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Most Popular Sports in France

France ranks fifth in the world when it comes to sports right after the United States, Russia, China and Germany. Sports play a major role in the French society and various types of sports are played and followed heavily in France. France has hosted several international sporting events such as the FIFA World Cup, Rugby World Cup, and the biggest cycling race, Tour de France. There’s also several tennis events that take place in France such as the French Open, Paris Masters, and the four Grand Slam tournaments. When visiting France, whether you’re on vacation or a business trip, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience, especially if you’re a sports lover. Whether you play sports or are just a spectator, you will love France because of how popular sports are in the country. Here are the most popular French sports.

Soccer

Soccer, known as football to almost every country except the United States, is the most popular sport in France with over 2 million players on their rosters. The French national football team, Les Bleus, is one of the most successful teams in the world. The soccer team’s colors are red, blue, and white, which are also the nation’s colors. Their symbol is known as the coq gaulois, or Gallic rooster. There are many places in France where you can go play soccer, as well as watch it. There are also several competitions throughout the year where national soccer teams play.

Tennis

Tennis court

Tennis is extremely popular in France and there are courts everywhere. If you’re visiting France and want to play, you can usually get a temporary membership at a local club for an affordable price. The most popular tennis clubs in France are the Monte-Carlo Country Club, Nice Lawn Tennis Club, Paris Stade Francais, and Paris Lagardere. In May and June of each year, the French Open is held. The French Open is the largest and only tournament held on clay. France is one of the world’s leading countries in tennis and offers delightful holiday destinations for tennis enthusiasts. The most popular destinations for playing tennis include Paris and the French Riviera including Nice, Monaco, Menton and Cannes.

Basketball

Basketball, the second most popular sport in the world after soccer, is also a big deal in France. French basketball teams have played nationally and internationally since 1936, when men’s basketball first became part of the Olympic Summer Games. Although French basketball history has had many ups and downs, France has won the World Championships 35 times. France’s period of glory in the history of basketball started in the late 1940s and ‘50s. The French basketball team won an Olympic silver medal in London at the 1948 Olympics. Since then, the French national basketball team has left their mark in competing internationally over the years, and even many French nationals have entered to play in the NBA.

Judo

Judo, ancestral martial art, is a super popular French sport and is actually considered the most educational sport for children. Judo is a required course in some public primary schools. France has three times more Judo club members than Japan even though the French population isn’t nearly as big as Japan’s. The sport is practiced by 600,000 people in France, and to date, French judoka have won 147 World Championship medals and 48 golds. Judo may be the fourth most popular sport in France, but it wasn’t always mainstream. At first, it was difficult for the French population to understand because it was coming from Japan, however, that all changed due to the prevailing values seen in the sport.

Skiing

Skiing

Skiing is very popular in France and for many years, the United States held the crown as the world’s most popular ski destination until 2012 when France took that spot. Chamonix-Mont-Blanc is the oldest and largest French winter-sports resort and the destination of the first Winter Olympics that were held in 1924. Today, there are numerous ski resorts full of five star amenities that thrive on showing tourists a great time. Even if you can’t ski, many resorts offer ski lessons that will teach you everything you need to know about the sport.

All in all, France, like many other countries, is very well-rounded when it comes to sports. The French have a taste for the popular sports mentioned above, as well as other hobbies and sports such as cycling, racing, and horseback riding. If you are into any of these activities, France is the place to be. When it comes to hobbies and sports, I enjoy watching an intense football match, as well as trying my luck at a spinning game or rummy. Seeing as to how there are many places in France to enjoy some football and several major casinos in the area, it’s no wonder that sports and gaming fanatics like myself really enjoy the country.