Rugby World Cup 2023
The Rugby World Cup 2023 kicks off in Paris on Friday 8th September and will captivate the world for the next seven weeks! For this 10th edition of the tournament, Pro Sky is proud to be the provider of group flights. More than 70 international and domestic flights have been orchestrated from our Paris offices to ensure that participating teams arrive on French soil on time. This has been a real team effort with the World Cup organisers, the France 2023 Public Interest Group.
It is predicted that the 2023 Rugby World Cup will attract more than 850 million television viewers worldwide and more than 3 million spectators in the stadiums. Paris is not the only city to have the privilege of hosting this event. A total of nine cities across France will host the matches; Lille, Lyon, Nice, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Nantes, Saint-Etienne and Paris Saint-Denis.
Pro Sky, Provider to the 2023 Rugby World Cup
This is not the first time Pro Sky has organised group flights for a sporting event. We are proud to be responsible for the preparation and delivery of all group flights for all the rugby teams competing for the title of World Champion at Rugby World Cup 2023. For more than a year after winning the tender, we have been working with the organiser to determine the most appropriate flights for each team, always with a view to minimising the impact on the environment. This is reflected in the choice of aircraft in terms of size and engine type, as well as reducing the number of empty flights.
Organisation of group flights for rugby teams
For this World Cup, we are flying 19 teams from all over the world to France, including New Zealand, Australia, Tonga, Fiji, Japan, Namibia, South Africa, Italy, Portugal, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England, Romania, Georgia, Argentina, Uruguay, Samoa and Chile.
When such events are organised, not only the teams travel, but also e the staff, organisers, attendants and security personnel assigned to each team. In total, we fly more than 1,030 unique passengers across the globe, making a total of more than 3,700 passengers on our 70 flights.
To make this possible, we have mainly used scheduled flights. This means that the majority of the teams will be flying with airlines that we all know from our holidays. The most complex challenge for Pro Sky has been negotiating with each airline about business class seat capacity for such large groups. As scheduled flights were not always possible, we also chartered aircraft, another of Pro Sky’s recognised areas of expertise. In the end, on the international flights, 850 passengers will fly on 15 scheduled flights and 180 passengers on 3 chartered flights.
Including the various connections, Pro Sky provided more than 2,000 ticketsfor the entire World Cup!
When it came to travelling to the 9 different venues in France, we organised 35 charter flights and 5 scheduled domestic flights.
At Pro Sky, we have the expertise, knowledge and resources to manage your group flights for sporting events. Discover all the benefits of flying with us for your sporting events, whether for your teams of players, medical teams, journalists or fans.
Environmental responsibility at the 2023 Rugby World Cup
We live in a world where sport brings people and generations together and where air travel is sometimes unavoidable. For this World Cup, however, we have made it a point of honour to keep the use of flights to a strict minimum. For travel within France during and between matches, the organisers decided to give priority to bus travel for journeys of less than 2h30 or train travel for journeys of less than 4h30. Scheduled flights were only allowed if an airport was close to the base camps and had reasonable departure and arrival times. Pro Sky, a CSR pioneer in its sector since 2015, went beyond the requirements by favouring propeller aircraft to significantly reduce paraffin consumption and limiting empty positioning flights.
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Discover France’s heritage during the Rugby World Cup
Although the semi-finals and final will be held in Paris, the pool matches and quarter-finals will be played in nine different cities. For logistical reasons, the players cannot all stay in the same cities. As a result, other cities have been selected to serve as bases for the rugby players and support staff. There are no less than 20 towns in the vicinity of the venues: Le Touquet Paris plage, Lyon, Saint-Etienne, Bourgoin Jallieu, Aix-les-Bains, Nice, Toulon, Avignon, Montpellier, Perpignan, Toulouse, Libourne, Lormont, La Rochelle / Île de Ré, Tours, La Baule Escoublac, Perros Guirrec, Versailles, Croissy sur seine, Rueil Malmaison.
Thanks to the presence of the rugby teams in each of these towns for almost a month, tourists and participants will be able to enjoy a real Tour de France of local culture!
North & South East Region
Touquet Paris Plage
Let’s start our tour of French culture with the Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie region. Here, some of the teams will be staying at the Le Touquet Paris Plage base. Whether players or tourists, everyone will be able to enjoy the pleasures of this northern seaside resort. For a weekend or a few days, take the time to discover the typical landscapes of the region, walking and relaxing on the famous beach of Le Touquet and its endless sand dunes. Don’t forget to visit the town’s lighthouse and the Baie de Canche nature reserve to discover the marine and terrestrial species that inhabit the area. You can also take a boat trip from the fishing port.
Moving on to the south-east of France, we land in the Lyon region. Whether it’s this metropolis or the surrounding towns, you won’t be disappointed: Lyon, Saint-Etienne, Bourgoin Jallieu and Aix-les-Bains are all open to you. And here’s what you can discover in some of them.
If you’re staying in Lyon for a few days, don’t miss the traboules (narrow passageways) in the Pentes and Croix Rousse districts. These are narrow passageways that connect two streets and cross a block of houses. No visit to the capital of Gaul would be complete without a visit to the city centre; the Presqu’Île de Lyon, in the heart of the historic centre, and a cruise along the Saône should be on every tourist’s list. But don’t forget that Lyon is part of France. And France is synonymous with gastronomy. A meal full of Lyon specialities could start with an aperitif of brioche sausage, followed by quenelles, then cervelle de canut and Saint-Marcellin cheese, and finish with a slice of tarte praline, accompanied by a good cup of tea or coffee.
Close to Lyon, the city of Saint-Etienne also offers a wide range of activities and local specialities. A stroll through the town centre will take you back in time as you admire the blend of old architecture and modern design of the new buildings. Many of the city’s history and culture tours are easily accessible throughout the city centre. As for the local cuisine, the people of St Etienne are proud of their bugnes (a type of doughnut), râpées (a grated potato and egg cake served with sausage, roast meat or salad) and fourme de Montbrison (a blue-veined cheese made from cow’s milk). Chocolate is also an important part of the local culture, and you can make your own bar by booking a course in one of the workshops.
The South of France
The South never ceases to seduce tourists and companies on business trips. Between pissaladières, fougasses, calissons, aïoli, tapenades, tian, croquants aux amandes and perfectly ripened fruit, rugby players and tourists alike will be able to fortify themselves for the coming matches!
With Nice, Toulon, Avignon, Montpellier, Perpignan and Toulouse as base cities, here’s what you can experience in just a few of them over the course of a weekend.
With its medieval history, Avignon has a lot to offer. The world-famous Pont d’Avignon, walks on the city’s hills and the Palais des Papes, make for a very pleasant and rewarding city experience, whatever the season. What’s more, by the time the World Cup arrives, the warm season will be over and autumn will be in full swing. This will be the perfect time to enjoy the terraces, the milder temperatures and the city lights at sunset.
Montpellier is a young, dynamic city that appeals to all generations. Two worlds meet in the modern city centre and the old town. Stroll through the pedestrianised centre and admire the architecture of the Opera and the marble-clad Place de la Comédie. If you continue on to the Charles de Gaulle promenade, you’ll enjoy the shade of the plane trees that are so emblamatic in this part of France. On the other side, Ecusson (the other name for the old town) is full of craft shops, bars and terraces, all perfectly integrated into the winding streets that make up this district.
Toulouse, also known as the Pink City (due to the pink-orange colour of its infrastructure), is not only the home of sporting events, although Toulousans are nationally renowned for their passionate support of their favourite team at matches. It is also famous for its aeronautical culture. With museums dedicated to aeroplanes and rockets, the city discovered its passion for aviation when Airbus made its first flight from Toulouse-Blagnac airport in 1972. But that’s not all. The city is full of beautiful districts where restaurants, bars and joie de vivre abound. Discover the districts of Saint-Etienne, des Carmes, Saint-Aubin, Bourse-Daurade and experience Toulouse as it should be.
After the north, south-east and south, the western Cape is home to the towns of Libourne, Lormont, La Rochelle / Île de Ré, La Baule Escoublac, Perros Guirrec. Whether you’re travelling to one of these towns with your company to support your rugby team, or you’re looking for a bit of sports tourism, some of these towns should appeal to you. Here’s a selection.
The towns of Libourne and Lormont are close to Bordeaux, so it’s easy to get there by train or car. And this city has a thousand and one facets to offer its visitors. As the wine capital of the world and the centre of French gastronomy, Bordeaux’s châteaux, estates and vineyards exude a sense of the good life. Locals and tourists (even business travellers) love it for its culinary and artistic diversity: wine bars, wine cellars to visit, restaurants with terraces and an exceptional architectural heritage with more than 400 historical monuments. Don’t miss the old Hôtel de Ville, the Basilique Saint-Michelle, the Grosse Cloche, the Cathédrale Saint-André or the Couvent des Annonciades. Just walking through the streets of this town is a journey through the history of the country and its wine economy.
Île de Ré
As you head up the coast, the Île de Ré comes into view. This is one of France’s best-known and most popular islands. It can be reached by car via a bridge almost 3 km long. This small island of just 85km2 has a long maritime history thanks to its salt marshes and numerous small beaches. It features a lighthouse and a fort built by Vauban during the reign of Louis XIV, between 1681 and 1691. These two monuments can be visited and their stories told during a guided tour. Being an island, a fishing port with a boat tour and tasting of local produce is also available.
The last base town on the coast is in Northern Brittany, at Perros Guirrec. This is where you’ll find the impressive pink granite coastline. This seaside town is striking for the beauty of its scenery. Here, you’ll find fields strewn with rocks, also made of pink granite and sculpted by erosion. And in the distance, the 7 islands are accessible via sea excursions.
Finally, to round off our tour of France’s World Cup host cities, we come to the Paris region with Tours, Versailles, Croissy sur Seine and Rueil Malmaison.
Less than an hour from the capital and its environs by public transport, it’s easy to reach the main monuments and attractions of the Paris region: the Château de Versailles, the Bois de Boulogne with the Louis Vuitton Foundation and the Bois de Vincennes.
If you want to see most of the sights of Paris in a weekend, without missing a single match, you can get off at the Javel-André Citroën metro station (line 10) and walk along the Seine to the Jardin des Plantes. Along the way, you can admire the Ile aux Cygnes, the Jardins du Trocadéro on one side and the Eiffel Tower on the other. You’ll pass the bateaux-mouches, the Invalides, the Pont Alexandre III and the side of the Champs Elysées while staying on the quays. The ginguettes and terraces on the quayside can be used for a short break. Once you’ve crossed the Pont de la Concorde, you’ll come to the Jardin des Tuileries and the Louvre, before finally arriving at Notre-Dame de Paris. Walk down to the Panthéon and then to the Luxembourg Gardens. In just one day, you’ll have seen the capital’s most important monuments. What’s more, as you stroll along the quays of the Seine, you’re likely to come across antiquarian booksellers selling a few nuggets of French literature, as well as collectors’ magazines and cards.
If you prefer a more cultural visit, the Musée Grévin, the Musée d’Orsay, the Musée de l’Armée, the Musée Rodin and the Centre Pompidou may be of interest.
As rugby celebrates its 200th year, the stage is set for this year’s Rugby World Cup to be a truly special experience for players, fans and spectators alike.