Guest piece by Jill Birks
In 2017, OuiAlwaysHaveParis listed some unexpected attractions in Paris. Each of the destinations we featured in that post has its own unique charm, but is surprisingly understated and not as popular as Paris’s iconic landmarks. Now, we shift through gears and give our sporty readers something to peruse for their next Parisian getaway.
Here, we take a look at five of the top sports stadiums in beautiful Paris, France.
Stade de France
We begin this list with France’s national stadium — the Stade de France. Built for the 1998 World Cup, it promptly bore witness to Les Bleus’ first ever World Cup win, with the hosts trouncing Brazil 3–0 in what BBC describes as an anti-climactic final. Two decades later, the historic Stade de France remains as majestic as ever and is even hosting the national French teams for both soccer (football) and rugby. According to Culture Trip, it’s the fifth largest stadium in all of Europe, with a capacity of over 80,000. No wonder it is also known as the Grand Stade!
Stade Roland Garros
The French Open tennis tournament, one of the world’s four Grand Slam competitions, is played in the iconic Stade Roland Garros, located in the 16th arrondissement of Paris. It has 20 clay courts where some of the finest tennis players in history have played, including Rafael Nadal, whose dominance in Roland Garros is the stuff of legend, having won the championship a record 11 times from 2005 to 2018. In two of the three years Nadal failed to hoist the Coupe des Mousquetaires during that 14-year span, he was either recovering from injury (2015) or had to withdraw due to injury (2016). Therefore, the last time he truly lost in Stade Roland Garros was in 2009, against Robin Söderling. In last year’s tournament, Nadal added an unprecedented 11th French Open title to his name.
Le Parc des Princes
Home to the Parisian football team Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), this stadium has hosted pretty much every sort of sporting event, including the Olympics (twice), the World Cup (twice as well), several European Cup finals and over 50 Five Nations Championships. Designed by architect Roger Taillibert, Le Parc de Princes was built in the 1970s and can accommodate 48,000 spectators.
Located right across from the Le Parc des Princes is another jewel of a stadium, the Stade jean-Bouin. The home of the Parisian rugby union club Stade Français (though they also play some of their games in the bigger Stade de France), this stadium opened in 1925 and was named after the French athlete Jean Bouin. It has a seating capacity of 20,000.
The AccorHotels Arena is arguably the best sports and entertainment complex in all of France, largely because it is very much adaptable to all kinds of events. It is, in fact, one of the busiest arenas in the world, ranking just behind the O2 Arena in London and Madison Square Garden in New York City in ticket sales, according to Pollstar. It also will be one of the venues for the 2024 Summer Olympics, which will be held in the City of Light.
Jill Birks is a freelance travel writer. She has traveled extensively around the world, with countries in Europe as her favorite destinations. She particularly fell in love with France, which she considers her second home