How to stay fit in France?

Use your time studying in France to give both your head and your legs a good work out. There are many accessible and economical ways for students to work out in their host institute or elsewhere.

The importance of sport in France

The Tour de France, the French Open, the Vendée Globe, the 1998 FIFA World Cup and soon the 2024 Summer Olympics: France often plays host to the biggest competitions in the world of sport.

The French are not just spectators; they also love doing sport

One person in two regularly does something to stay in shape. The quality of the infrastructure and the geography of France make it easy to do many different kinds of sport, in both summer and winter.

"Sport is health"

Working out at the university

On campus, the Service Universitaire des Activités Physiques et Sportives (SUAPS - the University Physical Activity and Sport Department) lets students stay in shape for a modest annual payment. Many different sports are available to all, regardless of your level.

For the most athletic, the Fédération Française du Sport Universitaire (the French Federation of University Sport) organises sport competitions between student teams from all of the higher education institutes.

Sport associations and clubs

There are many sport associations in France. Clubs give you a chance to practise with a qualified trainer and to have regular access to specific equipment.

For some sports, such as fitness and yoga, there are many private clubs and centres. Students, or those under 26 years of age, sometimes qualify for discounts there. Check to see if there are discounts available and compare the different prices.                 

Good deals for students who want to keep fit

If you don't have the means or are not tempted by the idea of joining a sport club or association, you can work out on your own.

There's no point joining a club if you just want to swim a few lengths, for example. There are lots of municipal pools that are open to all. Students often receive reduced prices there.


Running is obviously the cheapest way to work out. If you don't like running on your own, join one of the running groups that meet up over the social networks and go running with a group of people. You can meet new people, practise your French and see the town from a different point of view.

In the big cities, some sport clubs offer free bicycle, or rollerblade excursions. These excursions often take place in the evening at the end of the week. The best known of them is Pari Roller. Every Friday evening, several thousand people get together to roam the streets of the capital on rollerblades for almost three hours.

pari roller
Roller ride in Paris

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