Embarking upon our first Green Room adventure to the magnificent city of Paris began at London’s St Pancras station early on the morning of Friday 18th March. Half the team were still at Cheltenham for Gold Cup Day whilst the other half of team Green Room headed to France for the final weekend of the Six Nations and the annual ‘Le Crunch’ showdown between England and France.
This was however no ordinary match between England and France – Les Bleus were going for their first Six Nations and Grand Slam win since 2010 and England were trying to end another dissatisfactory campaign on a high and destroy French Grand Slam dreams.
Upon arrival at the luxury Park Hyatt Vendôme, guests were greeted with an obligatory glass of Champagne (we were in France after all!) and some delicious canapés designed especially by the head chef. As guests settled in the open and airy courtyard for their preview with Mike Tindall and Lawrence Dallaglio the whole vibe oozed Parisian panache and the venue is as chic a spot as you’ll find in any Parisian hotel. The bubbles flowed freely, and guests chatted openly with our rugby legends about the game in store, how England might overcome this French juggernaut and what the consequences might be for an England defeat. What better way to build up to this huge game than with an exclusive preview with two World Cup winners, sipping Champagne in the courtyard of a luxury Parisian hotel!?
As the game was not kicking off until 9pm local time, guests spent the day at leisure perusing the sights and sounds of the ‘City of Love’ whilst we headed to the Stade de France to make our final preparations for the game ahead. With the Green Room ready it was time to take guests to the stadium and joining them was Masterchef host and friend of The Green Room Gregg Wallace who was also soaking up the experience. Soon after arrival at the Stade de France we were greeted not only by England rugby legends Ben Kay and James Haskell but acting superstar Damian Lewis also took his place amongst Green Room guests.
As you would expect in France, the Gallic gastronomy in the stadium was wonderful, the wine was ‘encroyable’ and the views of the pitch could not have been better. With the Q&A of our rugby legends complete and glasses filled, it was time to head out for this 6 Nations decider. As ‘Le Marseillaise’ rang out around the Stade de France, you could cut the atmosphere with a knife as excitement filled the stadium. The noise was incredible, and the French fans were in fine fettle throughout the entire game. They had good right to be as well, as their team romped to a 25-13 victory, never really looking troubled and winning their first Grand Slam in 12 years. Tries from Fickou, Cros and world player of the year Antoine Dupont were enough to down England, and their dominant defensive display simply suffocated the English efforts. With the World Cup in France just over a year away, ‘Les Bleus’ are looking like world beaters and this historic Grand Slam could be a key building block to possible world cup glory next year.
Post-match punditry from French legend Benjamin Kayser was passionate and excitable to say the least but Mike Tindall, Lawrence Dallaglio and co had no arguments about which team deserved the victory. Despite the loss, spirits amongst Green Room guests could not be dampened and after our return to the hotel, many headed off into the night to continue the Parisian party. For us though, this was the end of a long but thrilling week in The Green Room and we can’t wait to do it again next year!
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