What Is the French National Sport ?

March 03, 2021 5 min read


Sport is not just a set of physical exercises to prepare for a competition. No ! Sport is much more than that, it allows us to come together, to vibrate and sometimes to love each other.

We love sport and the opportunity to shout when we win.

In this article you will discover :

  • What is the favorite sport of the French
  • When did sport appear in France ?
  • The French sports organization

By exploring this article you will become a true French sports expert, able to explain what is the French national sport. But also to tell the history of sport in France and its anecdotes.

Let's get started !

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When did sport appear in France ?

Before getting to the heart of the matter and discovering French national sport, it is important to lay the foundations and understand when sport appeared in France.

Let's start together by answering the most frequently asked questions on the subject.

Creation of sport in France

Before we had the set of physical activities that we know there was a beginning that was rougher...

Indeed, in the Middle Ages, the sport most practiced in French castles was : equestrian jousting.


This consisted of riding a horse armed from head to toe and knocking his opponent down with his spear. Alas, this sport was stopped because of the tragic death of King Henry II.

It is then that a sport was born during the XIIᵉ century and will be the national sport until the French Revolution. It is obviously the : Jeu de Paume.


Which sport was invented by the French ?

Louis XIV tried to introduce billiards or equestrian sports, but our sport remained the Jeu de Paume.


But the imagination of the French does not stop here.

Here is a list of sports that we have invented:

  • Jeu de Paume
  • Pétanque
  • Savate (French boxing)
  • The Parkour
  • The House Ball
  • RugbyGolf

You have understood it well, we have an overflowing imagination.


The French sports organization

After having sold you the merits of our sports creations, here is how the organization around sport in France looks like.

How does the world of sport in France work ?

In France, as the law of July 1, 1901, stipulates, any sports federation will be constituted in the form of an association for any discipline.

There are 2 types of federations:

- The approved federations

- Delegated federations


Who finances sport in France ?

As far as its financing is concerned, the State and the Ministry of Sports are at the origin of it. In 2020, the State contributed €5.5 billion and the Ministry added €710 million.


What is the favorite sport of the French ?

Finally, let's find out which physical activity the French prefer.

Our goal is to find out which sport brings you together, which makes you vibrate the most.


What is the French national sport ?

As we have seen together, the Jeu de Paume was the French game during the Renaissance. But it later gave way to the Jeu de Paume.

Equestrian sport succeeded it, then came cycling, and now, and this since the beginning of the XXᵉ century, our national sport is : Soccer.


What is the most popular sport in France ?

Soccer is the most popular sport in France with 2 200 000 members. Soccer fans are twice as numerous as tennis fans (1 100 000 licensees).

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What are the 3 sports with the most licensees in France ?

Here is the top 3 of the biggest licenses in France :

  • Soccer (2 200 000)
  • Tennis (1,100,000)
  • Horseback riding (705,000)


What is the sport most practiced by women in France ?

Women are also present in the sports world. There are 180,000 women licensed in soccer.

But horse riding is the most practiced activity with 521,656 members. But women also like to exercise themselves by practicing other sports.

Such as :

- The Sports Walk

- Swimming

- Fitness

What is the sport most watched by the French ?

In 2020 and for the last ten years the sport most watched and most appreciated by the French is soccer. In the stadiums or in front of the TV, soccer is the big winner.


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In this section, I will tell you two short passages about French soccer.

The story of the first goalscorer of Les Bleus

Here is Louis Mesnier, the number 9 of the French team and striker of this match.

However, at that time soccer was not as well perceived as it is today and not as prestigious.


To be able to play this game and write the first page of the Blue Book "Didi" (nickname of the player) had to ask his boss for a work stoppage to be able to play this one.

Louis Mesnier was afraid to give his real name because, as I told you, it was frowned upon to play this sport.

Quite a difference from today, isn't it ?


10 little anecdotes about the French Team

Are you a real fan of the blues to know these anecdotes ? Out of the 10 how many did you know ?


Here's your fan status based on the ones you knew :

2 anecdotes : gourd carrier

4 anecdotes : simple supporter

6 anecdotes : coach

8 anecdotes : vice-president

10 anecdotes : president

  1. The first penalty in history was arrested by Georges Crozier.
  2. The jersey was not blue but white (until 1908).
  3. An SS played for Les Bleus (Alexandre Villaplane)
  4. On October 5, 1952, first appearance on TV of the French team.
  5. Stade de France or Stade de la liberté, the name Stade de France was chosen on December 4, 1995.
  6. The only player to have played for 2 nations: Michel Platini, player from Kuwait for 20 minutes against the USSR.
  7. Did you know that Alex-Aloisio, was not selected for his talent but for his good looks.
  8. It is to Raoul Diagne that the nickname of Black Panther comes back, because he is the first black player selected by Les Bleus (February 15, 1931).
  9. Lucien Gamblin is the first scorer of the blue team to score... against his own team (March 9, 1919)
  10. The ball of Zinédine Zidane on July 6, 2006

So what score did you get ?


Become a sports expert

As you have understood, sport is much more than individual or collective games, sport allows everyone to let their emotions explode, to give the best of themselves in their passion.

Now you know what is the French national sport, but you also know what its history is and what French sports are.

During your next training session you must share this discovery !

That's why we suggest you our World Champions Mug, this one created with only one purpose : to remember our victory in 2 soccer world cups.

Become a world champion by clicking below. 

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