Loire Valley, the base camp of the Irish rugby team, and perhaps yours, too…

From 8 September to 28 October 2023, France will be hosting one of the top events in world sport: the famous Rugby World Cup. The matches will take place in 9 different cities. Tours is ideally located in the centre of France, just 1 hour away by train from Paris, 1 hr 30 mins from Nantes and 2 hours from Bordeaux. Above all, there is still plenty of reasonably priced accommodation still available, including hotels, with a chance for you to visit Touraine and the famous Loire châteaux!

Tours Loire Valley, the base camp of the Irish rugby team for the 2023 Rugby World Cup

And the Irish rugby team, currently number 1 in the world rankings, have chosen Tours as their base camp for the competition. To be precise, the Irish players will be training north of Tours, in La Chambrerie, a fully renovated stadium with a 1,300m² building including a great weights room with cutting-edge equipment. Yes, the men in green are all ready to carry off the Webb Ellis Cup, the trophy awarded to the winning team in the Rugby World Cup.

Via Tours Airport, Ryanair is running a regular service to and from Dublin (as well as London Stansted, Porto, Marrakesh and Marseille). Handy for the Irish supporters who want to stay close to their team. In town, they will feel right at home in our local Irish pubs, the Pale Irish Pub, the Buck Mulligan’s, the McCool’s or the Shamrock!

See the accommodation in Tours and Touraine

Visits, excursions, and holiday stays by Tours Loire Valley tourism board 

Supporters of the rugby Irish team

Supporters of the rugby Irish team

To discover! Three delicacies inspired from Ireland

2 new beers and a chocolate bar have been created locally, especially for this event:

  • Created by the “Chocolaterie Fèves“, this new chocolate bar includes a well-known Irish delicacy… the Irish Coffee!
  • Irish Harvest“, is the name of a brand new beer imagined by the brewery “La P’tite Maiz’”. It is a light beer with red highlights”, a typical Irish Red Ale from Ireland. It will be given  as a present to all the Irish players, and sold at the P’tite Maiz’ bar, at the square “Grand Marché” in Tours.
  • Another new beer was also created by the Brewery “Brasserie de l’Aurore”. What’s its name? Go Arn! A 100% rugby Irish Stout, with flavours of coffee and chocolate, caramel, toasted malt and brown sugar.

Irish coffee chocolate bar. Chcolaterie Feves, Tours, France.

Some great experiences in Loire Valley

Morning – wine tour to Vouvray and Montlouis-sur-Loire. A great introduction to the Loire Valley wines with a visit in the Vouvray vineyard and an extensive tasting of a variety of Loire valley wines (Chinon, Touraine, Bourgueil…). From 89€ (including taxes per person). Book!


Full day to Villandry, Azay-le-Rideau & Vouvray wine tour. A complete discovery of Loire Valley with the visit of must-see Chateau of Azay-le-Rideau and Château de Villandry. Learn everything about Loire Valley wines by visiting two wine estates of the Vouvray Appellation, well-known for its sparkling and white wines. From 169€ (including taxes per person). Book!


2 days/1 night – Gorgeous break. An all-inclusive two-day-break to discover the most prestigious chateaux of the Loire Valley, beautiful gardens “à la française” and enjoy the way of life in the Loire Valley. From 434€ (including taxes per person). Book!


Royal château of Amboise, France.

3 days/2 nights – Discovering the Loire Valley Chateaux. An unforgettable all-inclusive three-day-holiday to discover the most prestigious chateaux of the Loire Valley, beautiful gardens “à la française” and enjoy the way of life in the Loire Valley. From 559€ (including taxes per person). Book!


Rétro Tour - Loire Valley by night, France.

Retro by night. On a beautiful starry night, let yourself be carried away for a night tour to discover Tours. All along a luminous route, you will stroll in the city, from the Plumereau square to the Colbert street, passing by the Saint-Martin basilica, the Charlemagne tower, the Saint-Gatien cathedral… From 200€ (including taxes per person). Book!


Boat tour on the River Vienne near Chinon, France.

Lands of Azay Chinon Val de Loire. Between its heritage, its gastronomy and its wine discoveries, they invite you to enjoy the art of living.

  • Rally in 2CV in Chinon country
  • Discovery tour and tasting in a winery
  • Apero-boat on the Vienne
  • Visit and meal at the Chateau de l’Aulée
  • Visit of the Chateau d’Azay-le-Rideau and lunch at the castle
  • Cani-hiking activity
  • Paddle or tennis activity at Skinup Academy

From 22 € (including taxes per person). Book!


On the map: Tours is well placed to welcome rugby supporters. 

Useful information:

All you need to know about the 2023 Rugby World Cup

France was chosen to host the competition in 2017. A whole nation will be mobilised around an event watched by millions of fans of a sport with universally recognised values.

Opening match: France – New Zealand on 8 September 2023, at 9pm, at Stade de France, in Saint-Denis.

The pools:

  • Pool A: New Zealand, France, Italy, Uruguay, Namibia.
  • Pool B: South Africa, Ireland, Scotland, Tonga, Romania.
  • Pool C: Wales, Australia, Fiji, Georgia, Portugal.
  • Pool D: England, Japan, Argentina, Samoa, Chile.

Rugby World Cup

Rugby World Cup

Rugby World Cup

Rugby World Cup

The venues: Bordeaux Stadium (Ireland – Romania on 9 September), Beaujoire Stadium in Nantes (Ireland – Tonga on 16 September), Stade de France in Saint-Denis (Ireland – South Africa on 23 September / Ireland – Scotland on 7 October), Toulouse Stadium, Nice Stadium, Pierre Mauroy Stadium (Lille), OL Stadium (Lyon), Vélodrome Stadium (Marseille), Geoffroy Guichard Stadium (Saint-Etienne).

Current world top 5 rugby team rankings:

  • Ireland
  • France
  • New Zealand
  • South Africa
  • Scotland

Map of the rugby world cup 2023 in France. Irish rugby team will be here during the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

What to do in and around Tours?

Former capital of the kingdom of France, listed as a World Heritage landscape by UNESCO, Tours is a city you cannot miss! Enjoy its typical medieval pedestrian streets with its half-timbered houses and a fine cathedral, the cheerful and lively bars and “guinguettes” by the River Loire. A guided tour of the town will satisfy all your curiosity! Also discover the local delicacies and the well-known Loire Valley wines. Come and live the real French Touch experience in Tours!

You can also take the train from Tours station and visit:

The Royal Château of Amboise

The Royal Château of Amboise

Ambacia cellars

Ambacia cellars

The Royal Fortress of Chinon

The Royal Fortress of Chinon

But the Loire Valley also attracts many visitors with its cycling trails, starting with The Loire by Bike, which will take you within reach of the Villandry Gardens, the Château d’Azay-le-Rideau and the Petrified Caves of Savonnières. On the Camino de Santiago by bike, the Montbazon fortress, the Cave de Vouvray and the Valmer Gardens will be just a bike ride away.

Savonnières, on the Loire by bike trail. Cycling Loire Valley, France. A good idea of a thing to do during a stay in Tours, between two matches of the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.

On the way to Savonnières and Villandry, from Tours.

Rugby event scheduled in Tours in 2023 

An Irish delegation in Tours for the inauguration of the new Chambrerie sports complex
The new facilities at the Chambrerie Stadium, which will host the Irish team at the World Cup, will be inaugurated on 5 July 2023 in the presence of an Irish delegation.

Caesarodunum: rugby’s ancestor in the spotlight
During the CAESARODUNUM event (26 and 27 August 2023), rugby will be put into historical perspective with an introduction to the ancestor of rugby, Haspartum.

Irish team training open to the public
Ireland will be on show at a training session open to the public Saturday 2 September 2023, 11 am (gates open at 10 am) at the Cher Valley stadium.

4 fan zones on giant screens, including the France-New Zealand opening match
A large fan zone will be set up at the Tonnellé stadium, with a giant screen, for the broadcast of the opening match between France and New Zealand (free event) on 8 September 2023. New fan zones will be set up for the ¼ final (Tonnellé stadium), ½ final (Cher Valley stadium) and the final (venue to be confirmed) if the French team continues its winning ways.

An Irish festival to celebrate rugby with all the associations in Tours
Rugby will be in the spotlight around the Bergeonnerie lake as part of Tours en fête, an event that brings together all the sports and community associations in the city. There will be rugby demonstrations, events and festive atmosphere with Irish music (free)! See you on Sunday 10 September 2023.

An Irish Chef!
A 4-handed menu will be on offer on Tuesday 12 September at the Gens Heureux restaurant, concocted by the Irish chef Rob CURLEY together with the restaurant’s chef Gilles HÉMART. Throughout the tournament the terrace will turn into a Fan Zone, with all the French and Irish matches broadcast live.

To find out more

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