We’re here to learn all about French sports vocabulary! So here’s the first lesson. What is sports in French? It’s des sports which translates to the sports. However the French word for sport is simply sport, which is nice and easy. Just say it with a French accent.
Due to the geography of France and varying climates from cold mountain regions to the Mediterranean sea, the French are able to participate in a full smattering of sports. Of course, French is spoken in more than 29 countries around the world making it important to know French sports vocabulary so you can join in events and make friends more easily.
Let’s begin by taking a look at the most popular sports played by people in France. Then we’ll find out what other sports are called in French and go over some French sports verbs and how to talk about sports as well.
How To Say Popular French Sports In French
The sports included below are deemed most popular based on how many people in France actually play these sports. So you may be wondering why cycling is there. Isn’t France known to be great at that sport? Well, yes they are and have won the most tours of the Tour De France and also obviously host the race, but generally, cycling isn’t that popular among the general population.
Here’s a list of the top seven sports played by people in France.
- Football (Le football)
Pretty well everywhere in Europe refers to soccer as football and it’s also the most popular sport played by people in France. Both the men’s and women’s teams are heavily supported. In 2019 France even hosted the women’s World Cup which was a great success.
France itself has won the World Cup twice in 1998 against Brazil and again in 2018 against Croatia.
- Tennis (Le tennis)
France hosts a popular tennis event on par with Wimbledon called The French Open. The competition attracts the world’s best tennis players and attracts millions of spectators within France and internationally.
In fact, more than one million people in France say they play tennis recreationally or professionally. So if you’re in France looking to make fast friends, tennis is the place to start!
3. Horse Riding (l’équitation)
It turns out France is famous for breeding race horses and pedigree horses within the regions of Normandy and Forez. France also hosts prestigious races such as the Arcs de Triomphe in Paris and the infamous Jockey-Club that takes place in Chantilly.
The wealthier French are known to take equestrian lessons and a surprising amount of people (more than 670,000 people) are reported as being active riders.
- Basketball (Le basketball)
While on a national level France doesn’t have teams across the country like they do in North America, France does have a fairly successful track record of getting French players into the NBA. Within France, the national team is known to be competitive and actually won against the USA in 2019 in the basketball World Cup.
Across France, you will see public basketball courts and many people enjoying this sport as a pastime or hobby. Over 600,000 people play basketball in France!
5. Judo/jujitsu (Le Judo/le jiu-jitsu)
Martial arts in France are quite popular. The more popular sports are judo and jujitsu. Combat sports are perfect for young and older participants and so attract a large amount of people.
On a national level, France boasts some of the best martial artists in the world bringing home three world championships multiple times over the years.
- Handball (Le handball)
Handball, which was arguably invented in Scandinavia (but don’t tell Germany that), is actually the sport France is best at. For the past twenty years, they have been actively competing against the Nordic nations and winning.
France boasts being a six-time world champion, they’ve won the Olympics twice and the European championships three times. Both the men’s and women’s teams are really good at this sport and the public has shown a tremendous interest in this sport as well enjoying it as a hobby.
7. Rugby (Le rugby)
Within France, rugby is very popular to watch as a spectator sport, but also to play. Largely played by men within southern France (and Paris too), France is one of the best teams in Europe. They have even been known to beat the All Blacks, the infamous New Zealand team, and have made it to the Rugby World Cup finals three times.
What Are Other Sports Names In French Called?
Besides the most popular sports, what are the names of sports you’re more familiar with in French? There are so many sports in the world and we’ve tried to categorize them here to make it easier to find the sport name in French that you’re looking for. Obviously, we didn’t include every sport in the world, and if you’d like to see one added to the list, please comment below!
These are the sorts of sports you can expect to be able to join in all year round.
|Table tennis/Pingpong||le tennis de table|
Want to make some friends and join a team? Competitive at heart? Then these are the sports for you!
|American football||le football américain|
Brrr… While not every French-speaking country gets snow or even gets cold, places such as up in the French Alps enjoy a great outdoor winter sport atmosphere.
Hay- yah! Self-defense, offense, just for fun! Whatever floats your boat, here are the most common martial arts in French.
|Combat sports||les sports de combat|
|Martial arts||les arts martiaux|
Ah summer. Sports in summer are just the best! Here are some common summer sports for you to know in French.
What Are Sports Players Called In French?
So what do we call a hockey player or a basketball player in French? Let’s find out along with some other popular sports player names.
Have A Conversation About Sports In French
Here are some simple questions and answers you can use to fit into the sports culture in France, no matter what your taste in sports is! Knowing how to greet someone in French is the first step and you’ll be off from there.
Q: Which sports do you play? (Quels sports pratiques-tu?)
A: I play soccer (insert sport) (Je joue au foot)
Q. Which sports do you like to watch? (Quels sports aimez-vous regarder?)
A: I like to watch team sports (insert sport) (J’aime regarder les sports d’équipe)
Q: Who’s your favorite player? (Quel est ton joueur préféré?)
A: My favorite player is… (insert name) (Mon joueur préféré est)
Q: Which football team do you cheer for? (Quelle équipe de football encouragez-vous?)
A: I cheer for … (insert team name) (J’encourage)
Q: Would you like to watch the French Open (insert sport or sporting event)? (Aimeriez-vous regarder Roland-Garros?)
A: Sure! (Bien sûr!)
A: No. I’d rather watch soccer (insert sport) (Non, je préfère regarder le football)
Q: Have you ever been to the Tour De France before? (Avez-vous déjà participé au Tour de France?)
A: No! But I’d like to go (Non! Mais j’aimerais y aller)
Sport Verbs in French
Also of importance is knowing verbs, sports are all about actions after all! Here are some common verbs to help you discuss sports in French no matter where you are in the world.
Learn More French With Ling
Learning French with our app can help you solidify your knowledge of French sports vocabulary and so much more! Ling has everything you could ever need in a language app and it’ll help you learn to read, speak, and write in French in only about 10-15 minutes per day.
What sets Ling apart is that you’ll be able to listen to real conversations in French, recorded by native French speakers. There’s also an AI system that will ensure you’re always been appropriately challenged and will send you reminders of your learning to keep you accountable.
Ling App has over 10 million downloads and we also offer over 60 languages.