Top 5: Sports in France

France ranks 5th in the world for sports after the United States, Russia, China and Germany.

  • Soccer is by far the most popular French sport with 2 Million players.
  • Tennis, which has half the amount of players is actually a British adaptation of a French medieval game: Le jeu de paume.
  • Horseback riding is the third most popular French sport, but France is number one in Europe when it comes to equestrian tourism.
  • Judo is extremely popular in France. It is actually considered the most educational sport for children and France has three times more Judo club members than Japan even though the French population is half the size of Japan’s.
  • Basketball is a big deal in France, but only because basketball is the second most popular sport in the world after soccer.
  • Despite the small number of athletes, “la pétanque”* is recognized as a French sport. France has won the World Championships 35 times; an award that has existed less than 50 years!

Sore losers would say that these excellent results come from the motivation for aperitif, which is well known for ending any French family or friendly Pétanque party!

*Pétanque is a game similar to bocce in the United States.