Parc des Princes was constructed in 1897 to host the arrival of the Tour de France. Today, the stadium is one of the most important stadiums in Europe. It was the first to host the final of the Champions League in 1955 and of the European Cup in 1960.
The transformation from a velodrome to a stadium was short. In 1932, the stadium was already transformed into a 45 000 all-seater stadium for football (soccer) and rugby. However, the name remained unchanged. 'Parc des Princes' derives from the area's former use as a hunting ground for the royal family, in a green belt surrounding the conurbation.
In the sixties, the menace of a new ring road construction gave way to a second imposing restructuring operation. The so-called 'Périphérique' had to pass one of the stadium's corners. Between 1967 and 1972 the stadium was completely reconstructed by architect Roger Taillibert and the new ring road ended up passing below the new stands.
The stadium is imposing, characterized by 50 large concrete ribs that clench the stadium along the entire elliptical perimeter. The ribs slightly bend towards the center field to sustain the roof. Between the ribs, the use of concrete offers a massy crowning achievement. It follows the trend of the stands that are also visible at the outside. They lower towards the corners giving the stadium a wavy shape.
At the inside of the stadium, two levels of continuous stands give seat to almost 50 000 spectators. The beams on the roof have different length and connect the external profile with the rectangular internal profile. They contribute in creating a nice and warm atmosphere.
© by Angelo Spampinato