Pools star Matthew Bates updates us from France as he runs in to a dramatic protest in Paris and forms plans for England's game against Wales.
Wednesday 15th June 2016, 4pm BST
On Tuesday we went back in to Paris at around 12noon to have a little more of a look around after being there on Monday night for a few drinks and a meal.
There is a train station right next to the camp site we’re on in Versailles so we decided to take advantage of that though we were a little unsure which stop in Paris we needed to get off at. We spoke to a group of lads from the same camp site at ours who had set-off an hour earlier and they told us to get off at the Eiffel Tower stop – so that’s what we did…
As soon as we got off the train we knew it had been a mistake though! We were greeted by around 200 armed guards keeping control of a protest which was going on in the city! There were water cannons going off all over, fire crackers flying about, it was crazy!
I asked someone in Paris what all the commotion was about and he told me it was something to with workers’ pay and benefits being reduced so thankfully it was nothing football-related. So we made a fairly sharp exit from and headed to a bar for a much-needed drink – and as you can imagine, the first round was on the group of lads who had given us the advice to get off at that stop!
We then moved on to the Notre Dame area of Paris to meet some other friends and it was great to see a little bit more of the city. I have to say that, from what I have seen so far, it’s a beautiful place. I just wish we had a little more time here to really have a good look around. What’s more, the local people in France could not be more friendly and they’re adding to a brilliant trip for us all.
We stayed in Paris until quite late in to the evening, had another lovely meal at a restaurant there before heading back to the camp-site after a really enjoyable day. Will, who flew in from New York to join us, had to be up at 6.30am on Wednesday morning – after our late night there weren’t many of us up to wave him off, I have to admit!
As I said earlier in the Blog, we had always planned to wing the last couple of nights over here. The camp-site we’ve been staying at in Versailles is absolutely gorgeous and has everything we need, so we have booked in to say in a lob cabin tonight. They’re really nice and they’ll give us a little bit of time away from the camper vans which will be good.
On Thursday we’re going to be up bright and early because we have around a three-hour journey to Lille in time for England’s game against Wales. We don’t have tickets for the game unfortunately but we are planning to go in to the Fan Zone to watch the game and sample the atmosphere there.
We haven’t quite decided what we’re going to be able to do with the camper vans at that point but we’re thinking of pulling in to a services as close as we can to Lille and then get a taxi in to the Fan Zone. I have to say that having the Uber app while over here has been an absolute God send for getting around!
We’re all really looking forward to the game on Thursday now and hopefully England do the business and get the points because it’s a big fixture!
Come on England!