A Frenchman, Italian, Spaniard, Catalan and German share their take on the city with visitors
A series of insider guides to Cardiff created by Visit Cardiff for fans of potential Champions League Final visitors have been racking up tens of thousands of views and engagement from supporters across the continent.
The five written guides and accompanying videos give a unique insight into the Welsh capital from individuals from overseas who’ve made their home in Cardiff, sharing their insider tips so whoever does make it to the Final in June can experience the very best the city has to offer.
From the Frenchman who loves the city’s café culture to the Catalan who calls Cardiff a very ‘human city’; the Spaniard with a tale about a Cardiffian captain in the Spanish Civil War to the Italian who likens Welsh people to Italians because they love to eat, drink, laugh and sing, each gives a bespoke take on the city. There’s even the German with a special word in her native language for how Cardiff makes her feel.
The guides form part of Visit Cardiff’s strategy to create the best possible experience for visitors in the city for the world’s biggest single sporting event of the year.
Heledd Williams, Head of Tourism, Venues and Event Marketing at City of Cardiff Council said;
“With 170,000 people expected to be welcomed to Cardiff on the 3rd June and a live global TV audience of 200 million, the eyes of the world really will be on Cardiff when the Champions League Finals arrive. While Cardiff might be the smallest city to ever host the event, the city is filled to the brim with interesting and exciting things to see, do and experience for visitors.
“In the digital age, it makes sense that hopeful fans researching a trip to the Final would turn to the internet for information. Cardiff really is a global village so we thought the best way to engage with fans from across Europe was to put their compatriots in the starring role, sharing their insider tips. Smart travellers know the best way to see the real side of a city is to learn from a local and that’s part of the reason why our guides have gone down so well on social media and our website.
“The films and guides have been watched and read tens of thousands of times and online engagement has been huge. Fans have really appreciated insider information being created in their own languages. It’s clear that whatever the result of the men’s and women’s semi-finals, we’ll have four passionate sets of foreign fans in the Welsh capital. We want to make sure they’re informed with everything they need to know to make the most of their trip and that they go home happy, regardless of the result, itching to tell others about the experience they’ve had.”
A French Guide to Cardiff
With AS Monaco through to the semi-finals of the men’s competition and Lyon and Paris Saint-Germain well-placed to make the women’s final following semi-final first leg wins over Manchester City and Barcelona respectively, there’s a good chance Cardiff will be welcoming visitors from France come June.
Francis Dupuy has lived in Cardiff for nearly 30 years, having moved here from his native Limoges in southwest-central France in 1989. The restaurateur behind the Chez Francis restaurants in Canton and Penarth.
“The city’s established restaurant and café culture really reminds me of home. For a UK city, it feels very European in the way it mixes business with socialising on the city streets.”
A Spanish Guide to Cardiff
One thing we can be sure of is that a team from Madrid will be lining up on the Principality Stadium pitch come Saturday 3rd June. Miguel Angel Tapia is a Cardiff newbie and pinxto chef at Curado Bar, having moved to the city late last year from his native home town of Málaga in the Costa del Sol.
With tens of thousands of Spanish fans expected to join him in Cardiff, Miguel said;
“I may have only been here a few months, Cardiff has everything I could want from a city: friendly people, endless landmarks to explore and beautiful green spaces – all within walking distance. Although there are big differences between Cardiff and Málaga (mainly the climate!), both cities share the same philosophy of making the most of life all year round, and that for me is what makes the city special.”
He also shared a special tale about a Cardiff-born naval captain who was heroic in the Spanish Civil War: “Cardiff-born Archibald Dickson was a British boat captain who was in command of the freighter named Stanbrook, which was anchored in the port of Alicante in the final days of the Spanish Civil War in 1939. On seeing the thousands of refugees in the harbour, Archibald went against the order he had received from the freighter’s owner not to evacuate civilians and welcomed them on board. In total, he rescued 2,638 Republican refugees who were about to fall into the hands of the pro-Franco side, taking them to safety in French Algeria.”
An Italian Guide to Cardiff
After overcoming Barcelona in the quarter-finals, AS Monaco now stand between Turin team Juventus and a place in Cardiff.
Giovanni Malacrino was born in Reggio Calabria but has lived in Cardiff for the past 35 years. A well-known restaurateur at Giovanni’s in Park Place and on The Hayes.
“Cardiff’s a growing capital city with lots of up and coming opportunities. The Welsh people are also just like Italians – they love to eat, drink, laugh and sing. Plus they love their football.”
A Catalan’s Guide to Cardiff
Although the Barcelona men’s team couldn’t quite make it to the final, despite their dramatic comeback against Paris Saint-Germain, their women’s team will be playing at Cardiff City Stadium if they can overturn a first leg deficit against the same opponents.
Montserrat Prat is the owner of the Catalan restaurant, La Cuina, in Canton but is originally from a small village called Montclar in Catalonia and moved to Cardiff 18 years ago.
“I always like to quote my friend from Barcelona when describing Cardiff: it’s a very ‘human’ city. A capital city that has easy access to all amenities, plenty of spacious and quiet green areas.
“Neighbourhoods are still village-like, friendly and sociable. Its centre is full of Victorian arcades, built during the era of splendour of this city. They hold lovely independent shops. I love strolling the streets and looking at the fabric of the city. You find very singular and foreign stones that stand out in any boundary wall, a sign of its commercial past: it’s the ballast that once filled the empty ships coming to the port from all over the world to be filled with coal and out again. The social fabric is equally multicultural, another inheritance of Cardiff, once the biggest coal port in the world.”
A German guide to Cardiff
Although Cardiff won’t be hosting a German team in a UEFA Champions League Final this year, visitors from Germany can frequently be found on the streets of the Welsh capital. Nina Amthor, originally from Würzburg in Northern Bavaria describes herself as ‘an accidental Cardiffian’.
“I came to Cardiff in 2009 for university and forgot to leave. I love Cardiff because of the people, the way of life and the closeness of everything. We have a word in German- Gemütlichkeit- which is one of those difficult to translate words but describes how I feel about Cardiff. It basically means cosiness, belonging and social acceptance.
“My perfect day in Cardiff would start at the Early Bird Bakery in Cathays for coffee and avocado on toast (their smoky Chipotle sauce makes all the difference). A post-brunch power walk around the lake at Roath Park or the beautiful gardens in Bute Park would be followed by a date with a Renoir at Cardiff Museum. A quirky shop in the old Victorian Arcades, followed by a caffeine stop and people watch in Barker Tea Room or The Plan, with a sunset stroll over the Cardiff Bay Barrage. A night on the town would end up with cocktails at Ten Mill Lane, until 6am (if I’ve got the energy left!).”
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