is very high on match days.
Bus number 103 takes you closer to the stadium than the tramline but is less frequent with some indications that there is only one per hour, even on matchdays. You can catch it going towards Verchain Mairie from any of the numerous bus stops throughout the city, and within 10 minutes or so you arrive at Stade Nungesser where you should look to get off.
Regardless of whether you are coming from East or West, you will need to travel along the A2 motorway to get to the stadium which runs south of the city. Once you are on it, take exit 21 and follow signs for Valenciennes centre ville, and then signs for Nungesser. Vague instructions I know but let’s face it, you’ll probably have a satnav anyway.
Address: Avenue des Sports, 59300 Valenciennes
Note: Parking is usually reserved for Valenciennes and those with permits and it is encouraged that you use one of the free park and ride schemes known as Parks Relais du Tramway. There five car parks to choose from such as Saint Vaast and the University, with your match ticket allowing you access onto the tram.
Airports and Flying
The closest international airport to little old Valenciennes is in Lille which is 55km away and is commonly reffered to as Lille-Lesquin Airport. An alternative choice and one which is much further away is Brussels South Charleroi Airport which is further away at 79km but may be more suitable for some based on availability of flights.
The closest hotel to Stade du Hainaut is the omnipresent, Hotel Ibis, although it could be far worse. Heading back to town via foot and in the direction of the train station you will find numerous reasonably priced options such as Hotel Notre Dame, Hotel Auberge du Bon Fermier and lofty sounding Le Grand Hotel de Valenciennes.