Running: Get into the race!
Running – at any pace, whether it’s powering along or proceeding at a gentle jog – is a popular sport in Paris. If you want to head out for a run, you’re in the right city: Paris has any number of spots where you can get in a few laps.
Whether you’re a casual runner or in training for a marathon, you’ll find the perfect route for your run. You decide the pace!
Sporty types, hit the track!
To get in some intensive training, you can choose from some 30 athletics tracks. Ready, set, go: we’re off to discover some of the best places to run in Paris and the Paris region.
One of the most popular spots
Stade Charléty is a legendary sporting venue. Although the main track is off-limits to the public, you can do some warm-up laps on an adjoining track. It’s worth a visit at least once in your life, if only to be able to tell your friends: ‘I was there!’
Another must-visit place
The Stade Pershing, built in 1919 is one of the French capital’s oldest sporting venues. Originally a football stadium, it now has a 400-metre athletics track, among other facilities.
Other tracks of the same length are available in Paris, at the Centre sportif Paul-Faber and Stade Paul-Valéry, for example – so you can train like a pro.
If it’s raining, but you’d still like to get your exercise
Stade Joseph-Maigrot is the place to go. Popularly referred to as ‘the temple of athletics’, this covered stadium is a good indoor running option in bad weather.
If you’d like to get some fresh air while you keep up with your training
There are two woods in Paris, known as the city’s ‘green lungs’; both of them have an athletics track. To the east of Paris, there’s the Centre sportif Léo-Lagrange in the Bois de Vincennes. In western Paris, head to the stadium at the Auteuil racecourse in the Bois de Boulogne.
Why not add a touch a colour to your running workout? The Centre sportif Jules-Noël at Porte de Châtillon in the 14th arrondissement has a 365.5 m track, and all the lanes are in shades of blue.
Running: Get into the race! Make Paris your running playground !
- Download for free the app Runnin'City and discover Paris by sport.
- Several apps are available to help you track your performance, including Runtastic, Strava and Endomondo.
- If you’d like to find someone to run with – an option that’s increasingly popular in Paris – sign up on a website like Meetup or Jogg.in
Tennis: Game, set and match
There are plenty of places where you can swing a racket in Paris. You’ll find somewhere to play tennis wherever you happen to be staying – the city has no fewer than 175 public courts at 43 different municipal sports centres. The Marais, the Butte-aux-Cailles, Belleville: when it comes to choosing a location, the ball is in your court!
If you’d like to play a match in an unusual spot, you’ll find some unique courts in Paris. The French capital has many courts, both public and private, in spectacular and unusual places: like the Tennis de l’Atlantique (15th) above the railway lines at the Gare Montparnasse, or the Tennis Club de Saint-Louis (you have to register to play), tucked away within the Hôpital Saint-Louis in the 10th arrondissement. To play amid greenery, head to the tennis courts at the Jardin du Luxembourg (6th) or Le Fonds des Princes gym (16th), a stone’s throw from the legendary Roland-Garros stadium. Or why not go back in time and discover the ancestor of modern tennis at the wonderful Club du Jeu de paume (16th), where you can play a game of squash in stylish surroundings (booking required).
- To book a public tennis court in Paris: www.paris.fr/tennis
- To find a tennis partner: www.partennis.com
Get set to experience football mania in Paris! Football will be front and centre throughout the country this year, France being the host country for the 15th edition of the UEFA EURO 16. The festivities will kick off at the Stade de France on 10 June, with the opening match pitting France against Romania.
Paris will be in the grip of Euro fever for the entire duration of the tournament, with many amateur players attempting to imitate the exploits of champions such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
If you’d like to play a game of football in Paris, you won’t have to look far – the city has no dearth of choice spots for kicking a ball around.
An informal game
Get some friends together for a game and head to one of the many public parks where football playing is allowed, like Parc de la Villette, Parc André-Citroën, the Champs-de-Mars and the esplanade at Les Invalides.
There are also a number of ‘city stades’ (city stadiums) dotted through Paris, which are perfect for an informal game. Located in the middle of town, these neighbourhood sports centres can accommodate two teams ofup to five players. You’ll find them in every Paris district. Ones to try: the city stade de Bercy at the Parc de Bercy, the city stade du jardin Anna-Marly, in a hanging garden built over the ring road, and the city stade du Champ-de-Mars at the foot of the Eiffel Tower.
Play like a pro
Ambitious amateurs seeking to replicate a professional league match under real-life conditions are spoilt for choice: there are 32 football stadiums and 60 pitches spread through Paris.
To play in a stadium, head to the edges of the city. There is a stadium at every ‘gateway’ to Paris, just outside the ring road – north, south, east and west.
Follow in the footsteps of major French clubs at the Stade Elisabeth: this stadium at Porte d’Orléans hosted Red Star’s first match, while the Stade Déjerine at Porte de Montreuil is the home ground of Paris FC.
Then there is the Stade Pershing in the Bois de Vincennes, a popular spot for Sunday matches. And, to play in an spectacular setting, try the Stade Émile-Anthoine, which offers a superb view of the Eiffel Tower.
Feel like changing the rules? Forget about the usual football eleven and expanse of grass; say hello to five-a-side football, played on artificial turf.
This sport has really taken off over the past few years, and indoor pitches have sprung up all over Paris and Ile-de-France. Many companies offer facilities where you can play five-a-side games, among them Urban Soccer, Le Five and Soccer Park. However, these venues are not free: you will have to pay an entrance fee.
- Use the free website Footinho to organize a friendly match and find players in your area.
Swimming pools: Take the plunge!
Paris has an exceptionally large number of public swimming pools: nearly 40 pools situated all around the city, including some 20 pools open until 8pm or later at least one evening a week (opening hours change in July and August). Swimmers can choose their preferred environment: a historical atmosphere at the Piscine des Amiraux (18th) or the one in Butte-aux-Cailles (13th), a family-friendly pool at the Espace sportif Pailleron (19th), and all night long at the Piscine Pontoise (5th), plus of course the Joséphine Baker floating pool, moored at the Quai François-Mauriac (13th).
There are also several Olympic-size pools, 50 metres long, including the Piscine Blomet (15th), the Piscine Georges-Vallerey (20th) and the Piscine Georges-Hermant (19th): perfect for doing some laps!
In the suburbs
The Nogent Nautique pool in Nogent-sur-Marne (94) is the place to go. This is a superb 51-m Olympic-size pool, open-air and heated, and you can test your mettle by jumping off the 10-m-high diving board. Another Olympic-size pool well worth trying is the one at the Palais des Sports in Ile de Puteaux (92). Also in the Hauts-de-Seine ‘département’, don’t miss the Centre aquatique de Neuilly-sur-Seine, which is very popular with Ile de France residents. It has three indoor pools and one outdoor pool, a solarium, a fitness and relaxation centre, an aquatic garden and much more: a paradise for swimmers!
In fine weather, what could be more pleasant than an open-air swim? Here are details of all the outdoor pools in Paris:
- Developed by the City of Paris, the Paris Piscines app (Google play and AppStore) provides real-time information about all the public swimming pools in Paris: opening hours, closure due to unforeseen circumstances, how crowded the pool is, etc.
Basket: Make a slam dunk!
Want to shoot some hoops? While streetball is popular in Paris, the city also has a number of basketball courts.
The Pigalle Duperré, a basketball court on Rue Duperré in the 9th arrondissement, is the only place of its kind in Paris. With its geometrical, multi-coloured shapes, it is a genuine work of art – a delight for the eyes. But make sure you’re looking good, too: players on this very trendy court are required to follow a dress code.
To play a waterside game
The TEP Jemmapes on Canal Saint-Martin is the place to go. Being narrower than your average court, this non-regulation size court requires quite strenuous playing. Get ready for some serious sport!
To play on a historical court
Try the TEP (physical education training ground) at the Jardins Saint-Paul. This magnificent setting, with a court surrounded by vestiges of the wall of Philippe Augustus dating to the 12th century, makes for a memorable game.
With a fantastic view
For a game in a huge venue with a fantastic view of the Eiffel Tower, head to the Stade Emile-Anthoine. The picture postcard decor is part and parcel of a game here. The basketball court on the Parc du Champs-de-Mars at the foot of the grand old ‘Iron Lady’, as the tower is dubbed, is also worth trying.
In the heart of the city
Shoot some hoops in the heart of the city at the Glacière sports ground located underneath metro line 6. You’d almost think you were in Brooklyn.
And, to follow in the footsteps of a great player
Play a game at the court at the Stade Léo-Lagrange. That’s where Frenchman Evan Fournier, who now plays in America’s elite professional basketball league the NBA, used to train.
Rollerblading, skating, BMX: Go for the glide!
Skating is the perfect urban sport, and in Paris, fans of rollerblading, skateboarding, BMX stunt bikes and kick scooters will find plenty of skateparks and free-to-use surfaces where they can hone their skills. These venues are open seven days a week to adults and children over 6 years old.
The landmark venue is the Espace de glisse parisien in the 18th (EGP 18), one of the biggest indoor skateparks in France. Packed with features spread over a 3,000 m2 expanse, it has all the challenges any blader, boarder or BMX rider could want. Another legendary spot is the Roller parc Bercy in the 12th arrondissement, an 800 m2 indoor space. Also indoor, the Skatepark Jules-Noël is fun to use, and has lights for night skates.
For a really unusual ride, you can’t beat the Espace de glisse rue Léon-Cladel near the Paris stock exchange in the 2nd arrondissement. This highly original skatepark blends perfectly into the urban landscape around it. Well worth a visit!
Street skateboarding spots
The best street skateboarding spots in Paris include the new Place de la République, the Trocadéro esplanade and the square in front of the Palais de Tokyo (regulars have dubbed it the ‘Dome’). To pull some art-inspired tricks, try the Skate Park bowl, a sculpture by Austrian artist Peter Kogler inside Square Robert-Bajac in the 13th arrondissement.
The Paris suburbs too have lots of arenas for skating and rollerblading. The town of Arcueil has the biggest bowl in the entire Ile-de-France region. Other popular spots are located in Courbevoie (92), Clamart (92) and Chelles (77): the last-named town is home to the vast Cosanostra Skatepark.
Popular activity in Paris for years
Rollerblading tours have been a popular activity in Paris for years, and a sizeable number of people show up at weekly outings like the one organized by Pari Roller on Friday evening and the Rollers & Coquillages tour on Sunday afternoon. If you’d like to get in some practice before setting off on a group tour, Roller Squad Institut has regular courses for adults and kids.
More information about rollerblading tours in Paris
Bicycling in Paris : Hop in the saddle
It’s easy to cycle in Paris. The city is well equipped for cyclists – whether you’re an experienced long-distance rider or simply wish to sightsee in the course of a leisurely ride. Paris proper has no fewer than 730 km of protected cycle lanes. And if you want to ride through pastoral scenery, there are 15 km of wooded paths in the Bois de Boulogne, plus a 17.5-km route through the Bois de Vincennes.
If you don’t have a bicycle, no problem
It’s very easy to hire a cycle in Paris. There are bike rental places at all the city’s tourist attractions, and near the railway stations. Some of them also organize guided tours, like Fat Tire Bike Tours and Paris à vélo, c'est sympa. Or you can take it easy and hire an electric bike from Paris Charms & Secrets. Vélib’, the public bike-sharing scheme, is also a great way to sightsee in Paris at your leisure while getting some gentle exercise.
More info about Bicycle hire in Paris
- The Vélib app gives you real-time information on bike availability at docking stations in Paris and 30 surrounding towns.
More info: Vélib' Métropole