Whether you feel like a jog in Bois du Boulogne, a pickup basketball game, or some challenging yoga asanas, Paris has it all. The city of Paris encourages its citizens to stay fit and they have a sport section on the mairie’s “Que faire a Paris?” website http://quefaire.paris.fr/sports. You can search by activity, area and date. There are many articles, ideas and links to further information in the informative articles. Also MeetUp is a great resource. Search http://www.meetup.com/cities/fr/paris by sport, location and who is playing.
Fitness centers are popular in Paris and can be found in every neighborhood. They vary in offerings and settings from center to center, but most have modern equipment and offer the latest in fitness trends. There is no center that promotes itself as English-speaking and most classes will be conducted in French. Often, however, you will find staff members who speak English and English-speaking trainers may also be available. Usually, there are various membership options to accommodate individual budgets and needs, from expensive month-to-month packages to year long commitments. Make sure you understand the terms of the contract before you sign, as some centers require 3 months cancellation notice and/or will renew automatically. Also, check to see if there is a discount for neighborhood residents.
- Club Med Gym, http://www.cmgsportsclub.com, 22 facilities thoughout Paris
- Health City, http://www.healthcity.fr, Six locations in Paris
- Forest Hill, http://www.forest-hill.fr, One location at Aquaboulevard in the 15th arrondissement complete with squash and tennis courts, weight rooms, classes and swimming pool. Nine additional locations just outside of Paris.
- Les Cercles de la Formes, http://www.club-gym-paris.fr, Fifteen locations throughout Paris. Membership at one gives access to all of the clubs. Some of these facilities also offer classes ranging from ballet and hip hop to Kung Fu and Viet Vo Dao for kids.
Golf is becoming quite popular in France, but it is expensive, especially on the weekends. To play golf regularly or to obtain a handicap, you must have a permit. Check with the Federation Francaise de Golf, 69, avenue Victor Hugo 75016, 01.44.17.63.00 or visit their website (only in French) http://www.ffgolf.org for information on the regulations and also for information about golf tournaments in the Paris area. You can even order your license on line.
There are no full-sized courses directly in Paris, but there are many throughout Ile-de-France. Some of the private clubs, such as Golf de St-Cloud, have waiting lists of several years and most require recommendations. Many, however, are open to non-members on certain days of the week. You must bring a membership card from your own club and proof of your handicap. Golf shops have information on courses in the region. Ask for the booklet Guide du Golf: Tous les Parcours Francais, which lists all the golf courses in France and gives information about membership and handicaps. Here are some useful addresses to have in Paris:
- American Golf, 35 Bis Rue de l‘Abbé Grégoire 75006, 01.42.22.90.33, http://www.americangolfparis.com; A golf shop with good information and a wide selection of golfing gear.
- Open Golf Club, http://www.opengolfclub.com, A group of golf resorts throughout France.
- Golf du Bois de Boulogne, http://www.golfduboisdeboulogne.fr, The largest golf course in the city of Paris.
Here are some course that are worth a visit to get you initiated into golf, French style:
- Golf Nacional, Avenue du golf, 78280 Guyancourt, 01 30 43 36 00, http://www.golf-national.com; Links-style golf course where the French Open is played each year.
- Béthemont Country Club, 12 rue du Parc de Béthemont, 78300 Poissy, Tél. +33 (0)1 39 08 13 70, http://www.ngf-golf.com/exclusivgolf-bethemont; This is a technical course, set in a beautiful forest, designed by Bernard Langer.
- Golf de Feucherolles, rd 307, 78810 Feucherolles, Tél : 01 30 54 94 94, http://www.ngf-golf.com/exclusivgolf-feucherolles; Quite close to the west side of Paris, this challenging course offers a lot of variety.
- Paris Handball, 82 Avenue Georges Lafont, 75016 Paris, 01 47 43 53 05
In the land of Rene Lacoste and Roland Garros, and currently highly-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gilles Simon and Gael Monfils, tennis is taken very seriously indeed. There are free public courts throughout Paris and a wonderful online reservation system to guarantee yourself a court (French only): https://teleservices.paris.fr/srtm/jsp/web/index.jsp. You will have to set up an account and then you will have access to the reservation system. Additionally, almost every facility in the ‘Country Club’ section has excellent tennis facilities.
- Meetup Paris has a wide range of tennis events for expats in Paris, from pickup matches to serious club-level tournament play: http://www.meetup.com/paristennis
- Evous has a comphrenshive guide to tennis clubs in Paris http://www.evous.fr/Les-clubs-de-Tennis-a-Paris-1178545.html. It’s divided into arrondisment and there is a short description of each club and the activities (i.e. kids, adults, gay-friendly; just courts, competitions, etc) they provide.
- The Tennis Club de Tennis, 15 Avenue Félix d’Hérelle, 75016 Paris, 01.46.47.73.90 (http://www.tennisclubdeparis.fr) is a venerable institution with top-notch facilities, English speaking coaches and plenty of events and tournaments.
There are more than 30 municipal swimming pools in Paris and they are very popular. They are well maintained and some are quite attractive. It is possible to buy a 3-month pass, which gives you access to any public pool. Check the mairie’s office or the website ( http://piscine.equipement.paris.fr ) for a swimming pool in your neighborhood. Or, check out one of these interesting ones:
- Piscine Suzanne-Berlioux, Niveau 3, Forum des Halles 75001, 01.42.36.98.44; Olympic-sized pool with skylights and a tropical motif.
- Piscine de Pontoise, 17, rue de Pontoise 75005, 01.55.42.77.88; Complex complete with pool, gym, squash, jacuzzi and sauna.
- Piscine Champerret, 36, boulevard de Reims 75017, 01.47.66.49.98; Modern pool with spiral sliding board for children.
- Centre Aquatique de Neuilly-sur-Seine, http://www.neuillysurseine.fr/centre-aquatique, 27-31 boulevard Inkermann 92200, 01.55.62.62.70; Just outside of Paris, accessible by metro and bus, this center has an Olympic-sized pool, an indoor/outdoor play pool with slide and a baby pool.
- Rituel Studio, 16 Rue De La Grande Chaumiere 75006, 01.53.10.86.00 (http://www.rituelstudio.com) This center offers four styles of yoga, Pilates, classes for children and classes in English.
- Centre Sivananda de Yoga de Paris; 140 rue du Faubourg Saint Martin 75010, 01.40.26.77.49 (http://www.sivananda.org/paris) This center offers a free introductory course each month, and has a weekly class in English.
- Rasa Yoga; 21 rue Saint Jacques, 75005 Paris, 01.43.54.14.59 (http://www.rasa-yogarivegauche.com/en/index.php) This bilingual English-French studio offers Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Prenatal and Kids yoga as well as fantastic spa treatments.
- Affordable Yoga & Fitness (http://www.affordableyogafitness.com/pages/home) offers classes around Paris, mostly in the 1st, 9th, 15th and 20th arrondissiments. It is only 5 Euros per class, but the classes are big. The concept is to make yoga accessible to all as yoga does tend to be pricey in Paris.
- Pickup games are to be found almost everywhere, and many businesses field their own in-house teams. Check with your employer to see if your office does so.
- The women’s team of the Paris Universite Club welcomes players of every nationality to join. They have teams for children, too: http://www.pucfoot.fr
- Women’s International Soccer Paris (http://paris-soccer.com) is an amateur-league, recreational women’s league. Contact Christine Walsh (email@example.com) for more information.
- The Tankards League is a club-level football organization with players organized by expat pubs in the British tradition; all nationalities are welcome: http://www.leaguewebsite.co.uk/tankardsleague
- MeetUp has several football forums. Find common minded footballers, who range from competition to just-for-fun players, by checking out their pages: http://soccer.meetup.com/cities/fr/paris
- The Sans Clue Hash House Harriers run every Sunday at 2 pm, “sun, rain or hurricane” with a friendly post-run drinking session: http://schhh.free.fr/
- The Chateau de Thoiry Cricket Club hosts several club teams, which play in the beautiful grounds of the chateau, just west of Paris: http://www.thoirycc.com
- The British Rugby Football Club of Paris is a formal, club-level team. For more information or to see their requirements, visit: http://www.brfcparis.com
See also Standard Athletic Club in the “Networking” section.