Sports in French

Instructor: Marcy Farrell
Can you guess which sports are most popular in France? In this lesson, you will learn the names of sports in French. You will also learn how to talk about teams, games, and championships.

Team Sports


Soccer is the most popular team sport in France, followed closely by rugby and handball. Basketball has become more and more popular in recent years. Let's look at the names of some team sports:

  • le foot (pronounced: luh fooht) \ soccer
  • le rugby (pronounced: luh ruhg-bee) \ rugby
  • le handball (pronounced: luh and-bahl) \ handball
  • le basketball (pronounced: luh bah-sket bahl) \ basketball
  • le baseball (pronounced: luh bayz-bahl) \ baseball
  • le football américain (pronounced: luh fooht bahl ah-may-ree-kehn) \ American football

A Team

In French, a team is une équipe (pronounced: oohn ay-keep). To state a certain kind of team, we say une équipe de... (pronounced: oohn ay-keep duh...). For example, une équipe de foot or une équipe de rugby.

France has a number of professional soccer teams supported by dedicated fans. Some of the top teams are Olympique de Marseille (pronounced: oh-lam-peek duh mar-say), Paris-Saint Germain (pronounced: par-ee san zher-man), and Olympique Lyonnais (pronounced: oh-lam-peek lee-on-ay). French teams don't have mascots, but fans generally refer to the teams by their initials. So Olympique de Marseille is OM, Paris-Saint Germain is PSG, and Olympique Lyonnais is OL.

Other Sports

Tennis and cycling are also important sports in France. Many people enjoy skiing, rowing, and swimming. Let's learn the names of some more popular sports:

  • le tennis (pronounced: luh ten-eece) \ tennis
  • le ski (pronounced: luh skee) \ skiing
  • le cyclisme (pronounced: luh see-klees-muh) \ cycling, or bicycle racing
  • la natation (pronounced: lah nah-tah-syon) \ swimming
  • la gymnastique (pronounced: lah zheem-nah-steek) \ gymnastics
  • l'athlétisme (pronounced: lat-lay-tees-muh) \ track and field, including the high jump and running
  • l'aviron (pronounced: lah-vee-ron) \ rowing

Game and Competitions

A game is un match de... (pronounced: uhn mahtch duh). So, a soccer game is un match de foot, while a tennis game is un match de tennis. A competition is un tournoi de...(pronounced : uhn tor-nwah duh). For example, you could compete in un tournoi de rugby, un tournoi de gymnastique, or un tournoi de natation.


image of trophy

In French, championship is un championnat de... (pronounounced : uhn shahm-pee-oh-nah duh). For example, athletes might compete in un championnat de handball or un championnat de gymnastique. Some team sports, such as soccer and rugby, determine champions through a cup game, such as the League Cup, la Coupe de la Ligue (pronounced: lah koop duh lah leeg), or the World Cup, la Coupe du Monde (pronounced: lah koop dooh mond).

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