Stade Matmut-Atlantique

Girondins de Bordeaux's home ground is the Matmut-Atlantique, in the Lac district slightly to the north of the city centre.  

The stadium was officially inaugurated in May 2015 and, as well as hosting the Girondins' home games, is occasionally used for Union Bordeaux-Bègles rugby matches, is a venue for corporate events, and was used as a concert venue for the first time in 2017 (hosting Céline Dion and French singers Johnny Hallyday, Eddy Mitchell and Jacques Dutronc). 

Originally known as Stade Bordeaux-Atlantique until a naming deal was struck with insurance company Matmut (much to the displeasure of hardcore Girondins supporters, who have given the stadium an alternative name, Stade René-Gallice, in tribute to a 1940s and 1950s Bordeaux football legend), the 42,000 all-seater stadium was designed so that spectators could be as close to the action as possible, replicating the tried-and-tested format of stadiums in England. To achieve this, note that the top tier of the stands is incredibly steep (35°, the maximum authorised angle).

Throughout the noughties, with the Girondins' previous home ground in central Bordeaux, Stade Chaban-Delmas, showing its age, plans for a new stadium had been milling around. In 2010, France was chosen to host the 2016 European football championships, and if the city of Bordeaux was to play ball, the new stadium project would have to make the transition from the drawing board to the real world.

In 2011 it was announced that the construction of the new stadium had been entrusted to a consortium formed by the building companies Vinci (also behind the construction of what became the Chaban-Delmas lift bridge spanning the Garonne in Bordeaux) and Fayat. The accompanying design was the work of prolific Swiss architects Jacques Herzof and Pierre de Meuron, the people behind the Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany and the “Bird’s Nest” Olympic stadium in Beijing, China.

The estimated overall cost of the stadium project was €170 million, funded by the French State (€28m), the city of Bordeaux (€17m), the Bordeaux Métropole authority (€15m), the Aquitaine regional council (€15m) and the Girondins along with their owners M6 (an initial outlay of €20m followed by an annual rent of around €4m paid over 30 years and topped up by the city of Bordeaux). Presumably, unlike here, the maths do add up in the official public/private partnership paperwork!

As the project took shape, the stadium was described in architect-speak as being “highly elegant, presenting itself as a prism encasing two pyramids formed by steps and the underside of the stands. The whole structure is supported by a dense forest of slim pillars”, said to represent the pines of the nearby Landes forests.

Inside, everything is neutral pristine white, other than a handful of the seats which are light shades of grey; so the flexible match-day (or concert-night) colour schemes are achieved through the use of lighting, temporary banners, flags, perimeter fencing, video screens and the like.

After initial teething problems in terms of car and public transport access, the stadium has gradually hit cruising speed (for full information about attending match, see the matchday experience page). Highlights in its first years of operation have included hosting five Euro 2016 matches, most notably Wales's win against Slovakia which set them on course for a fine tournament, Spain's surprise defeat at the hands of Croatia, and the nailbiting quarter-final which saw Germany beat Italy in a dramatic penalty shoot-out.