Sport activities in Paris

For lifelong sports fans who need a good dose of adrenaline, Paris can supply an ample fix. The French go crazy for soccer, tennis, rugby, and horse racing, among other sports. There are ice arenas, green parks, and some genuinely beautiful swimming pools. Hammams, or Turkish baths, are popular and range from the chichi to the steaminglyauthentic. You could also learn the tricks of the gourmet chef at a cookery school, or play afew rounds of boules. There’s a world-leading array of spectator sports on offer, too,from football to horse racing, not to mention the triumphal arrival of the Tour deFrance in July. Paris St- Germain(PSG), one of France’s best and strongest football teams, is the only major-league club in the city. The capital’s teams also retain a special status in the rugby and tennis worlds, and horse racing is a serious pursuit. Probably the biggest deal, however, is cycling.

Ball Games

AccorHotels Arena hosts all manner of sporting events – basketball, handball,hockey, boxing- as well as gigs from the likes of Ed Sheeran and Lady Gaga. It holds twenty thousand people, so you've got a fair chance of getting a ticket at the entrance.

Horse Racing

Paris has an army of avid horse-racing fans who get to the city’s eight racetracks whenever possible. News on races is available in newspapers like L’Equipe; you can buy them atParis kiosks, you can also check the information online at www.france-galop.com.The week starting the last Sunday in June sees a variety of big racing events near Paris, at St-Cloud and Chantilly, and within the city at Vincennes andLongchamp in the Bois Du Boulogne. The Hippodrome de Longchamp is the epicenter of Paris horse racing. It was established in 1855 during the dictatorial and pleasure-loving reign ofNapoleon III. It’s the most prestigious track.

Tennis

A major tennis tournament,The French Open , takes place over two weeks between late May and early June in the Roland GarrosStadium in the 16th Arrond. Tickets should be purchased well in advance for this world-scale tennis event; You can buy tickets online.

Boules

The classic French game, boules (or pétanque), is a common sight on balmy summer evenings in many of the city’s parks and gardens. You could search for “Terrain de boules” onparis.fr to find a court near you, but you’ll undoubtedly see it played at the Arènesde Lutèce, Jardindu Luxembourg and the Bois de Vincennes.

Cycling

The French are mad about cycling, and Parisian cyclists are benefiting hugely from the city’s commitment to reducing pollution on the streets. The Vélib’ bike-rental scheme goes from strength to strength, while under the terms of mayor Hidalgo’sPlan Vélothere are now around 700km of dedicated cycle lanes, with double that planned by 2020. Besides, the Paris Respire scheme bans cars from certain roads on Sundays and public holidays year-round, which brings out the cyclists and rollerbladersin force.

Gyms, exercise, yoga, and dance

You’ll find any number of aerobics classes, dance workouts and anti-stress fitness programmesin Paris, along with yoga, t’aichi and martial arts. Many gyms organize their activities in courses or require a minimum month’s or year’s subscription.

Rollerblading and skateboarding

For many years it has been a tradition for thousands of Parisian rollerbladersto meet on Friday nights by the GareMontparnasse before setting off on a demanding three-hour circuit of the city’s streets. You can check out more about the event on pari-roller.com.More serious outing and a popular choice forfamilies takes place on Sunday afternoons; (rollers-coquillages.org)

Popular areas for rollerblading and skateboarding include the space around the Palaisde Chaillot, beside the Place de la Bastille andplace du Palais-Royal; On Sundays, when a number of roads throughout the cityclose to cars as part of the “Paris Respire” scheme, rollerbladerscome out inforce (see paris.fr for the list of routes, complete with maps).

Climbing

The Paris suburbs lay claim to a vast, superb indoor climbing arena, with walls between 8m and 17m high, as well as a bouldering section for climbing without rope or harness. ( Mur Mur Pantinmurmur.fr) The first visit costs €20, then €9 on weekday mornings (€15 weekday afternoons and weekends) for return visits.

Swimming

Paris is currently embarking on a programmeto renovate, modernize and increase in number its municipal pools, with new outdoor pools planned, for example, in the Bassinde la Villetteand on the Seine near ParcAndré-Citroën. The city pools are among the most central and convenient options. Their opening hours vary, with a complicated schedule of early morning, lunchtime and evening sessions, and with more extended hours in summer and during the school holidays; For asearchable list and map of Parisian pools, seemeslieux.paris.fr/ piscines.

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