Last year, it was the French Grand Prix. Now, another top sporting event looks to have its sights set on the beet fields of eastern Marne-la-Vallée.
The president of the French Tennis Federation (FFT) has suggested that the French Open — the Tournoi de Roland-Garros — may in fact be heading away from the capacity-starved Stade Roland-Garros to a new home, out of the city smoke… at Disneyland Paris.
Picked up in the local pages of the Le Parisien website, the story began in a French weekly titled “le 10 Sport” where the FFT president, Jean Gachassin, said he could envisage the Grand Slam tournament moving to a new location either at Sarcelles in Val d’Oise or… “Eurodisney”.
Completely unrelated, a publicity event earlier this year saw
Main Street become a full-size tennis court
Whilst Disneyland Paris had yet to respond to Le Parisien‘s request for comment, it transpires that the most likely location could in fact be at Val d’Europe, the modern town and shopping centre development led by the Euro Disney S.C.A. group next to the main resort centre.
Jean-Paul Balcou, president of the Val d’Europe SAN (syndicat d’agglomération nouvelle) public body, stated that it was simply a matter of proposals to the Euro Disney operating group, adding that the conglomeration of towns was “completely favourable” to such a move.
He confirmed that “one of the plans envisaged would see the tournament based not far from the [Val d’Europe] RER station at the heart of the town centre, between the communes of Chessy and Serris”.
Val d’Europe location relative to the parks
In 2008, fierce rumour of the Formula 1 French Grand Prix moving from Magny-Cours to a new home literally slap bang in the middle of our prized resort rang frightening true when plans were ultimately revealed.
With seemingly no regard for the theme parks, hotels — or towns — nearby, the circuit would have cut a path just metres from the windows of Disney’s Newport Bay Club and Sequoia Lodge, bringing deafening noise for some of the year and abandoned infrastructure for the rest. Ultimately, it was opposed and thrown out by local councils — the same councils appearing to support wholeheartedly this latest sporting proposal.
Despite construction of a new centre court being scheduled to begin at Stade Roland-Garros in 2010 or 2011, expansion of the sporting facilities there, in the congested 16th arrondissement of Paris, has apparently met with strong opposition from locals and commentators alike.
Should the proposed move come to fruition, and Val d’Europe take the match point from Sarcelles, it would be a huge boon for the town and for Disneyland alike; giving Val d’Europe reason above simply its shopping centre and commuter pads, and bringing a prestigious — and pleasantly hushed — annual sporting fixture within the famous Boulevard Circulaire of Disneyland Paris.
Images: Disney/Google. With thanks to Adam.