If your are looking to catch the big game on TV, there is certainly no shortage of sports bars in France, especially in Paris, But what about watching—or even better, playing— American sports? Contrary to what you might have thought, you do have options when it comes to playing and watching American football and baseball in the land of soccer and rugby.
Baseball. America’s pastime. Although still quite rare in France, baseball is gaining a following among expats and French alike. Just last week I was in a Decathlon sports store and saw baseball mitts, balls and bats on sale. They may have been in the kids’ section, but this was still a pleasant surprise for me. They also seem to have quite a selection online. For the adults, The Baseball Shop in Toulouse offers the real deal: gloves, bats, jerseys, etc. for both softball and baseball. If you don’t happen to live in the Toulouse area, you can order via their website.
Having the equipment is one thing though. To really play, you need a field and a team. Surprisingly, there’s actually quite an impressive baseball community in France, including a number of leagues with different skill/age levels. There are even several National French Teams, including the senior level. The Féderation française de baseball et softball (FFBS) website has a wealth of information regarding baseball, softball and cricket leagues including a map of where to play and a list of baseball teams in France.
You can also follow French baseball news here.
Softball in Paris : There is a group of friends that play softball in the Bois de Vincennes in the east of Paris. All ages, sexes and nationalities. They’ve been playing since 1983 out here. If you miss this great sport and would love to throw a ball around, check their website out!
AMERICAN FOOTBALL IN FRANCE
The fun is not limited to baseball. Indeed, American football is also gaining popularity in France. Decathlon also sells American football products, albeit mostly for children.
While living in Grenoble, I had heard there was a team there, but I never got around to seeing a game. However, after learning about the Féderation française de football américain (FFFA), I know I need to see a game! There are over 20,000 licensed players among 171 clubs throughout France: so many, in fact, that the site has a club search function.
The FFFA also has a page dedicated to explaining the fundamentals of the game in French, which could prove very helpful for those who are new to the game.
Now you have no excuse not to participate!