With thanks to Will Warner and Simon Coleman of Quinssa:
The guide books aren't that kind to Brive or Brive-la-Gaillarde to give it its full name. However those that have been there before remember it as a pleasant enough place, much like any traditional French town. The place is best known for the major rail hub and the rugby team. In the year we won the Shield we beat Brive en route in the quarters with Will Greenwood's try being decisive in a close game.
There is not a screamingly obvious way to get to this game. Brive is a long way north of Toulouse, Bordeaux is probably the same distance to the west. There is a dinky little airport at Brive but it's internal flights only with connections to Paris Orly, but there aren't that many flights. They are operated by Air Littoral. (http://www.travelapplications.com/airlittoral/anglais/accueil.htm). The nearest two airports are Limoges and Lyons, but unless you're then going to hire a car the onwards bit from there could be quite difficult. Bergerac airport is also not that far away, but again it's a difficult onward journey from there.
Limoges is served by Flybe from Southampton and Ryanair from Stanstead.
Lyons is served from Heathtow by BA & Air France and Easyjet from Stanstead.
Bergerac is served from Stanstead by Ryanair.
If you want to fly the best bet for onward connections are either Bordeaux or Toulouse. It's about 2 hours 10 from Toulouse by train direct and about 20 minutes longer from Bordeaux with a short change at Perigueux.
It looks like the best bet will be train. The journey from Paris to Brive is about four hours and the service according to the SNCF web site is pretty good.
How you organise this weekend depends upon the time you have available. Unless you are driving it will be very difficult to get back on the Sunday night. In addition, connections appear to be quite tight for Sunday morning travel thus making it a Saturday to Monday trip. Having the Monday off work is not possible for many supporters so the numbers attending may be down.
Hotels, Brive is quite well served for hotels, but be careful as a few are a bit out of town (to the west) where the motorway is. (http://www.viamichelin.com)
La Truffe Noire is very central but quite expensive, the Mercure is a good 40 minutes out from town, however the Ibis is well placed just to the north of the city centre and appears to be good value. (Only the first five hotels from that website should be considered unless you have a car.)
Some other links that will help you:
Air France: http://www.airfrance.com/uk
If you're travelling to the game, we wish you a safe journey!
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