When the final whistle blew and France was named the winner of the 21st World Cup, Parisians immediately flocked onto the metro towards the Champs-Élysées in order to march from Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe, while chanting ‘La Marseillaise’, France’s national anthem.
The metro chiefs made public transport free to allow as many people as possible to join the party, which is not uncommon for Paris when the nation comes together to celebrate on days like Bastille Day or New Year’s Eve.
What turned out to be more surprising, however, was the decision to rename six metro stations in honour of France’s World Cup victors. The French coach (Didier Deschamps) features twice among these changes, with Notre-Dame-des-Champs becoming Notre Didier Deschamps and another becoming Deschamps-Élysées Clémenceau.
The Victor Hugo stop, which usually honours the famous writer best-known for his book Notre-Dame de Paris (The Hunchback of Notre-Dame), has been changed to Victor Hugo Lloris, after the France goalkeeper. There’s also Bercy station, which is renamed Bercy les Bleus as a tribute to the football chant ‘Allez les Bleus’.
The final stop to be renamed is Charles de Gaulle-Étoile, now reading On a 2 Étoiles (We’ve got 2 stars), referring to the badge on the team shirt marking two World Cup victories.
France hasn’t had an easy ride over the last few years what with the terrorist attacks and riots, therefore, the capital is clearly keen to cling onto the sense of community and joy inspired by the World Cup win for as long as possible.