French Open

French Open Tennis
French Open Tennis  Image: sebrenner (flickr)

French Open matches are played by the best tennis champions in the world, and the French Open 2016 is no exception. Officially called Les Internationaux de France de Roland-Garros, the French Open Tennis Tournament is one of the most prestigious in the world. It is one of four tournaments called the "Grand Slams." Others include the Australian Open played in Melbourne, Wimbledon played in that London suburb, and the US Open played in the Borough of Queens in New York City. The Australian and US Open are played on hard courts, while the French Open in Paris France is played on clay, and Wimbledon is played on grass.

French Open History and Facts

The first French National Tennis Tournament was first held in 1891. A women's tournament was added in 1897. These were open only to French players, and called the French Closed Championships. The World Hard Court Championships were held in the Paris suburb of Saint Cloud from 1912 to 1923. This was probably the true precursor to the French Open in Paris France because it allowed international competitors. In 1925, the championship welcomed all international amateurs. In 1928 the Roland Garros Stadium was built and the matches of the French Open Tennis Tournament have been held there ever since. Roland Garros was a French aviation pioneer and hero of World War I. In 1968, the championship became the first of the Grand Slams to become open to both amateurs and professionals. It wasn't until 2007 that equal prizes for both men and women players were awarded. It is held for two weeks between mid-May and the first week of June.

Getting to the French Open

Roland Garros Stadium
Roland Garros Stadium  Image: tiseb (flickr)

The Roland Garros Stadium is located on the edge of the Bois de Boulogne in the Sixteenth Arrondissement of Paris. To get there, take the Metro to the Porte d'Auteuil or Michel-Ange Molitor stations. For either station, locate Avenue de la Porte d’Auteuil and head west, then take a left onto Avenue Gordon Bennett. There are also taxis available.

French Open Tickets

French Open 2016 tickets vary in price from about $275 to $775. A ticket is generally good for a day's worth of matches, and you pay higher prices for matches with the best players, for the semi-finals, and for the finals. There are VIP hospitality suites (like the VIP boxes at many professional sports stadiums), that offer gourmet catering and open bars along with the best seats for the best matches. You can purchase entire Paris vacation packages that include tickets, hotel accommodations, city tours, and much more. Some will offer French Open Tennis Tournament tickets. Ticket sales are carefully overseen by the French Tennis Federation. You should do some research to ensure you are purchasing your ticket from a reliable source.

Lodging Near the French Open

There are hundreds of wonderful Paris hotels all over the city. Public transportation to the French Open in Paris France is fairly convenient and reasonably priced. So you can stay in luxury hotels or cheap hostels just about anywhere and still be able to get to the matches. If you want to be located as close as possible to the tennis action, look for hotels along the southern edge of the Bois de Boulogne. A good prospect is the Radisson Blu at 33 Avenue Edouard Valliant, located near the Saint Cloud Metro Station. From here, you can walk to the tennis stadium. The Eiffel Tower is a little over two miles away.

Top image: Sylvain WEBER, CC BY-SA 2.0

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