This is the Parc des Princes, a striking concrete stadium that is home to Paris Saint Germain FC and used to be the venue for France's national football and rugby teams until the Stade de France came along. PSG is one of the best-supported and most successful clubs in France, and has a deadly rivalry with Olympique de Marseille. When Marseille aren't in town, the Paris hooligans resort to fighting amongst themselves. For PSG has an unusual problem: two rival factions of thugs who hate each other as much as everyone else.
The situation originates from the late 1980s and was unwittingly created by the club itself. Concerned by the behaviour of racist 'ultras' at the Boulogne end of the ground, PSG encouraged the creation of a rival 'kop' at the other end, the Tribune Auteuil, presumably to marginalise the troublemakers. Instead this resulted in a new problem - the Auteuil area became the home of multicultural PSG supporters who were unwelcome in the predominantly white Boulogne tribune. Facing each other at opposite ends of the pitch every home game, it's not difficult to see how animosity grew in a city with explosive racial tensions. Eventually this spilled over into violence and finally tragedy - in 2010 a 'Boulogne Boy' was killed in a fight with the Auteuil faction. The club has responded with an 'All PSG' initiative - banning groups of ultras, changing ticketing arrangements and encouraging more women to attend games. Thankfully there was no sign of trouble on the night we were there, but much grumbling from the locals as Lille OSC clinched the point they needed to win the French league title.
The great divide...signs point to the Auteuil and Boulogne tribunes
The Tribune Auteuil displays an anti-racism banner at the PSG-Lille game