Lyon Olympique Universitaire, better known as LOU is Lyon’s professional Rugby Union team that presently competes in the “Top 14” division, which is the highest level of France’s league system. 

The club was founded in 1896 and takes to the field in red and black. In 2017, following its vacation by the Olympique Lyonnais football team, LOU moved to the Matmut Stade de Gerland.

LOU Rugby

Formed in 1896 making it one of the oldest rugby clubs in all of France, LOU Rugby turned professional in 2002 when it entered the Pro D2 (French second division). Today LOU is proud to be considered one of the best teams in the Top 14, and plays its home matches in Lyon’s iconic Stade de Gerland.

Recent success

In 2002,  LOU Rugby won this year the Fédérale 1 championship (the French 3rd division) and entered the newly emerging world of professional rugby union.

LOU continued to develop following its accession to the Pro D2 (French 2nd division) in 2002 and in fact won this league in 2011, 2014 and 2016. The fact that LOU won the second division three times in quick succession, does of course indicate that during this time they were somewhat of a “yoyo” team, bouncing between divisions 1 and 2. Since 2017 however, LOU has avoided relegation and managed to establish itself as a very solid team in the Top 14, which is one of the most competitive rugby union leagues in the world.

The Stadium

In recent years it has been referred to as “Matmut Stadium Gerland” for sponsorship purposes, but for any tourist who is asking directions and keen to practice their French it should be noted that the Lyonnais continue to refer to it by its traditional name, the “Stade de Gerland”.

From 1950 to 2015 the stadium was the headquarters of Lyon’s professional football club, the Olympique Lyonnais. For local people, the old stadium is still more associated with its football history than rugby, but LOU are now proudly writing a new chapter. 

Commissioned by Mayor Édouard Herriot in 1912, local architect Tony Garnier was accorded the responsibility of designing and supervising the construction of a new municipal stadium for Lyon. Construction began in 1914 but due to the outbreak of the First World War it was not concluded until 1919 (and in fact with assistance from a large number of German Prisoners of War). In 1926, the inauguration of the Stade de Gerland was conducted by Mayor Herriot.

The stadium originally featured a cycling track, but this was later removed to facilitate an increase in seating capacity. Further renovations were made in 1984 prior to the UEFA European Championships, and in 1998 before the FIFA World Cup, at which time all remaining standing areas were converted to seating.

Stade de Gerland is today recognised by UEFA as a “Category three” stadium and hosted matches for the Rugby League World Cup in 1972, UEFA Euro 1984, the 1998 FIFA World Cup, and the 2007 Rugby (Union) World Cup, together with a large number of major rock concerts.

Currently, capacity is 35,000. It is fair to say that Lyon is more of a “football town” than a true rugby heartland, but this has the silver lining of meaning that the stadium is rarely full when LOU play and tickets are almost always available. 

LOU Ladies

Lou Rugby Féminin has existed since 2008 and competes in the Élite 1 division, which is the highest level of female rugby in France. The ladies play at the nearby Plaine des Jeux de Gerland. Entry to matches is free.


The times and dates of LOU’s upcoming matches can be viewed on the club’s official website; 


The large size (in French rugby terms) of the Stade de Gerland, matches rarely sell out. Tickets can be bought online from LOU’s own website;

Tickets also go on sale on matchdays from the booths outside the stadium (opening 1 hour and 30 minutes before kick off).


Lowest category ticket prices start from €15.00, however this is very much dependent on the clash concerned. For the biggest games of the season, for example, the cheapest tickets start at €40.00, with the best seats costing up to €65.00. Concession rates are available.


If travelling by metro, the Stadium is located less than 100m from the conveniently named metro station “Stade de Gerland” (Metro line B). 


353, Avenue Jean-Jaurès, 69007 Lyon