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Sport

Parisians generally prefer to watch sport rather than to participate, the exception being the annual Paris Marathon. The major spectator event takes place in late July when swarms of cyclists hurl down an avenue des Champs-Elysees lined with crowds in the final stages of the Tour de France. When France hosted the World Cup in 1998, its winning multi-ethnic team moved even Le Pen to question the narrowness of his ideal 'France pour les franšais'. Two years later the French team was victorious in the Euro 2000 Tournament. The purpose-built Stade de France, rue Francis de Pressenge in St-Denis (tel: (01) 5593 0000), has become the venue for international football matches and rugby Five Nations' Cup matches. Meanwhile, domestic football matches take place at the Parc des Princes, 24 rue du Commandant-Guilbaut, 16th (tel: (01) 4071 1078), the base for the first-division Paris football team Paris-SG (St-Germain) and Le Racing rugby team.

The sports venue for everything from ballroom dancing to judo is the Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy (POPB), 8 boulevard Bercy, 12th (tel: (01) 4002 6060). The major horse-racing events take place in October in the Bois de Boulogne - the Prix de la Republique and the Grand Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. L'Officiel des Spectacles details sports events and Le Guide du Sport Ó Paris, available at tourist offices and town halls, lists sports facilities. Allo Sports (tel: (01) 4276 5454), Direction Jeunesse et Sports, 25 boulevard Bourdon, 4th (tel: (01) 4276 2260), offers information on municipal facilities.

Golf: Golf Disneyland Paris (tel: (01) 6045 6890), 77 Marne-la-Vallee, 32km (20 miles) east of Paris, has a 27 hole course open year round from 0830 in summer and 0900 in winter. On weekdays, 18 holes cost FFr160, this rises to FFr290 at weekends; yearly membership is also available.

Gyms/health clubs: A number of companies (such as Moving, Gymnasium and Gymnasium Club) dominate the gym scene in Paris but these tend to be open to members only. Gyms open for one-off visits are listed in the Squash section.

Squash: Squash Montmartre, 14 rue Achille Martinet, 18th (tel: (01) 42 55 38 30), has four courts, saunas, fitness equipment and restaurant and charges FFr80 per person per hour. Club Quartier Latin, 19 rue de Pontoise, 5th (tel: (01) 5542 7788), charges FFr85 for a day-pass.

Swimming: The underground Piscine Suzanne-Berlioux, Les Halles, 10 place de la Rotonde, 1st (tel: (01) 4236 9844), is extremely central and open daily. Aquaboulevard, 4 rue Louis-Armand, 15th (tel: (01) 4060 1515), has a selection of indoor and outdoor swimming pools open daily. Admission costs FFr77 (concessions available).

Tennis: To play on municipal courts, application for a Carte Paris-Tennis should be made at the Mairie; alternatively simply turn up and hope for the best. Either way, the price is FFr37 per hour. There are also private clubs which often charge high membership fees. Forest Hill Tennis at Aquaboulevard (see above) charges FFr150-200 per visit and is open daily.



 
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