- Associated Press - Monday, June 6, 2016

PARIS (AP) - The 51 matches of Euro 2016 are spread across 10 French cities and towns, from Lille in the north to Nice in the south. Here, at a glance, is the low-down on them:

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PARIS:

Quick facts: French capital, seat of government; so-called “City of Light;” France’s largest city; population 2.3 million; famed for romance, museums, gastronomy, architecture, Eiffel Tower and other landmarks.

Stadium: Parc des Princes; home of French League One champion Paris Saint-Germain; built on former royal hunting ground; architect Roger Taillibert’s distinctive concrete structure opened in 1972; capacity expanded to 45,000 and renovated for Euro 2016.

Matches: Turkey vs. Croatia; Romania vs. Switzerland; Portugal vs. Austria; Northern Ireland vs. Germany; one round-of-16 knockout game.

Claim to fame: Engineer Gustave Eiffel’s 324-meter (1,063-foot) tower of wrought iron was the world’s tallest man-made structure when it opened in 1889.

Local dish: With thousands of restaurants, including 92 with coveted stars in the famed Michelin Guide, Paris promises culinary adventure for all tastes.

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SAINT-DENIS:

Quick facts: Multi-cultural northern suburb of Paris; 42 kings, 32 queens and 63 princes or princesses were laid to rest on the site of its magnificent cathedral ; in 1793, four years after the French Revolution, workmen crowbarred open the coffins and tossed royal remains into mass graves; Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a ringleader of terror attacks that killed 130 people and wounded hundreds in Paris last Nov. 13, hid out afterward in a Saint-Denis apartment and died during a police raid.

Stadium: Stade de France; capacity 80,000; built for 1998 World Cup; hosted final where France beat Brazil 3-0; November terror attacks started with three suicide bombings outside the arena.

Matches: France vs. Romania; Ireland vs. Sweden; Germany vs. Poland; Iceland vs. Austria; one round-of-16; one quarterfinal; the July 10 final.

Claim to fame: Stadium will host first and last matches of Euro 2016.

Local dish: Saint-Denis’ market, open three days a week and with 300 stands, is a colorful riot of dishes, flavors and ingredients.

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MARSEILLE:

Quick facts: Mediterranean port; France’s second-largest city after Paris; population of 864,000; had a sulfurous reputation in the 1970s for “French Connection” heroin-trafficking mafia; local team Olympique de Marseille won the first edition of the Champions League in 1993.

Stadium: Velodrome; built to host 1938 World Cup; capacity increased to 60,000 for 1998 World Cup; capacity further increased to 67,000 and modernized for Euro 2016; France’s second-largest stadium, after Stade de France.

Matches: England vs. Russia; France vs. Albania; Iceland vs. Hungary; Ukraine vs. Poland; quarter-final; one semi-final.

Claim to fame: Childhood home of Zinedine Zidane , former star turned coach of Real Madrid.

Local dish: “Bouillabaisse” stew made with at least seven different varieties of fish, served with garlic-flavored toasts called “croutons” and “rouille” mayonnaise with saffron.

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LYON:

Quick facts: France’s third-largest city; 509,000 people; straddles Rhone river, in east-central France between the Alps and Massif Central mountains; founded by the Romans; UNESCO World Heritage site.

Stadium: Stade de Lyon; 59,000 capacity; newly built; opened in January; replaced Gerland stadium, Olympique Lyonnais’ home since 1950.

Matches: Belgium vs. Italy; Ukraine vs. Northern Ireland; Romania vs. Albania; Hungary vs. Portugal; one round-of-16; semi-final.

Claim to fame: Lyon won a French-record seven consecutive League One titles from 2002-2008.

Local dish: “Quenelles ,” soft-dough dumplings shaped using two spoons, served with creamy sauce.

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BORDEAUX:

Quick facts: World-renowned wine industry traces roots back to Roman times; southwestern city of 248,000 people; straddles Garonne river that flows into the Atlantic; stunning architecture, with more protected buildings than any other French city outside Paris.

Stadium: Stade de Bordeaux; newly built; inaugurated May 2015; capacity 42,000; home of FC Girondins de Bordeaux, which last won League One in 2009.

Matches: Wales vs. Slovakia; Austria vs. Hungary; Belgium vs. Ireland; Croatia vs. Spain; quarter-final.

Claim to fame: Wine industry produces 720 million bottles annually and says that every second, 22 bottles of Bordeaux are sold around the world.

Local dish: Fresh oysters from the 315 farms in pristine waters of the nearby Arcachon basin, enjoyed with a squirt of lemon or dash of red-wine vinegar.

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TOULOUSE:

Quick facts: Population 466,000, in France’s rugby-loving southwest; home to France’s most successful rugby union club, Stade Toulousain; Toulouse Football Club is a three-time champion of League Two but has never finished higher than third in League One.

Stadium: Stadium de Toulouse; 33,000 capacity; built for 1938 World Cup; extensively repaired after nearby chemical factory exploded in 2001; renovations for Euro 2016 completed in January.

Matches: Spain vs. Czech Republic; Italy vs. Sweden; Russia vs. Wales; one round-of-16.

Claim to fame: Headquarters of aerospace giant Airbus .

Local dish: “Foie gras,” flavorsome pate from the livers of force-fed geese.

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LILLE:

Quick facts: Former industrial center near France’s northern border with Belgium; population 238,000; former garrison town was besieged multiple times; famed flea-market on first weekend of every September claims to be Europe’s biggest, attracting 2 million visitors; Lille’s team - known as LOSC, initials for Lille Olympique Sporting Club - last won League One in 2011.

Stadium: Stade Pierre Mauroy; capacity 50,000; opened in 2012.

Matches: Germany vs. Ukraine; Russia vs. Slovakia; Switzerland vs. France; Italy vs. Ireland; one round-of-16; quarter-final.

Claim to fame: Birthplace of Charles de Gaulle , World War II leader who later was president from 1958-1969.

Local dish: “Carbonade,” rich stew of beef marinated and slow-cooked in beer.

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LENS:

Quick facts: Smallest Euro host; stadium can hold town’s entire population of 32,000; former coal-mining center.

Stadium: Stade Bollaert-Delelis; capacity 35,000; built by unemployed miners, extensively rebuilt ahead of Euro 2016.

Matches: Albania vs. Switzerland; England vs. Wales; Czech Republic vs. Turkey; one round-of-16.

Claim to fame: Razed during World War I and again severely damaged in World War II.

Local dish: Pungent Maroilles cheese extensively used in regional cuisine.

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NICE:

Quick facts: Balmy vacation spot and port on French Riviera; population 346,000; artist Henri Matisse moved to Nice in 1917 to treat a bout of bronchitis; wowed by the climate, light and surrounds , he stayed and died in his Nice studio in 1954; stadium houses National Museum of Sport.

Stadium: Stade de Nice; 35,000 capacity; opened 2013.

Matches: Poland vs. Northern Ireland; Spain vs. Turkey; Sweden vs. Belgium; one round-of-16.

Claim to fame: Rolling Stones recorded chunks of “Exile on Main St .” at Nellcote villa that Keith Richards rented in Villefranche-sur-Mer on Nice’s outskirts.

Local dish: Aptly named “Socca” pancake made from chickpea flour.

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SAINT-ETIENNE:

Quick facts: South-central city of 175,000; former center of heavy industry and mining ; AS Saint-Etienne was France’s dominant club from mid-1960s to mid-1970s, winning seven League One titles and five French Cups from 1967-1977.

Stadium: Stade Geoffroy Guichard; capacity 42,000; opened in 1931; built on old mine tunnels.

Matches: Portugal vs. Iceland; Czech Republic vs. Croatia; Slovakia vs. England; one round-of-16.

Claim to fame: Hasn’t won League One since last title in 1981, with Michel Platini in midfield.

Local dish: Grated potatoes mixed with eggs and fried.


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