Over the past two years, the famous home of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe has undergone major renovations. It was decided that Longchamp needed a brand new look and therefore plans were made to knock down the main grandstands and spend $145 million on building a brand new grandstand with exciting new facilities and enclosures. The venue has hosted the richest race in Europe for around 150 years, back to the days of Napoleon III so was in need of a bit of TLC.
The racecourse is situated just outside the centre of Paris and only takes approximately 30 minutes to get to by car from the Gare du Nord, which is where the Eurostar comes into. Longchamp hosts the majority of top class race fixtures in France but is renowned for the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe which takes place on the first Sunday every October. This is the pinnacle of the French flat racing season and attracts horses, trainers and jockeys from all over the world.
We had the amazing opportunity to head over to Paris for the day and visit the brand new Paris Longchamp. As we pulled into the entrance, we all agreed that the grandstand building stood out with its modern beauty. Painted in a warm, luxurious and ornate gold, we were eager to take a look inside at what the recent developments had to offer. Equipped with hardhats and high vis coats, we were ready to take the long stroll around the vast new grandstand with one of the team from France Galop. One thing that remains with me is that the views are amazing. The grandstand has plenty of open top space making it all feel very spacious. There are several staircases which lead to raised viewing points of the paddock, stables, and racecourse as well as the beautiful city landscape. The grandstand is made up of several stories and as you ascend higher and higher, you see more of the racecourse and the iconic Eiffel Tower. From the top ‘deck’ so to speak, we were amazed by the panoramic views which stretch over the entire course as well as the Eiffel Tower and Financial District you almost feel on top of the world.
Longchamp is set in a site of 57 hectares in the Bois de Boulogne and France Galop are focussing on making these grounds a ‘Green Bubble’ of trees, grassland, and plants. A new look will make this iconic ground fit in with the 21st Century with confidence. The racecourse is due to open at the start of the 2018 season in April which will attract punters from across the globe.
The suites are where you want to be. A private box on a larger and more stylish level. A perfect place to entertain and enjoy the racing from the comfort of your own bar or soft seating area. The grandstand incorporates areas of greenery and as we saw it, there will be more to add before the big opening day. Huge Pine trees have been built around making them a feature part of the building.
The old Hippodrome de Longchamp consisted of two smaller grandstands dating back to the 1960’s of which could hold a total of 14,000 people, whereas the new single grandstand has a capacity of around 10,000. A vast increase to its size and plenty of brand new suites, boxes and seating options. Overall the racecourse can accommodate as many as 60,000 spectators on big race days, similar to that which Cheltenham Festival Gold Cup day will see.
We were all very impressed by the architecture of such a build and there is a great sense of excitement for the future Racing Breaks’ trip we hold for the Arc. There are numerous places to view the runners and races and lots of comfortable areas to take refuge, should the weather let us down. The grounds will have several food and drink outlets too. Everything you need in one place and all set in the stylish, nouveau racecourse name Paris-Longchamp.
Make the most of a trip to the races and stay in a hotel in the centre of Paris. Enjoy the local sites, bars and restaurants, all within a 30 minute taxi drive across the city. There are many options to choose from and many that we can organise for you so you don’t have to worry about it when you are there.
We are really excited for October 2018 and can't wait to see this fantastic structure put to use for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. This will be the racing event of the season so don't miss out.
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