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Outdoor Activities in and Around Paris
Where to go and what to do if you are keen to get outdoors and hike or skate, ride or swing a golf club. An introduction to the wide variety of sports and leisure activities readily available in Paris and the Ile de France...
Did you know:
- Paris has over 200 Km of cycle lanes
- Up to 15,000 people rollerblade around Paris every Friday night
- There are 700 kilometres of navigable waterways in the Ile-de-France region
It is possible to get "out and about" without leaving central Paris (the area 75), however there is a wide choice of activities in the Ile-de-France regions with an almost endless supply of things to do outdoors. There is plenty of useful information on activities available and most tourist offices have information brochures in English. Several also have websites with details on the facilities in each area.
Below is information and contact details on:
- Parks, Rollerblading, Golf, Flying, Aviation and Aeronautics, Climbing, Ice Skating and Water Sports: Boating and Yachting
The region has many "green spaces", which are utilised for sports and leisure activities.
Despite Paris being one of the largest cities in Europe it is also home to regional natural parks. Near Paris, and within the city limits of Saint-Quentin-in Yvelines (78), the area of the Valley of Chevreuse is a rural park which was granted protected status in 1985. The Parc Naturel Chevreuse covers 21 communes and is home to 46,000 inhabitants and comprises 24,000 hectares of protected parkland. The territory was established to preserve the history and protect the environment but it is not a museum. Visitors to the area can explore by bicycle (bikes can be rented there), take organised horse rides or simply follow one of the walking routes between the villages.
More information from the website:
Every Friday night a group of 12,000 to 15,000 people take to the streets and tour the city with wheels on their feet. There are specially designated areas for skaters both in the centre of Paris and in Ile-de-France, with arenas for beginners and special skate parks for the proficient.
For more information on skate parks and tracks see websites:
There are over sixty golf courses in the Paris Ile-de-France region so if you would like to spend the day golfing there is plenty of choice. Many of the courses offer reduced green fees during the week and you can buy a golf pass, which allows entrance to a number of different clubs.
Once you've seen Paris from the ground it may be time to try something different. There are lots of venues around the Paris Ile-de-France area where you can try airborne sports.
This is the home of the world's largest free fall simulator, a new concept in entertainment. It is a giant wind tunnel, which was first used for trials in aerospace technology. The generators create a rush of air that simulates a parachutist during free fall. There are guides who speak English.
The Aérokart also houses France's largest indoor karting track.
The website, in English, lists opening times and prices. Booking is recommended.
Cercle aéronautique de SGAC teach parachuting in the (78) region at the Ile-de-France parachute school; English spoken.
- Cercle aéronautique de SGAC
At: Aérodrome de Saint-Cyr, 78210 Saint-cyr-l'Ecole
Tel: 01 30 45 07 59
Take a flight on an ultra-light aircraft over the Ile-de-France sky. Then for 20 minutes the pilot will sit back and watch as you take the controls. The Veli plane leaves from the Aérodrome de Meaux-Esbly (77).
Tel: 01 60 04 76 00
There are several companies (where English is spoken) offering hot-air balloon flights over Paris and the Ile-de-France.
Paris and Ile-de France is good for climbers. Climbing circuits are graded - and marked by a colour-coding system - from suitable for children/easy through to extremely difficult/expert routes.
|easy/for children||difficult||more difficult||very difficult||extremely difficult|
Fédération française de la montagne et de l'escalade is the French national association for climbing and mountaineering (French speaking only).
- Fédération française de la montagne et de l'escalade
At: 8/10 quai de la Marne, 75019 Paris
Tel: 01 40 18 75 50
Centre Européen d'Escalade: One of Europe's largest rock-climbing halls with over 1,200 m2 of climbing face and more than 160 routes. A place to train or learn rock climbing.
- Centre Européen d'Escalade
At: 3 rue des Alouettes, 94320 Thiais
Tel: 01 46 86 38 44
Antrebloc Escalade: Climbing centre open to all, introduction and training on the 1,000 m2 purpose-built climbing wall. There is also a shop specialising in climbing equipment.
- Antrebloc Escalade
At: 5 rue Barbusse, 94800 Villejuif
Tel: 01 47 26 52 44
In winter the Patinoire du Parvis de la Défense and Patinoire de l'Hôtel de Ville bring ice-skating into the public arena with these and other open-air rinks around the city. The Mairie de Paris website publishes the annual Patinoires de Noël (Christmas ice skating rinks).
- See the Mairie de Paris website: Click here (in French)
There are lots of activities available on Paris' many waterways, the Seine, Marne and Oise rivers as well as the canals. Aquatic centres offer facilities for sports such as waterskiing, canoeing, kayaking, wakeboarding, rowing, pedal boating, yachting and boats for hire (with or without a license). Many of these centres are set in parkland with small beaches and other non-water based activities.