Updated: May 31
The Rugby World Cup is a prestigious international rugby union tournaments held every four years. The 2023 edition will take place in France, with Lyon being one of the host cities. Lyon is an amazing city in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of France, known for its rich history, culture, and culinary delights. This article is your ultimate guide to Lyon during the Rugby World Cup France in 2023.
I will cover match dates, the stadium, transport, how to get to Lyon, where to stay in Lyon, things to do here. I would get to know the transport advice before you choose where to stay, as not all parts of town are equally accessible to the Groupama Stadium. I'll be doing a restaurant guide soon as well!
Who am I to offer this advice? I'm Caroline, a British-American Sommelier who hosts wine tastings in English. I don't care about Rugby at all, but I know that there is a serious lack of quality information about Lyon in English online and I have ulterior motives. Many of you come from wine producing countries and might be interested in learning more about French wines during your stay. If you're into Pinot Noir and Shiraz (don't tell the French people I called it that) then you definitely need to book your ticket to my Wines of Lyon tasting right now! I feature at least 7 wines from within a 2 hour drive of here, which luckily for you includes Burgundy, the Northern Rhône, and Beaujolais. Now, without further ado...
2023 Rugby World Cup Lyon Match Dates and Times
Sunday September 24th, 2023 at 9pm CEST - Pool C - Wales vs Australia
Wednesday September 27th 2023 at 5:45pm CEST - Pool A - Uruguay vs Namibia
Friday September 29th 2023 at 9pm CEST - Pool A - New Zealand vs Italy
Thursday September 5th 2023 at 9pm CEST - Pool A - New Zealand vs Uruguay
Friday October 6th 2023 at 9pm CEST - Pool A - France vs Italy
Olympique Lyonnais Groupama Stadium
Groupama Stadium is a 59,000 seater stadium about 20 kilometers driving to the east of Lyon. It is home to our football team Olympique Lyonnais, and hosted the FIFA Women's World Cup in 2018. I'm going to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers there this summer!
How to get to the Lyon Stadium during the 2023 France Rugby World Cup
Driving to Groupama Stadium
The stadium is about 25 minutes away from the city center of Lyon with no traffic. I think we can all assume there will be plenty of traffic around these matches. We have rideshare apps here including Uber and Bolt. It is not necessary to have a car while staying in Lyon, and is actually pretty annoying. If you do choose to drive, there is paid parking at the stadium (will sell out) and there are paid parking lots in the city, street parking is atrocious. I do not recommend driving in Lyon, it's intense and you should avoid driving in the center of town because it's like a hellish obstacle course.
Public Transport to the Lyon Rugby World Cup Matches
Lyon has great public transport in general with well connected buses, trams, and an underground metro. You don't need to buy tickets in advance, you can just tap you card in the moment. To get to the stadium, you will need either the bus or the tram, and likely the metro too. The metro does not run all the way to the stadium, which is only serviced by 2 trams and a variety of buses.
The two tram stations that serve the stadium are called Décines OL Vallée and Décines Grand Large, but on game days there are also special trams from Lyon just for the rugby matches.
Getting the Tram to OL Stadium
RUGBY MATCH GAME DAY TRAMS: On match days there will be special trams that leave from near the Part-Dieu Station, it's not the same station as the regular trams. With your ticket they will likely share booking information about this tram, which you'll need to get a ticket for according to my best information at this time. Here is where match day trams leave from, the advice below still applies in terms of connecting from the metro to the tram so keep reading.
The everyday tram from the heart of Lyon that takes you to the stadium is the T3 from Gare Part-Dieu, our biggest train station, which delightfully has been under construction since before I moved here in 2017. The tram station is outside of the main train station, just across the road from the eastern "Alps" exit.
Unfortunately, this is on the opposite side of the station from the metro exit, which is outside of the "Rhône" exit to the west. If you do take the tram from Part-Dieu and plan on using the metro to get to that station, metro station exit number 3 at Place Charles Béraudie is your best choice, and you will have to go straight through the train station to the other side to get the tram. Good luck. The T3 goes from just outside the station but the special match day trams go from further south.
If you need to go through Part-Dieu, I would give yourself an extra 20 minutes to navigate going through the station.
The other tram is the T7, will take you from the Vaulx-en-Velin station, a suburb on Lyon's north eastern edge. It's not a particularly interesting or beautiful part of town for a tourist, so I would not recommend staying there, but it is conveniently at the end of the metro A line, which runs right through the center of Lyon's Presqu'Île (the little peninsula between the two rivers) and connects with many other lines.
Getting the Bus to the Rugby World Cup in Lyon
The bus is useless from the center of town.
How to Get to Lyon for the Rugby World Cup Matches
It's so handy that I already wrote about this here! You can come to Lyon by plane, train, bus, car, and even by boat.
Where to Stay in Lyon during the Rugby World Cup 2023
Oh look at this, my handy guide to Lyon's hotels. This is one circumstance where I think staying near the Part-Dieu station wouldn't be a terrible idea, but it's not a particularly charming neighborhood. If you're going for an Airbnb, check out my guide to Lyon's neighborhoods.
If I wanted to have the most amazing time enjoying Lyon while I attend the Rugby World Cup, I would stay within a 15-20 minute walk of the metro A line, get the metro to Vaulx-en-Velin, and then get the tram from there. That covers Vieux Lyon (5éme Arrondissement), the high end 6th Arrondissement, and everything between Hôtel de Ville and Perrache (2éme Arrondissement).
I will warn you that Perrache may not be under construction, but is an equally terrible train station and is also better avoided. I would not recommend staying south of Perrache, right by the station is dirty and dark and weird and then the Confluence neighborhood is really modern and far away from everything so it's not great for tourists.
Top Things to do in Lyon during the Rugby World Cup 2023
Wine Tasting in Lyon
Do a wine tasting with me! I haven't led you astray so far, have I? This is by far the most useful thing you've read about coming to Lyon for the World Cup, so imagine how insightful my wine tastings are when I'm talking about something I actually care about.
The Wines of Lyon is my signature tasting, it runs for about 3 hours in the afternoon and explores all of Lyon's wine regions from the comfort of my dining table in my historic early 1800s silk loft studio apartment.
You'll enjoy learning about and drinking fine wines from Burgundy, the Northern Rhône, Beaujolais, and more. I make the world's best cheeseboard, and you'll make amazing friends with the other guests at this intimate wine tasting for a maximum of 8 guests.
Winery and Vineyard Tours during the Rugby World Cup
I also do private custom full-day vineyard tours, but get in touch ASAP because I'm already filling up!
Free Walking Tour in Lyon
Paul is fantastic, engaging, knowledgeable, and offers a variety of tours. Don't forget to tip him!
Cooking Classes in Lyon
Food Tours of Lyon
Explore Lyon during the Rugby World Cup
Honestly the best way to experience Lyon is to just walk around in the Old Town and the center of town. It's delightful!
Top Restaurants to Visit during the Rugby World Cup
Watch this space, I'm working on it!