The All Blacks arrived into Paris’ Gare de Lyon via TGV train on Wednesday, ahead of the opener against the hosts France.
Train travel will be an integral part of the tournament, with transport for sides competing in the Rugby World Cup spread across 70 charter trains and public transport links.
The host nation France is aiming for 88 per cent of fans to arrive by train to games held over the next eight weeks.
With the French captain Antoine Dupont appearing in his other role as an ambassador for national rail provider SNCF, rail travel will be unavoidable during the cup.
“We want rugby to set an example and for low-carbon mobility to be one of the intangible legacies of this competition,” said World Rugby Tournament Director, Michel Pousseau.
Although the All Blacks arrive chastened, after a two place slide in world rankings, the tournament is on track to be the largest in history.
World Rugby expects 900 million viewers for the tournament tuning in across 200 countries.
France expects to see 600,000 foreign visitors for the opener in the Stade de France, according to French press agency AFP.
The value of the tournament is estimated to be worth €2.4 billion ($4.36 billion) - four times larger than when France last hosted the tournament sixteen years ago, in 2007.
With these international rugby fans comes big business for French hospitality.
RWC 2019 upped Japan's beer consumption by 70 per cent. Photo / 123RF
The cost of a beer at RWC 2023
Sports fans are not the only ones raising a glass to the tournament. The 2019 World Cup in Japan saw the annual beer consumption of the country jump by 70 per cent, according to AFP.
The average price for a pint of beer in Saint Denis is €6.76. This increases to €9 ($16.50) for a beer within the Stade de France.
The average budget for tournament goers is estimated at around €1000 ($1800) per week.
However, there are plenty of free events being held across fan zones at 10 host venues across nine cities, where the 20 competing national teams will play. All vying to be the number one team at the end of the tournament, which finishes on the 28 October. ( Or 8am 29 October, NZ time.)
With 48 matches scheduled across the four corners of France, there is plenty to see.
Here are the host cities in facts and figures:
Bordeaux city is a world capital of wine. Photo / 123RF
In a country known for its wine, Bordeaux is the vineyard of France.
Bordeaux is the county’s largest wine region both by area of vineyards (123,000 hectares) and wine production - about 60 million to 70 million cases of wine produced in a “good year”.
The northern city of Lille is physically and culturally close to Belgium. It is home 4 famous breweries and most popular drink is not wine but beer, served with Moule frites - mussels and fries.
Close to the front lines of the First World War, the stadium is a 50 minute train ride to Le Quesnoy, the site of the new NZMMT and Weta Workshop exhibition where 12,000 New Zealand soldiers served.
Le Quesnoy: 100 years ago the memorial to the New Zealand Division was unveiled, at the site of their final battle in the First World War. Photo / Supplied, NZMMT
The capital of historic Gaulle and current gastronomic capital of France, Lyon is known for good eating. There are over 16 restaurants with Michelin stars. Having popped up around 43 BC - around the time of Asterix and Obylix - it’s an ancient city with many twisting, turning streets. There are almost 400 traboules - mediaeval passages - that tunnel under the city.
France’s second city, as far as Marseille is concerned it is France’s first and foremost city. It’s certainly one of the first to appear - founded in 754 BC it is France’s oldest city. It also lends the country its national anthem “La Marseillaise”. Ironically it was composed in Strasbourg.
The home town of author Jules Verne, Nantes will host guests from around the World for the next 80 days.One of France’s most prolific writers, he penned seventy books beating even Victor Hugo, whose output was a mere 55.
Nice in the South of France is the country's sunniest city. Photo / Getty Images
On the Southern French Riviera, Nice is France’s sunniest city with 330 days of rays. No wonder it’s a perennial favourite among tourists, welcoming 6 million a year even without the RWC.
PARIS & SAINT-DENIS
The Northern suburb of Paris known colloquially as “le neuf trois” for being the 93rd district of Paris. However it was named after France’s premiere martyr who got the chop at Montmartre. Today it is best known as home to the 80,698-seat Stade de France, the largest stadium in France and sixth-largest in Europe.
The French city of Toulouse is nicknamed ‘pink city’ due to the pinkish colour of its buildings. Photo / Getty Images
In South central France Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, this is the city that gave the world the bicycle and the machine gun. While both inventions were hotly contested by neighbours in Germany (particularly circa 1914-18), it’s fair to say, the biciclete would not be what it is today without Saint-Étienne’s fine metalworks. Even while most manufactures go abroad there are around 500,000 bikes still made in the city.
Named the ‘Pink City’ Toulouse is famous for its terracotta buildings. More recently it has been made home by the European Space Centre.
“La Cité de L’Espace in Toulouse” is home to a full-scale 55-metre tall Ariane 5 rocket. You can’t miss it.
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