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Major milestone reached for the FFR’s new Grand Stade

The Federation Française de Rugby’s new stadium project reached another exciting milestone this week, with the signing of the contract between the FFR and the developer and main contractor, Ibelys. The contract was signed at a ceremony in Paris by the President of the FFR, Pierre Camou, and BESIX Europe General Manager, Jean Polet.  

The on-site ceremony, at the former racecourse of Ris-Orangis to the south of Paris, also saw the French Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, sign a Contrat d’Interet National; an administrative arrangement that will give priority and state support to the Populous-designed project.

This unique, 82,000-capacity venue is at the heart of the FFR’s plans for a new era for French rugby. The ground will be much more than a stadium; being located at the heart of a new southern centrality of Paris, with a leisure development programme, shops, businesses and housing all accompanying the project.

As well as hosting all French national team home matches, the stadium will also accommodate conventions, shows and a broad range of sporting events thanks to its multi-purpose design. The retractable pitch will provide the FFR with the best national stadium pitch in Europe, while the retractable roof will create the largest roofed entertainment venue in the continent, delivering an incredibly intense atmosphere, and allowing matches and events to take place throughout the year.

The next stage of the project will now begin, with the submission of a planning application, supported by the local authority, Communauté d’Agglomération Grand Paris Sud (CAGPS), who are a key partner in the project.

Serge Blanco, Vice President, Federation Française de Rugby (FFR), said:

We had a vision. Populous turned that vision into a stadium like no other; a stadium for the fans, a stadium that will secure the future of French rugby.

Populous Senior Principal, Ben Vickery, said:

We’re delighted that this fantastic project has reached this important new stage. We’re confident that the stadium of the FFR will be the best rugby stadium in Europe.

Populous Principal and Project Lead, François Clément, said:

This ground-breaking new stadium has been designed for the family of French rugby, and inspired by the vision of the FFR. The stadium will consist of unique spaces to catalyse the fervour of the French fans, create places for the venue to thrive throughout the year, and will nurture the dreams of generations of current and future fans.


Image: © Populous & Ateliers 2/3/4

The Grand Stade FFR in numbers

Stadium capacity:

  • 82,000 seats in rugby mode
  • Between 76,000 and 100,000 capacity in concert mode
  • 290 seats for disabled people
  • 200 VIP boxes
  • 2 player’s entrance lounges with 100 seats each
  • 4 corner boxes with 150 seats each
  • 10,000 Premium seats
  • 3,000 boxes seats

Stadium features:

  • Retractable pitch and roof, the only stadium in the world to combine both features
  • 4 internal screens of 27m x 7m each, equivalent in size to a standard tennis court
  • 1 museum to French rugby

Project area:

  • Length: 368m
  • Width: 310m
  • Total area: 15 hectares

Retractable roof:

  • Area: 60,000m2
  • Total weight of roof: 9,000 tons
  • Time to open/close: approximately 5 minutes

Retractable pitch:

  • Size: 140m x 80m
  • Time to roll out: approximately 1h 15mins


Project Team

Architects: Populous, with Ateliers 2/3/4

Client: Federation Française de Rugby (FFR)

Structural, Civil and MEP Engineers: Egis

Acoustic Engineers: Vanguardia Consulting

Lighting Engineers: ME Engineers

Security Consultants: Casso Associés

Retractable Roof and Pitch Consultants: Uni-Systems

Pitch Consultants: STRI

Landscape Architects: Vogt

Project Contractor: Ibelys (a partnership between Icade, Besix, Ineo and Axima)


About Populous

Populous is a global architecture and design firm that designs the places where people love to be together, like Yankee Stadium, the London Olympics, and the Super Bowl. Over the last 30 years, the firm has designed more than 2,000 projects worth US$40bn across emerging and established markets.

Populous’ comprehensive services include architecture, interior design, event planning and overlay, branded environments, wayfinding and graphics, planning and urban design, landscape architecture, aviation and transport design, hotels and hospitality, and sustainable design consulting. The firm has 17 offices on four continents with regional centres in Kansas City, London and Brisbane.

For more information about the FFR and the new stadium, please go to: