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Three Sports to Experience in Paris

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When you think about Paris, the first thing that comes into your head is that it is known as the city of love. While this is certainly true, and a reason why many people visit the area, there is a lot more to Paris than a romantic break. Whether you are looking for something else to do while you are on a romantic break, or you are looking for another reason to head to the French capital, there will be something waiting for you in this vibrant city.

Something that is not spoken about too much is the sporting attraction of this city, and if you like sport then there is certainly a lot to do. Whether you are heading specifically for a particular event, or you just happen to drop on something while you are there, a sport is big and relevant in Paris and something that is not spoken about enough.

If you are heading to Paris, or you are thinking about planning a trip to this beautiful city and you want to incorporate sport, here are three places to consider.

Horse Racing

The sport of kings is loved by many people all over the world and Paris is home to one of the best racetracks on the planet. Longchamp has race meetings throughout the summer and the highlight of their season is the Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe, one of the biggest races on the world calendar. Horses from all over the world head to France for this meeting, with many foreign raiders trying to take home the prize money not only in the feature race but also in the accompanying races across the two-day meeting.

The two-day Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe meeting takes place in October, with the headline race being held on Sunday. While crowds are certainly bigger on that day, fans flock to both days over this very special weekend. You won’t just find French people there; expect to see fans from neighbouring countries like England, Ireland and Germany, especially if they have multiple runners to cheer on.

Horse racing is a very relaxed sport in France and if you have experienced racing in any other country around the world then you will certainly notice this. The crowds are informal, and often even the biggest meetings don’t have the same huge crowds that you would see at racing festivals in the UK, for example.

The great thing about heading to a big racing festival is that there is much more happening than just the racing. This means you don’t need to be a huge racing fan to attend. Often, these big festivals have a wide range of activities happening off the track and these can be a big attraction in their own right.

If you do decide to head to Longchamp for a horse racing meeting and you need help picking out horses then Oddschecker offer daily horse racing selections that can help you out. They cover all the big meetings from across the world, so are sure to have an opinion on the big action at Longchamp.

Crowds for big meetings in France are good, but the meetings very rarely sell out. Having said that, it is always a good idea to book tickets in advance for the day you wish to enjoy.

Football

France has always had a very strong football team, but their domestic teams have often struggled against other clubs around Europe. However, Paris Saint-Germain is trying to change that, and they have invested a lot of money into creating a very good football club.

If you are looking to visit Paris and go to a football game in the area then Paris Saint-Germain are the only team to consider. They will offer you the chance to see a world-class top European team while you are in the area, with some big name players on the field.

It was August 2017 when Paris Saint-Germain really showed their intent by signing the Brazilian forward Neymar Jr from Barcelona. He cost them a staggering £200 million, which broke the world record for a transfer fee. He isn’t the only star on show at the French club, but if you do decide to go and watch them play then he is the main attraction that you will want to see.

Football is a passionate sport and if you are a fan, you will no doubt already have your team. However, it is still possible to visit a game as a neutral and enjoy yourself. Often teams that are in big cities or holiday destinations attract casual football fans who are neutrals and not supporting anyone so you will not be alone on your visit.

Unless you plan your visit to the city around a game you want to see, it is pot luck who you will see Paris Saint-Germain take on. You could drop on them playing a huge European game against a giant, or you could see them play a lowly team that are a couple of leagues below in the French Cup.

Regardless of who they play, to experience a game in Paris is special, and something that football fans will love.

Paris Saint-Germain is a big attraction and good crowds will flock to their games, so if you are looking at visiting then be sure to plan and buy tickets in advance for the game you want to see.

Rugby Union

Rugby union is one of the biggest sports in France, and both their national team and domestic league are played to a very high level. The French national team are one of the best on the planet, and regularly contest at the World Cup such is their quality.

Domestically, the French league had big investment a few years ago, which attracted some big names to the league and helped bring interest from all over the world. That is still the case now, and if you go to a domestic French rugby union game then you are sure to see a game played at a very high standard.

There are two teams that play in the French top flight in Paris, these are Stade Francais and Racing 92. Both teams have tasted success in recent years and will provide you with a great rugby experience that will be a highlight of your trip.

Stade Francais are one of the most successful French rugby clubs and play at the very impressive Stade de France. Although rarely full for their domestic games, the stadium is also home to the national team and holds an impressive 80,000 people. If you are looking for a day out at the rugby that is coupled with visiting one of the biggest and best stadiums in the world then Stade Francais are definitely the team to go and watch.

Racing 92 are the other rugby union team to watch in Paris, although they don’t have the same history behind them as Stade Francais. They were formed in 2001 after a merger between two teams, Racing Club de France and US Metro.

This merger brought stability to the club and since then, Racing 92 have performed to a good standard in the French top 14 league. In 2017, they moved to the newly named Paris La Defense Arena, and while this place doesn’t have the same appeal as the Stade de France, it is still a very modern rugby stadium that is well worth a visit.

You can even try playing your sports with the gears as well! A trip to Paris is easy to combine with a rugby union game with two teams playing in the city. If you don’t mind who you watch and you just want to experience a game then you should have no problems finding a game to watch, providing you are in the area when the rugby union season is underway.

About the author

I’m Reshma Narasing. I am an avid dreamer, a bibliophile, a hopeless travel addict, a passionate writer, and a girl who gulps down large mugs of coffee many times a day (yes, caffeine helps!) I dream of traveling to as many places as life takes me. I love to...