Fans pour into Paris fan zone to ring in the Euro 2016

Hundreds of fans poured into the Paris fan zone under the Eiffel Tower on Thursday, for an inauguration celebration and concert on the eve of the Euro 2016 football championship kick-off.

Security was tight around the Champ de Mars, the public garden that has been cordoned off to receive up to 92,000 people. Fans went through multiple checks by police and security guards, and a wide perimeter had been blocked off with crowd control barriers.

But inside the zone, and under the blazing sun, the mood was festive. "I just came out to see the ambience; I'm a big football fan but also wanted to see the concert," said 31-year-old Johann Murtas.

French electronic DJ David Guetta was performing in the evening on a stage under the iconic tower.

Asked if he was concerned about security threats, Murtas said life had to continue. "We are from Paris, this hasn't changed anything for us," he said.

Victoria Berrio, 27, also came to see the concert - and not the football. She was not a football fan, she admitted with a laugh, but said she would consider returning to the fan zone for more events just for the experience.

Berrio and her friend, 30-year-old Esteban Montenegro, both from Colombia, said they wanted to participate in a French event. "We're from another culture, and we are getting to know French culture," Montenegro said.

His team? Colombia, of course; but for the European championship he planned to root for Germany.

In any case, he will have to wait another day for the matches to start. On Thursday afternoon at the fan zone, the only competition was for who could cheer the loudest.

Last update: Fri, 10/06/2016 - 13:07
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