Paris FC

PSG predecessors knocking on the door of Ligue 1

A fan’s guide – the club from early doors to today

But for a heartbreaking defeat on penalties in the play-off against Lens, 2019-20 might well have seen the return of a Parisian derby in Ligue 1 for the first time since the Racing days of the late 1980s. In fact, Paris FC were originally part of the equation to create Paris Saint-Germain, formed in the fervour to revive professional football in the French capital in the late 1960s. The transplant didn’t take, the two clubs split and for a short while, it was PFC who occupied the Parc des Princes and a top-flight spot.

Quickly relegated from Ligue 1 and ousted from the Parc, Paris FC led a somewhat nomadic existence in Ligue 2. Their main base became the Stade Déjerine at Porte de Montreuil and the Blues became identified with the city’s 20th arrondissement in its eastern outskirts.

Stade Charléty/Peterjon Cresswell

PFC enjoyed a brief and final stay in Ligue 1 in 1978-79, a failed merger with Racing ending once the mayor of district 20, Didier Bariani, stepped in as club president in 1992.

The renamed Paris Football Club 98 (then Paris Football Club 2000) remained third flight with Bariani at the helm until 2001. It wasn’t until four years later that the club lost its ‘2000’ tag and returned to its original name of Paris Football Club.

By then, the Blues had moved to the rebuilt Stade Charléty, a multi-sports arena linked to the Paris University Club, by the southern ring road near the student complex of the Cité Universitaire.

The first notable work of famed architect Bernard Zehrfuss, Charléty is known more for athletics, American football and… ultimate frisbee.

PUC Club/Peterjon Cresswell

As for Paris FC, after a season back at the Déjerine, they returned to Charléty for the promotion-winning campaign of 2014-15. Guadeloupe international striker Richard Socrier and Rodez-born midfielder Loïc Poujol – and only two, narrow, away defeats all season, got Paris FC back to Ligue 2.

PFC relied on a mean defence to finish in fourth place in 2018-19, before a crowd of nearly 15,000 gathered at the Charléty for the visit of Lens in the promotional play-off. In front of the Canal+ and bein cameras, PFC hit a stoppage-time equaliser to take the decider into 120 minutes. Young defender Romain Perraud, a near ever-present in the club’s most successful campaign to date, was then the only player to miss from the penalty spot.

Although the Parisians would have still had to face Dijon to reach Ligue 1, and that long-awaited derby with PSG, the sense of lost opportunity was palpable.

Stadium Guide

The field of dreams – and the stands around it

A veritable work of art, the Stade Charléty is named after the then Rector of the University of Paris, whose sports club PUC is based there. A short walk or one tram stop from the student complex of the Cité Universitaire, the stadium was originally built by Bernard Zehrfuss shortly before the war.

An early designer of the futuristic city district of La Défense, Zehrfuss died around the time Charléty was rebuilt by Henri and Bruno Gaudin in the mid 1990s. By then it had hosted a number of major athletics events – a world record for the 2,000 metres was set here in 1962 – as well as a large student rally during the May ’68 demonstrations.

The rebuild, which also provided an indoor arena of volleyball, created a stadium capacity of 20,000.

getting there

Going to the stadium – tips and timings

The stadium has its own stop on the 3a tramline, one from Cité Universitaire. Taking the RER down from the Gare du Nord or Châtelet, it’s barely worth waiting for a tram at the student complex – you’ll see the stadium down below in the near distance.

getting in

Buying tickets – when, where, how and how much

Tickets can be bought online or on the day. The standard price is €10 across the board, €8 in advance online. For the derby with Red Star, it’s €15/€12. In each case, reductions are half-price and under-12s free. The main ticket office is on tram-lined boulevard Kellermann, nearest the Cité Universitaire.

Away fans are placed in a small sector between the Tribune Est on rue Thomire and the Virage Sud. VIPs and press have access on avenue Pierre de Coubertin in the main Tribune Ouest.

Where to Drink

Pre-match beers for fans and casual visitors

The one bar in the vicinity is Brasserie Le Gentilly (97 rue de l’Amiral Mouchez), a popular pre-match meeting point across the main road from the stadium, with specialities from south-west France on the menu.

Inside the stadium complex, by the all-weather pitch just inside boulevard Kellermann, the PUC Club has its own modest bar, with photos of the current Paris FC line-up on the back wall.