What Are Popular Sports In France?

There is more to the French lifestyle than wine and cheese, popular sports in France get hundreds of thousands of passionate viewers. And it isn’t just spectatorship when it comes to popular sports in France, many French folks are avid players of more than one sport. And if you really want to know how the French view sports, you just need to watch a French national game.

The French, like so many other cultures, get extremely protective and proud of their national teams. A simple match can unite or totally divide the country if the two teams playing are French. One of the most popular sports in France has to be football, which is known as soccer in North America.

France has won the World Cup twice, which is no easy feat. But football is just one of the popular sports in France, there are many others. Our editors decided to do some digging to see what really goes on in the French sports world. They found some interesting results and you can read all about them below.

What Are Popular Sports In France?
Image Source: Wikipedia.org

Football

As mentioned above, this is one of the most popular sports in France. Football became extremely popular in France as a result of the French soldiers who played during the First World War. The French Football Federation was then formed in 1919, which was shortly after the end of the war. By 1990, France had already been recognized as a football powerhouse and in 1998 they solidified that reputation by winning the World Cup.

This win made them the seventh overall nation to win the FIFA World Cup, and one of their most beloved and decorated players – Zinedine Zidane was named best player in the federation. The French national team has had many ups and downs since then, but they are still revered and considered one of the best teams in the world.

Rugby

This is another game that French people love. They have more than 250,000 rugby players who are registered and thousands compete professionally all over the world. France has got a rugby league that manages their tournaments, and the players for the leagues usually make plenty of money from winning the competitions.

Tennis

The French have their own French Grand Slam, which is also known as the Roland Garros. This has got a very long history of holding some of the best tennis competitions and there are more than one million tennis players in France. Some of the most famous French players include names such as Richard Gasquet, Jo-Wilfried, Gael Monfils, Amelie Mauresmo, Tsonga, Suzanne Lenglen and Mary Pierce.

Cycling

Of course, this is where the Tour de France happens and needless to say that this is the biggest cycling competition in the whole world, that has had great moments, and excellent fans. Most people just visit France during the competition to spectate and have lots of fun. Year after year, France has hosted the Tour de France successfully, and the fact that it is a 30-day event makes it one of the most beloved, most watched and most successful sporting events in the country.

Although cycling has had some terrible issues in the past, most especially the issue of doping from the athletes, this did not set it back and cyclists still turn up in huge numbers to take part in the competition. Of course, we all remember the Lance Armstrong debacle, but it did not make people love the sport less. If anything the fans are still as great as they were then.

So, if you happen to take a vacation to France, chances are that you shall see huge groups of cyclists all over the roads who are always dressed in the appropriate gear to make it easy, and if you wish to cycle yourself, you can do so by visiting the France Tourism site that offers great resources for amateur cyclists who would love to give it a try.

Equestrian Sports

Equestrian sports involve a rider on horseback competing in a variety of competitions.  There are various equestrian events taking place throughout the country and has produced some pretty great and professional riders and some people have even gone so far as to call France the equestrian center of the world. The French are even now known for their showjumpers who have formed dressage in the past. UNESCO acknowledged France’s history in this sport and that the French style makes it easy to foster a good relationship between a rider and a horse.

What Are Popular Sports In France
Image Source: Wikipedia

Popular Sports in France Conclusion

Despite its notoriety for food and fashion, the French can hold their own in the world of sports. From football to rugby, there is always a French flair to it all, but the most popular sports in France are also some of the most popular in the world. So the next time you take a trip to France, you might just want to take in a game in between all that cheese-snacking and Champs-Elysees promenading.