When it comes to sports, the French people may not be the first nationality that comes to mind. This does not mean they don’t love sports or they don’t know how to make a spectacle of it. This piece contains the five most important sports to the French people and a little history attached to them. What arte top 5 French Sports for Entertainment ?
1. France and Football
Football is more or less the most popular sport in France, and it is loved by people of different backgrounds. To the football lover in French, it is more than just a form of entertainment. Part of the reason why football is cherished in France is the world recognition the sport has garnered since the great victory on July 12th, 1998. Also, the French football club, Les Bleus, adds recognition to football in France. It is no secret that the team recruits renowned players from all over the world, and this multi-racial acceptance brings diversity to French football.
What’s more, some of the best and famous players in the world (Paul Pogba, Blaise Matuidi, Kylian Mbappe, and the legendary Zinedine Zidane) have made their country, teams, and the world proud of their success.
2. France and Tennis
This is the second most popular game in France according to the total number of licensed players and the number of tennis courts that exist in the country. Tennis is one of the most universal outdoor games that is said to have originated in France under a different name.
The French Open, held in the Stade Roland-Garros in Paris, is famous for being the toughest hurdle for anyone aiming for a Grand Slam. The clay surface of the court has been dreaded by many, and only a few people -including Rafael Nadal and Andreas Mies- can boast of besting the tough conditions.
3. France and Horseback Riding
Also referred to like equestrian racing, this sport is for many in France who crave the rush that comes from horse races. Having made a name for itself in horseback riding, France is known to host the best horse racing tournaments in Europe. The two common forms of horseback riding, flat racing or harness racing date back to the 16th century.
At the time, a horse race was used to settle a matter between two men of nobility. The race aimed to proclaim the strongest and fastest racehorse, while spectators and sponsors placed bets. The evolution of horse riding in France in modern days now features highly sophisticated machines, a standardized arena for spectators, as well as a larger base for betting.
Irrespective of the difference in the mechanics of horse racing today, the fundamental rule is that the fastest horse wins the race. Among the several racecourses located in France, the pride and joy of France is the Hippodrome de Longchamp, spanning about 57 hectares.
4. France and Basketball
The popularity of basketball in France is proof of how far the sport has traveled beyond continents across the globe. Organized by the French Federation of Basketball, there has been a recent rise in its popularity over the last few decades. This has been attributed to the success of the national teams in France. Ever since America won youths in France over with basketball, the licensed members of the French basketball team have made a name for themselves. They have an existing record as Olympic champions and the future of basketball in France holds much promise.
Although this sport is a particular favorite of the world and the United States, in particular, the French basketball team is still in the business of making their country proud, even beyond French borders. Players like Joakim Noah, Tony Parker, and Nicolas Batum are world-renowned legends in the basketball industry.
5. France and Judo-jujitsu
Governed by the French Judo Federation, this is another favorite of the French people. At the time of writing, there were about 700,000 licensed participants in the French Judo Federation. It is more than a sport to the French people; it is a way of life. This explains why the country currently has the second-highest number of judo medals. France is only second to none other than Japan, the birthplace of judo.
Back in 2018, France had a total of 5,700 judo clubs scattered around French villages and towns. The rise in the popularity of judo is impressive since the sport faced a lot of resistance in the beginning when it was originally introduced.
When you take a look at the French appreciation of these sports, it is clear as day that they have successfully become integral parts of the French culture. These sports didn’t all originate in France but the French people have embraced it and become a part of a global sensation. Their appreciation for football, tennis, horseback riding and judo is impressive. For more popular sports in France, visit French Iceberg.