Authentic France Travel Tip # 21: Go To A "6 Nations" Rugby Match

Life is a funny thing. Turns out that as I was cheering on my unrequited loves in rugby matches during my high school years at my very British private school in Victoria, Franck was on the other side of the Atlantic, not only playing rugby but religiously watching the 6 Nations Rugby Tournament with his rugby-crazy Pépé Georges.

Of course at that time the 6 Nations tournament was actually the 5 Nation Tournament (France, England, Wales, Scotland & Ireland). Italy came and joined in the fun a few years ago.

This rugby competition is adored by all rugby-loving Europeans and is the perfect opportunity to capitalize on those underlying European cultural clashes

Franck and I went to the Scotland vs. France match at the Stade de France this weekend, and it wasn’t only an Authentic French moment, but an Authentic European moment.

When else can you witness first-hand an invasion of the streets of Paris (here Saint Michel in the Latin Quarter) by men-in-kilts?

Or be entertained waiting for the RER by a group of slightly tipsy, red beret wearing French rugby supporters from the South West of France?

Or be serenaded by bagpipes, and surrounded by be-wigged French people, as you get off the RER at La Plaine?

Or be offered a glass of wine from the impromptu French wine stand as you wander over to the gates of the Stade de France? I also had the chance to reconnect with a few of my distant Scottish relations in the photo at the very top of this post.

I wasn’t really sure who I was going to cheer for, after all I have a French passport but no French blood (though plenty o’ Frenchitude), and no UK passport but plenty of Scottish blood.

And although I was clearly sitting in a French section as you can tell by the berets in front of me;

The crowd was also dotted with a scattering of very vocal Scots. One particularly hilarious specimen behind us kept up a running commentary of the match in a gravelly brogue, and favored shouting “Ye ahhhhhshhhoooooooooles!!!!!!” every time the Scottish team fumbled the ball.

However, this being rugby (a gentleman’s sport) unlike Football (where they have to separate the fans so they don’t slit each other’s throats) at the end of the match all the French fans and the Scottish Fans shook hands and hugged and took photos together.

I cheered for both teams, and nobody around me seemed to have any objection to that.

How’s that for Inter-European harmony?

*”Authentic France Travel Tips” are posted every Tuesday and give ideas for savvy travellers who want to experience the authentic side of France.