Paris : 10 places to do sports like in your favorite films, series, music, comics and novels

In 2024 and for the third time, Paris will host the Summer Olympic Games. We’ll put you on the right track to the facilities.

Duperré Playground

In BrefWhile reminiscing about his childhood in episode 56,  Bref. J’ai grandi dans les années 90 / I grew up in the 90s, ”I” reproduces the refrains from La Cité de la Peur  in this colorful playground.  He’s right near the Etoile d’Or (30 rue Pierre Fontaine), the macaroons shop that’s always closed when “I” and his girlfriend come in episode 58 Bref. C’était sa chanson préférée / It was her favorite song.  This charming and delightfully retro confectionary shop deserves a detour and their products are excellent.

Kasimir Malevitch was not the pivot on the great Russian team, but rather an abstract painter. The new design of the magnificent Duperré playground takes its inspiration from his work. Wedged between two buildings in the “SoPi” (South Pigalle) area, threatened with closure due to noise problems, the iconic basketball court was first renovated in 2009 thanks to the intervention of Nike and Stéphane Ashpool, founder of the Pigalle brand. As we mentioned in our Guide to Paris– 1000 cult locations in movies, series, music, comics, novels, it underwent a total facelift in 2017, with the help of the design agency III Studio, and its flashy colors are now enjoyed by ballers and instagrammers.

Parc des Princes stadium

In Alive, June 21st, 2008, Tokio Hotel gives a concert at the Parc des Princes. Luz tells the story of his immersion into the teenage audience of the famous German metal group. Inaugurated in 1897, the Parc des Princes is one of the oldest stadiums in the Paris region.

Inaugurated June 4th, 1972 after a colossal construction job lasting two years, the Parc des Princes was, at the end of the 19th century, a velodrome stadium, setting for the Tour de France finish line between 1903 and 1967. Modernized for the 1998 soccer World Cup, and again for the Euro-2016, it now has a capacity of 47,000 spectators – and extension to 60,000 is being studied. Even though Jean-Paul II has celebrated mass here and the fans of Johnny Hallyday, the Rolling Stones and Coldplay have exuberated, the facility’s prime vocation is to house Paris Saint-Germain soccer matches.

Roland-Garros Stadium

In Hello, game, dj set and match. For the clip of this song, his biggest commercial success, Martin Solveig, a worthy descendent of Björn Borg defies Bob Sinclair, sporting an André Agassi “total look”, on the central court of Roland-Garros. The short seven-minute film was shot before the Grand Slam tournament, during the traditional Kids Day, in front of 12,000 people, and reunited several choice guests: Gaël Monfils, Novak Djokovic and the one-of-a-kind French sports commentator Nelson Montfort.

Aviation pioneer, killed in 1918 in a WW I aerial combat, Roland Garros was above all a rugby player. Nonetheless, he has given his name to the tennis stadium constructed in 1927 and home to the French Open, one of the four Grand Slam tournaments. Built in one year to allow Musketeers – Jacques Brugnon, Jean Borotra, Henri Cochet and René Lacoste –, victors of the 1927 Davis Cup in Philadelphia, to defend their ground, the Roland-Garros stadium has undertaken extension renovations. Completion planned for 2021.

Trocadéro

In Turfu, in the early 1980s, the « Troca » esplanade was the French B-Boys meeting point. It’s here that Solo (future Assassin) was spotted to join the troupe of the mythical show "H.I.P H.O.P" with Sidney. Times change - "Négros ne breakent plus au Trocadéro" (Negroes don’t break anymore at Trocadero) bemoans Booba, a dancer when he was young under the pseudonym « Tic-Tac » for groups such as Coup d'Etat Phonique or La Cliqua. Even though there have been some special facilities for a few years especially at places such as the République and Bastille, the Trocadero esplanade remains, historically, the Paris skate hotspot. As of 1937, the year of its construction, the site had been adopted by… roller skaters. To fine tune their skills, the tricks addicts leave “Troca” in the 80s and migrate to the Palais du Tokyo esplanade, also known as the “Dome”.

AccorHotels Arena

In La Saga Malaussène - La petite marchande de prose, "Au Palais Omnisports de Bercy, l'espace s'était, là aussi, creusé autour de Julie. Dieu sait que la foule était compacte, pourtant." (At the Bercy Omnisports arena, there too, the space emptied around Julie. Heavens only knows, ‘cause the crowd was dense.) Come to help her sister Clara to unwind a bit, Julie collapses when her brother Benjamin Malaussène shoots himself in the head right in front of her. Renamed Accor Hotels in 2015, the Paris- Bercy Omnisports arena has hosted, since its opening in 1984, numerous concerts and sporting events. The capacity varies between 15,000 and 20,000 spectators depending on the event. Fun board, karting, acrobatic skiing, horse riding: the Paris-Bercy Omnisports arena has hosted, since its inauguration in 1984, just about every discipline possible and imaginable. Renamed Accor Hotels Arena after significant renovations which increased the capacity to 20,300 seats, the grass-sided pyramid hosts, every year, the Paris-Bercy tennis Masters and the Paris judo Grand Slam, as well as many concerts. The 2024 Olympic Games basketball and judo competitions will be held here.

Paris-Vincennes Hippodrome

In The Counterfeiters of Paris, Fernand Maréchal (Jean Gabin) escapes from the police by taking the place of a jockey. Jean Gabin was known for his love of the land and animals, horses in particular, even though he was scared to death of them. He owned about fifteen and even built the Moulins-la-Marche racetrack in the Orne department (61). It’s still in activity and has been renamed after the actor. It was used as the setting in 1989 for Ripoux contre Ripoux. As forthe Paris-Vincennes racetrack, inaugurated in 1863, it not only hosts horse races but also movie shootings and concerts such as Pink Floyd and even U2.

It’s the mecca for trot in France. Inaugurated in 1863, it spreads over 42 hectares and is dedicated to horse races, in particulars trotters, harness and flat racing. The Vincennes hippodrome holds 1,255 races every year: 8 races at lunchtime, 7 during dinner. With 170 boxes, the hippodrome can accommodate 35,000 spectators and contributes 21% to the annual revenues of the PMU (Pari Mutuel Urbain -French state-controlled betting system)

Bois de Boulogne

In Mauvais Genre, Paul Grappe seduces Louise Landy. They dance at a ballroom and the young man invites his future wife on board a boat to row around the lake. He even offers her flowers that he picks from a garden. The Bois de Boulogne includes a total of twelve lakes, all artificial and fed by the Seine River. The boat rides on Lac Inférieur are very popular and accessible every day from mid-March to the end of October.

Along with the Bois de Vincennes, the Bois de Boulogne constitutes one of the two green lungs of Paris and its 850 hectares are an ideal spot for runners. You choose; run through the woods, discover the parks (Bagatelle) and gardens (the Auteuil greenhouses), or run around the race track or a lake. The woods even has their own footrace; the Bois de Boulogne 10km.

Pontoise Swimming Pool

In Three Colors: Blue, Julie (Juliette Binoche) comes regularly to this swimming pool. She’s trying, among other things, to forget her husband and child tragically killed. This superb pool, overlooked by rows of change cabins, lights up with magnificent colors at nightfall.

Superb ironwork, blue and white private change cabins laid out over two floors all around the pool, mosaics in the entrance hall, the Pontoise pool, now called the Quartier des Sports (Sports Quarter) has a delicious retro feel to it. Built in 1934, the establishment, registered on the historical monument inventory, hosted Commander Cousteau in 1936 for his first trials with scuba diving apparatus. And it’s also in this pool that Johnny Weissmuller let out his famous scream for the movie Tarzan.

Daumesnil Fitness Park

In Revoir Paris, accompanied by his two loyal musicians, the guitarist Nicolas Fiszman and the drummer Denis Benarrosh, in 2015, Benjamin Biolay makes an album of songs originally sung by Charles Trenet, including this Revoir Paris, first released in 1947. Singer of La Superbe also gets into a taxi crossing the Bois de Vincennes, "roulant joyeux vers [sa] maison de banlieue" (driving joyfully to [one’s] house in the suburbs). The video clip pays homage to Paris through vintage images of its monuments and bridges over the Seine.

Walls, beams, vaults, hurdles, the Daumesnil Fitness Park, laid out in the Bois de Vincennes is composed of two circuits: a loop of 1400m with 14 apparatus is suitable for beginners, the 2400m long one with 18 workout stations is more for the seasoned athlete. Entrance is free so if you are hurting it won’t be moneywise.

The Paris Front de Seine Bowling

In Bref, It’s in this 20-lane bowling alley that “I”, Kherion and his friends play in episode 70, Bref. J’ai fait une connerie / I did something really dumb.  Each one plays with more or less ease depending on the weight of their guilt, symbolized by the bowling ball.  A scene in episode 53 Bref.  Y a des gens qui m’énervent / Some people really bug me was also filmed here.

Beginners or experienced, the Front de Seine bowling lanes are made for you, with 20 synthetic lanes, bar and snack-bar.

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