As you probably know from reading our site, we often plan our travel around attending various tennis tournaments. Paris was no different. We decided to put together a tennis fan’s guide to Paris, based on our experience attending the French Open.
Our trip was limited to 10 days, and we had already visited Grindelwald in Switzerland and Lyon/Beaujolais in France. We had 3 full days at the end to spend in Paris, with the last day already set aside to attend the French Open. We bought a ticket package well in advance through Steve Furgal’s Tennis Tours (Click Here).
Hotel La Demeure, where we stayed, is a good affordable option in the 13ieme Arrondisment. It is close to Gare d’Austerlitz and Gare de Lyon. But for our purposes, the benefit was that Gare d’Austerlitz is also a metro station on line 10, which will take you to stations Porte d’Auteuil or Boulogne Jean-Jaures for the French Open.
Both of us had been to Paris before, but on our first day we planned to see the sights. Pretty much entirely on foot, we walked past Notre Dame, down the Champs d’Elysees, under the Eiffel Tower, and past the Louvre. It’s sacrilegious to many people to not be going into Notre Dame or the Louvre, or climbing the Eiffel Tower. And that’s why this is the Tennis fan’s guide to Paris, not The guide to Paris. 😉 We finished the day with a couple glasses of Provence rose on a patio, in true French fashion.
That night, we debated spending the next day exploring the city. Should we walk to Sacre Coeur? Should we check out some parts of the city we haven’t seen? Instead, we decided to see if we could get an extra day of tennis.
Steve Furgal was sold out of their ticket packages, but the next morning we discovered a better option. Viagogo (Click Here) is the official ticket reseller for the French Open. Any ticket owner can legally resell their tickets through this website. From a buyer’s perspective, it means you know you’re getting legitimate tickets – and the best part is they’re resold at face value. No scalpers. Why on earth do no other tournaments and events in general do this?
Anyway, you have to be vigilant, as good tickets get snapped up as soon as they’re posted. After losing out on a couple, we had all our payment details ready to go and scored two tickets to Suzanne Lenglen court. By this time, it was maybe 10:30 am and matches started at 11:00 am. We got our hotel front desk to print off our tickets, and were off to the grounds within 15 minutes of buying the tickets.
The French Open experience was fantastic. The grounds are small and intimate (although can sometimes feel crowded), we were allowed to bring in our own food and beverages purchased in a shop just down the road, and there was that French “je ne sais quoi”. Compared to our other Grand Slam experiences, well, nothing can compare to Wimbledon…but we would rank the French Open well above the US Open for fan experience. Smaller courts, reasonably priced and easy to get tickets, better food options, ease of access. We really didn’t have anything to complain about. We’ll let you know how it compares to the Australian Open after we visit next year.
The following day, we used our previously purchased tennis packages to watch matches on Philippe Chatrier court, so we were able to attend sessions on both of the main courts. One word of warning to anyone buying a package through a hospitality company – they pitch access to an exclusive private lounge as a big reason why they can charge so much for the packages. That “lounge” was a total waste of money. It’s used by every package tour company, so is jammed to the rafters with people lining up for the “free” finger food. Save yourself the money, and just buy tickets to the tournament and don’t bother with the hospitality package.
When flying out the next day, we were both very happy with our time in Paris. Could we have used more time in a French bistro sipping wine? Sure! Did we miss not being stuck in masses of people shuffling past a fake Mona Lisa so I could take the obligatory picture? Definitely not! Did we enjoy every second of watching Nadal, Djokovic, Sharapova etc. on the red clay? Absolutely!
Additional pictures are available in our France gallery (Click Here).