What ?? You haven't already heard of the famous POPB ??? Such a shaaaaame !!!
POPB means "Palais Omnisport de Paris-Bercy": it's one of the most famous places to watch any kind of sports and tournaments among the best ones that happen in Paris... For instance, the Tennis Masters Series Tournament of Paris, or even surfing, volleyball, icegliding, martial arts ... everything !!!
Equipment: Don't forget your eyes !!!
Every May at Roland Garros Tennis stadium the 2nd grand slam of the calendar year takes place near Paris. It is the only one of the majors to be played on the red clay.
Matches can be 4-5 hours long because the red clay is a slow surface which makes outright winners almost impossible.
Bit of Trivia: Roland Garros is the name of a French WWI fighter pilot who was shot down and killed in a field where the stadium now stands.
Also, matches are televised beginning with the early rounds. Check local listings.
One more thing, the French fans are known for being very hostile towards non European players, or players they just don't care for. In the 2000 final the crowd turned nasty towards Martina Hingis and brought her to tears.
Well, no need to say Roland Garros is one of 4th most famous tennis tournament in the world, and the 1st one on clay. Many players reigned here, Borg, Agassi, Kuerten, Bruguera... some never took the magic sesame: Sampras, Becker, Edberg...
For those fond of tennis, this will be an unforgetable experience. This year it will be from May 28 to June 10.
I have been there twice and loved it.
The other big ATP tournament is Bercy. Nothing to compare with Roland Garros, since it is an indoor tournament and is played on quick (not clay). Bercy is one of the Master series tournament, which means one of the biggest of the year, which also means you will find excellent players there.
This year it will be held from October 29 to November 6.
The beginning of the French Open of Roland Garros usually precedes the sunshining times in Paris... The tennis courts are situated at the Porte de Saint Cloud, in the XVIth district... And even teddy bears take some time to watch the best tennis players on TV...
If you are a tennis player or fan then a visit to Roland Garros in southwest Paris is very rewarding. My reward on the day of my spring visit was seeing Mary Pierce stretch her legs and watching Amelie Mauresmo play a warm-up match.
It all started with the English grounds tour which began at 11:00. There are two other tours conducted in French. You are introduced to the bronze statues of the 4 French Musketeers who defeated the Americans and won the Davis Cup six consecutive times. (Photo #2 is the stylish René Lacoste.) Then you are led to the outer courts, where you might glimpse a top player practicing on the red clay. I went three weeks before the French Open, so both Mary Pierce and Amelie Mauresmo were present during my tour.
Next you are led around to the players entrance area and the press rooms. There are separate interview rooms for the champion and loser; one big and the other is much smaller. In the players entrance area is one of the few signs that is in English without a French translation: "No dogs allowed" Evidentally it was Arantxa Sanchez who always brought her 2 dogs to Paris, aptly named "Roland" and "Garros" but the new rule was not established until some time after Serena Williams brought her pitbull terrier, which she named "Bambi".
The highlight of the tour is when you get to go inside the ladies dressing room. You'll hear an anecdote about the guy who hid naked inside a locker. Speaking of lockers, Steffi Graf always insisted on using locker #19 and after retirement she actually took the auspicious number with her. Now you can see locker 18-B where Steffi wanna-be's currently undress. (Photo #3)
The guide also mentioned that at the beginning of the French Open tournament in 2005 there were nearly 25,000 towels but by the end of the tournament only about 6000 remained. Professional tennis players stealing towels? "Zut alors!"
Equipment: Afterwards you are taken to the Court Philippe Chatrier, where the French Open championship is played. (You are also welcome to visit the Suzanne Lenglen court after the tour.) The tour guide's narration was very good and the 90 minute stroll was over too soon for me. I highly recommend the grounds tour of Roland Garros but get there early because there is only one English tour per day and it begins at 11:00.
The Tenniseum is the multi-media tennis museum at Roland Garros with many video exhibits. Aside from videos, there are only a few tangible items of historical interest and they really aren't that interesting. (As I write this tip I can't even recall what they were.) I suppose I'm just not a multimedia man as the multitude of monitors just didn't do much for me. A small library features tennis books from around the world including older Japanese animation. You can pick up free brochures at the library desk featuring detailed introductions of famous French tennis stars including Yannick Noah and Francois Durr.
I highly recommend the grounds tour of Roland Garros but found the new Wimbledon tennis museum in England much better in comparison. (See my Wimbledon page.) My advice: skip the Tenniseum and gift shop (overrated) and spend more time walking the grounds on your own.
Each year at the end of October, the Masters Series tournament in Paris gives you a good oportunity to see good tennis players cheaper and easier than going to Roland Garros for the French Open. I went in 2005 and saw Roddick (pictured), Lubicic, Berdych, the Bryan Brothers, and more. It's good indoor tennis and tickets aren't hard to come by. They play at the Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy.
One of four tennis "Grand Slam" tournaments, and the only one that's played on clay. I'm not particularly much of a tennis fan, but I thorougly enjoyed my day at Roland Garros.
The tournament takes place every year in late May/early June. I went on promotional day, where for 9 euro you were free to enter and exit all of the stadiums as much as you please, with the exception Phillipe Chatrier (Center Court). Turned out to be a great time; the 8 or so hours I spent there went by in a flash. Check out the website for details about future tournaments and promotions.
Bottom-line: Great for sports fans.... the world's best tennis played at one of the world's most celebrated sites. However, for most days, even general admission can get expensive.
There's no need to be Serena Williams or Andre Agassi to pla tennis in Paris. Though in this case obviously nobody will let you do so at Rolland Garros during the tournament :))
But there are municipal courts you might use, if you do not wish to pay huge court rental fees for private clubs. To play on municipal courts you have to apply for a Carte Paris-Tennis from the Mairie, the city authorities, I mean. With French beaurocracy it might be a hazard to your health and sanity but, if you survive, you'll be able to enjoy the courts as if you where a local. The rent is 6 euros at day and 9 euros at night, becuase of the floodlight. But keep in mind that in evening it might be more comfortable to play
since it is cooler.
yeah I dont think they will let you hit some balls at Roland Garros ::)
another site from the city of Paris listing their tennis courts is at
in French of course
Equipment: to watch or to buy at courts
At last! We made it. Getting tickets was touch and go. Next time we will have to look into it much earlier and more extensive.
I spend a great day at the courts. There is enough to see and do. Getting here on the first day meant we were able to see a dutchie playing. Yeah! She lost but that wasn't due to the audience.
Equipment: You are allowed to bring some things to the ground but you receive also a mail with what certainly not to bring. The obvious ones, no guns, knifes, vuvuzela's but also less obvious ones as large bottles of water (1,5 ltr), flags and prams.
I would advice bringing some food and drink because the food and drink on the grounds is on the expensive side
Spending some day(s) watching Roland-Garros tennis matches ... That would be the ultimate Paris sport event to attend for me. Why ?
- Tennis is a passion. Used to be an Edberg & Graff fan. Those were my idols from when I started until the 90s. Later on, there were other top-players I use(d) to admire. Name Seles, Ivanisevic, Sampras, Hénin-Ardenne, Federer.. etc.. Strange enough, amongst those male top-players I use to admire, Federer was the only to have won RG titles. Great he seems to have just started his reign. ;
- The tournament is in Spring & Spring is the best time to live in European cities for me, at least, Paris & Brussels. As Roland-Garros is an "outdoor" tournament, I think it would be a great time in Paris;
- I still love clay tennis as it allows more room for the show. Exciting fights, esp. when you see Nadal playing.
Btw, did you know that watching RG tennis matches as a kid was one of factors which had convinced Justine Hénin-Ardenne to give the professional tennis playing a try ? And what a try... Good & wise decision from her Mom to bring her there.
Equipment: Not too casual as the Porte d'Auteuil fauna is quite chic. I would even recommend sport chic. Plus, it is not unusual to see business suits in Porte d'Auteuil as some would spend some hours there after work.
Anyway, it is not that you attend tennis matches that you should sport bulky trainers & sweatpants. ;-)
Bring raincoat & umbrella & sunglasses.
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