Culturally, Paris can seem a million miles away from the rugby-loving south where its roots are so deep, but Paris is the home of the great Parc des Princes which, to me, is so synonymous with French flair, and the icons of that 80’s team.  Back in the 1980s, Racing Club de France was the dominant force here, a sporting club known for its exclusiveness and traditions, and therefore more British in its character than the clubs of the south that were deeply rooted in the land and terroir. 

I was based for 2 years in Paris in the early 1990s straight after university, working for Andersen Consulting, a management consultancy, which wasn’t a bad way to help transition me from a testosterone-driven and casual university student to (semi) serious professional. But it was helluva ride – the intellectually challenging work, 100% immersion in professional (not colloquial) French, weekends away to the mountains, sea and countryside, exquisite food and wine, nights out to bars and clubs, Sundays spent chilling and recovering in those old school Parisian cafés, the sport, museums and culture in this princely City of Light. 

Paris has changed hugely since the early 1990s but it's the memories from then that are so powerful and prevalent. These days, I don’t so much visit it as wistfully revisit it, hoping to re-discover the past.

Read about the players :

Denis Charvet
Jean-Baptiste Lafond
Franck Mesnel

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