Section Paloise v London Irish, 9pm Saturday 12th December 2021
Pau is located in south-west France and is the capital of Béarn province and the Pyrénées-Atlantiques Département.
Section Paloise was founded in 1902 and has competed in the French Top 14 since they were promoted back to the top-flight in 2015.
Section Paloise’s official anthem is the Honhada and is sung by the fans before every match.
The club’s mascot is a bear called Bearnie.
Stade du Hameau
The Stade du Hameau is situated in the outskirts of Pau, around 5km from the city centre. This modern stadium was completed in 2017.
There are two routes on L’Ovaligne – the one from the city centre (Ovaligne B) only runs on certain match days, and is unlikely to be operating for the European encounters, however the T2 bus is an easy way to get to the stadium.
The T2 terminates at the Park & Ride next to the football stadium. It’s a five minute walk to the rugby stadium from there – go down the track to the left of the football stadium, and turn left at the end (you will clearly see the floodlights).
Getting back to the city centre after the match may be more challenging if Ovaligne B isn’t running. There are a few options:
- Walk – it could take about an hour
- Taxi – plan in advance and make sure you have a number to call
- Take Ovaligne A to the end of the line and walk from there
- See if you can work out what happens with the late evening buses
- Find a friendly Section supporter who can give you a lift into town (this worked for me)
The stadium car parks are reserved for holders of a parking permit. Parking is available for online booking at a rate of €10 per match.
Catering at the Stadium
The Section Paloise supporters have recommended the “Section Gourmand” service inside the Hameau, open during stadium hours on match days. You can find this under the north stand (Tribune Nord).
Here you will be able to taste the specialties of Béarn (drinks and food). For payment inside the stadium, contactless payment is accepted.
An example of what was on offer at a recent game:
You may also find the Section Paloise 16éme Homme here before the game. Look for the friendly people with their drums.
Beer is served in recyclable plastic glasses. There’s a €1 deposit, so make sure you return it to the bar rather than bin it.
Tickets will not be available through London Irish for our game in Pau. They will need to be obtained directly from the Section Paloise ticket office.
Tickets are expected to go on sale on the 19th November.
Getting to Pau
Eurostar from London St.Pancras to Paris Gare du Nord (2h15) and take the Métro (line 4) to Gare Montparnasse (allow at least 75 minutes for the transfer). Then whizz through France at 300km/h on the TGV direct to Pau (4h20).
There are daily flights from London to Toulouse and Bordeaux, the two nearest large airports. Car hire is available at both airports and it is approximately a two hour drive from either of these. Public transport links are also available, around three hours by bus and train from Bordeaux (via Dax) and around three and a half hours by bus from Toulouse.
You may also be able to get a flight to Biarritz, which has similar transfer times to Pau.
Where to Stay
There are a few hotels a short walk from the Hameau Stadium. This could be convenient if you are only going for the match and have a hire car (free parking at the hotels).
- ibis budget Pau Est
- Première Classe Pau Est – Bizanos Hotel
- Hôtel Restaurant Campanile Pau
- Hotel Eden Park
If you are staying longer and want to see more of the city, or are looking for something a bit more upmarket, then there is a wide choice of accommodation in the city centre, from the budget Hotel Bosquet to the five star Hotel Parc Beaumont.
Where to Eat and Drink
Near the stadium
Recommended for a pre-match meal:
La Cantine de la Section
Boulevard du Commandant René Mouchotte
2 Rue du Bataillon de Joinville
The city centre has an extensive range of places to eat and drink.
The following have been recommended to us:
20 boulevard des Pyrenées
A traditional European Irish pub.
If it’s a clear day then sit outside with a Guinness and take in the fantastic views of the snow-capped Pyrenées.
For small groups (four or less) we would be happy to recommend:
- Le Henri IV – 18 Rue Henri IV,
Excellent French cuisine at a very good price.
- La Rumeur Paloise – 7 Place Royale
Inventive spins on southwest French specialties, plus Jurançon wines, in a minimalist space.
Section Paloise 16e Homme
London Irish Supporters Club are delighted to have been in close communication with our counterparts at Pau.
The Section Paloise 16éme Homme have been very helpful in preparing the information on this page.
We can be sure of a warm welcome from the supporters’ club when we visit the Stade du Hameau.