Sports in Paris
You may know the Roland Garros tennis tournament in June and the Tour de France cycling race, with its final stage on the Champs Elysees Avenue end of July.
Sports is certainly an overlooked side of Paris. The lesser known Paris International Marathon in April is a populare evnt. The Paris Masters (also called Paris Tennis Open) in November are a top ATP competition. On top of these first class sports events, it is always possible to practise sports in Paris: swimming pools, tennis courts, sports and fitness centers like Aquaboulevard are widely available. Many people jog in Paris parks and forests. With Velib, it is now possible to easily rent and ride bicycles everywhere in Paris, combining sports and sightseeing.
With over 60 miles / 100 km of cycle lanes in the city, cycling in Paris is becoming a popular and convenient way to travel around. Free leaflets detailing all cycle routes are readily available from town halls, tourist information offices and also bicycle rental shops. Bikes can be rented either by the hour, day, weekend or week, but if you want a bike on Sunday, it is often best to reserve one in advance. Some bicycle rental shops also offer excellent half-day cycle tours, covering a variety of different routes.
Towards the end of June, the route of the grand finale of the Tour de France runs along the quais of the Rive Droite, before eventually crossing the finishing line in the Champs Élysées.
There are many municipal and privately run swimming pools in Paris. Municipal pools are often closed at set times during the week, so that nearby schools can have exclusive use of the facilities and so you should always consult the timetables beforehand. Most are closed all day on Monday. Privately run pools tend to be twice as expensive and some have wave machines or waterslides, and they are often part of vast sports complexes.
Jogging / Paris Marathon
When jogging in Paris, there are many parks that are particularly popular places to jog, such as the Jardin du Luxembourg. These provide varied runs and are ideal, as most of the pathways are fairly flat. If you are jogging on the pavement, take great care of the traffic.
Fitness Clubs and Paris Gyms
Gymnasiums are very popular throughout Paris and most offer aerobics classes, dance workouts and a variety of fitness programmes, as well as yoga, martial arts and t'ai chi. Many also have saunas, solariums and Turkish baths (hammans), which are more luxurious versions of the traditional Swedish sauna.
The classic French game is played throughout Paris and there are many areas to play dotted around the city's parks and gardens, often rough or covered in sand. This is a very social game and is played with metal balls and a wooden marker.
The Paris Marathon is held every May and starts at the Place de la Concorde. This is a popular sporting event in the city and is watched by crowds of cheering people. There is a shorter race that takes place in October - Les 20km de Paris - which starts and ends at the famous Eiffel Tower.
The Prix de la République and the Grand Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe are the biggest horse races in Paris. They are held on the first and last Sunday in October at Auteuil and Longchamp. At the end of June there are many big racing events at these venues and also at St-Cloud and Chantilly.
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