Learn 70+ Top French Sports Vocabulary To Boost Your French Learning

French Sports Vocabulary

One of the best ways to learn something new is to include your interests within the learning process. So, if you are a sports lover, you can strengthen your French learning by exploring different French sports vocabulary.

Sport is an integral part of French people’s lives. French people love to play games or sports both indoors & outdoors.

Exploring your favorite sports but in French will help you sharpen your French reading, listening, and speaking. Also, French is the national language of about 29 countries, each loving different sports.

Thus, learning crucial sports vocabulary in French can help your French learning and make it easy for you to talk about it with fellow French speakers.

So, to make French learning playful & fun for you, today we will be talking about sports in French, sports-related other terms, and more.

Let us begin and enjoy French learning as smoothly as saying good morning in French.

France is home to different kinds of sports. Here you can enjoy sports ideal for solo and groups of people both indoors & outdoors.

Like any other country, some sports or games in France are more popular than others. Below we have a list of the top seven most popular sports loved & enjoyed by the people of France.

However, you will be surprised to learn that cycling is not on the list despite France hosting the famous “Tour De France.” The reason is that cycling is not popular among the commoners.

Do not get disheartened; following this section, we have all the crucial sports-related vocabulary waiting for you. But before that, explore the list of famous French sports in French and English.

1. Football (Le football)

The most popular and one of the most favorite sports of French people is Football. 

Unlike American nations, almost in every European and Asian country, soccer is referred to as Football.

The people of France are crazy about this sport, and the country has excellent men’s and women’s teams playing for it with full support from the people and government.

France has won the football world cup twice so far. One was in 1998 against Brazil, and the other was in 2018 against Croatia.

Recently, France hosted the women’s world cup in 2019, which was a huge success

2. Horse Riding (l’équitation)

Apart from its culture, lifestyle, and mannerism, France is famous for breeding race and pedigree horses.

This is why horse riding or racing is highly popular here. France always hosts prestigious races like Arcs de Triomphe in Paris and the infamous Jockey Club in Chantilly.

Learning horse riding is a normal and important thing among the elite French. However, it is not restricted to them only.

There are about more than 700,000 active horse riders in France.

3. Tennis (Le tennis)

Another popular sport that almost every native is familiar with in France is Tennis.

You can estimate the popularity by learning that France always hosts the famous “French Open,” a big Tennis tournament.

This competition attracts millions of spectators locally & globally, along with the world’s best tennis players.

More than one million people in France claim to play tennis professionally or as a hobby.

So, if you move to France and want to make friends, begin with the places or clubs where they play tennis.

4. Judo/jujitsu (Le Judo/le jiu-jitsu)

Martial arts are quite popular globally, and France is no different. This sport is highly popular among French natives.

The most popular martial art forms in France are judo and jujitsu. These both are combat sports ideal for both old & young people. It is the reason a large number of people practice them.

France boasts some of the best martial artists on the international level. Over the years, the country has won three world championships multiple times.

5. Basketball (Le basketball)

Basketball is a religious event in North America. Its craze is not much in France as a professional sport, but the country has a good record of getting its players into the NBA.

Within France, the French national basketball team is known to be highly competitive. They actually beat the USA in 2019 in the basketball world cup.

Basketball is a leisure game for French people. Across the country, you will see many public basketball courts with people enjoying and having a great time with family & friends.

This sport is one of the most popular pastimes of the French, as over 600,000 French people know how to play it.

6. Rugby (Le rugby)

French people love rugby. It is a highly popular spectator sport played & watched by natives.

This sport is mainly played by men, which is also within southern France. You can see people enjoying it in Paris too.

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Regarding rugby, France has one of the best teams in Europe. The French rugby team has defeated famous teams like the All Blacks, New Zealand teams & more.

The team has made it to the Rugby World Cup final three times, a big deal for such a masculine sport.

7. Handball (Le handball)

If we have to pick a sport in which France holds supremacy is Handball. For the past 20 years, the country has been actively competing against Nordic nations and obviously winning.

France is a six-time world champion. They have won European championships three times and the Olympics twice.

There are both men’s & women’s teams equally brilliant at this sport. Also, locals have a great interest in this sport, and you can see them enjoying playing it as a hobby.

What Are The Different Kinds Of Sports Called In French?

Besides the seven most popular sports, there are several other sports that people of France know or like to engage in once in a while.

Across the globe, numerous sports & activities are enjoyed by people on different levels. So, as a French learner, you must master their names like you would master say how are you in French?

To simplify the learning process, we have divided all sports into categories. This way, you can reference a sport to its type and easily memorize the French alternatives.

Please understand that it is impossible to include every sport in the world on this list. But we have tried our best to have all the popular ones here.

A. Team Sports (Sports D’équipe)

All the sports under this category are the ones that can only be played with numerous people. These are not ideal solo sports.

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So, if you are competitive at heart, love sports, and want to make new friends, these games are ideal.

  • American Football- Le Football Américain        
  • Baseball- Le Baseball       
  • Basketball- Le Basketball  
  • Handball- Le Handball      
  • Hockey- La Hockey
  • Field Hockey- Le Hockey Sur Gazon 
  • Ice Hockey- Le Hockey Sur Glace
  • Rugby- La Rugby   
  • Sailing- La Voile     
  • Volleyball- La Volley-Ball   
  • Football/Soccer- Le Football/Le Foot

B. Indoor Sports (Sports d’intérieur)

Indoor sports are the ones that can be played inside a building, and you can easily enjoy playing them throughout the year.

  • Dance- La danse    
  • Gymnastics- La gymnastique      
  • Shooting- Le tir sportif      
  • Table Tennis/Ping-Pong- Le Tennis De Table  
  • Weightlifting- L’haltérophilie

C. Winter Sports (Sports d’hiver)

Not every country receives winter snow, which holds true for all French-speaking nations. But the regions that get the snow enjoy a wide range of winter sports during the period.

  • Cross Country Skiing- Le Ski de fond    
  • Down hill Skiing- La descente, Le Ski Alpin      
  • Figure Skating- Le patinage artistique    
  • Ice Climbing- L’escalade glaciaire
  • Luge- La Luge        
  • Mountaineering- L’alpinisme        
  • Speed Skating- Le patinage de vitesse

D. Summer Sports (Sports D’été)

The sports that can be enjoyed in the warmth of the summer are highly popular across the globe.

French people enjoy almost every summer sport, and below we have a list for you to learn in French.

  • Cycling- Le Cyclisme        
  • Diving- Le Plongeon         
  • Fishing- La Pêche  
  • Golf- Le Golf
  • Horse Riding- L’équitation 
  • Paragliding- Le Parpente  
  • Rowing- L’aviron    
  • Skateboarding- Le Skateboard    
  • Skydiving- Le parachutisme
  • Surfing- Le Surf      
  • Swimming- La Natation     
  • Tennis- Le Tennis   
  • Track- La Course   
  • Water Skiing- Le Ski Nautique     
  • White Water Rafting- Le Rafting

E. Combat Sports (Sports De Combat)

There is nothing better than learning self-defense for fun. There are rare activities that charge you and even help you take better care of yourself.

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Combat sports are a big deal in France, and you should learn them in French to start an easy conversation with a French native.

  • Boxing- La Boxe     
  • Combat Sports- Les Sports de combat  
  • Fencing- L’escrime 
  • Judo- Le judo         
  • Jujitsu- Le ju-jitsu
  • Karate- Le Karaté   
  • Kickboxing- Le Kick-Boxing         
  • Martial Arts- Les Arts Martiaux    
  • Taekwondo- Le Taekwondo        
  • Wrestling- La Lutte

F. Water Sports (Sports Aquatiques)

Regarding sports, the games that can be played on or in water is a completely different category. Water sports are fun games mostly played in teams. This category of sports is popular among French people.

  • Swimming- La Natation 
  • Rowing- L’aviron 
  • Fishing- La Pêche 
  • Diving- La Plongée 
  • White-Water Rafting- Le Rafting 
  • Sailing- La Voile / Le nautisme à la voile
  • Surfing- Le Surf 
  • Water Skiing- Le ski nautique 

G. Solo Sports/Activities(Sports/Activités En Solo)

Most sports or games require at least two people to play & enjoy them. But there are certain activities that you can play alone if you want to be by yourself.

These sports are equally thrilling and fun to team sports.

  • Mountaineering- L’alpinisme 
  • Horseback Riding- L’équitation 
  • Ice Climbing- L’escaladeGlaciaire 
  • Weightlifting- L’haltérophilie
  • Running- La Course 
  • Dancing- La Dance 
  • Walking- La Marche 
  • Bodybuilding- la musculation 
  • hiking, backpacking- la randonnée 
  • biking / Cycling- le cyclisme 
  • Bungee jumping- le saut à l’élastique 
  • Skateboarding- le skateboard 
  • abseiling- la descente en rappel 
  • shooting- le tir 
  • golf- le golf 
  • jogging- le jogging 
  • Hang gliding- Le deltaplane

Sports Players’ Vocabulary in French

Different sports have different words associated with them. If you call yourself a fan of any particular sport, you need to know what you call the players of that sport and more. This is crucial as you also need to know all these details about a sport in French.

Below we have a list of players & associated people of different sports in French masculine or feminine, accordingly.

  • A Team- Une Équipe (For Men)- Une Équipe Féminine (For Women)
  • A Badminton Player- Un joueur De Badminton (For Men)- Une joueuse De Badminton (For Women)
  • A Basketball Player- Un basketteur (For Men)- Une basketteuse (For Women)      
  • A Coach- Un entraîneur (For Men)- Une entraîneuse (For Women) 
  • A Handball Player- Un Handballeur (For Men)- Une Handballeuse (For Women)      
  • A Hockey Player- Un Joueur De Hockey (For Men)- Une Joueuse De Hockey (For Women)       
  • A Martial Artist- Un Artiste Martial (For Men)- Une Artiste Martiale (For Women)      
  • A Player- Un Joueur (For Men)- Une Joueuse (For Women) 
  • A Tennis Player- Un Joueur De Tennis (For Men)- Une Joueuse De Tennis          (For Women)
  • A Volleyball Player- Un joueur de volley-ball (For Men) – Un joueuse de volley-ball (For Women)    
  • A Wrestler- Un Lutteur (For Men)- Une Lutteuse (For Women)
  • Goalie- Le Gardien (For Men)- La Gardienne (For Women) 
  • Champion- Un Champion (For Men)- Une Championne (For Women) 
  • Team Captain- Le capitaine de l’équipe (For Men)-La capitaine de l’équipe  (For Women) 
  • Teammate- Un Coéquipier (For Men)- Une Coéquipière (For Women) 
  • Soccer Player- Un Footballeur (For Men)- Une Footballeuse (For Women) 
  • Winner- Un Gagnant (For Men)- Une Gagnante (For Women) 
  • Loser- Un Perdant (For Men)- Une Perdante (For Women) 
  • Somebody Who Does Sports- Un Sportif (For Men)- Une Sportive (For Women) 
  • Fan- Un supporteur (For Men)- Une supportrice (For Women) 
  • Rival- Un Rival/adversaire (For Men)- UneRivale/ adversaire (For Women)
  • A Boxer- Un Boxeur (For Men)- Une Boxeuse (For Women) 
  • A Judoka- Un Judoka (For Men)- Une Judoka/ judokate (For Women)         
  • A Dancer- Un Danseur (For Men)- Une Danseuse (For Women)     
  • A Gymnast- Un Gymnaste (For Men)- Une Gymnaste (For Women)
  • A Hiker- Un Randonneur (For Men)- Une Randonneuse (For Women)         
  • A Climber- Un Grimpeur (For Men)- Une Grimpeuse (For Women)  
  • A Horse Rider- Un Cavalier (For Men)- Une Cavalière (For Women)
  • A Cyclist- Un Cycliste (For Men)- Une Cycliste (For Women)
  • A Skater- Un Patineur (For Men)- Une Patineuse (For Women)      
  • A Skier- Un Skieur (For Men)- Une Skieuse (For Women)
  • A Pleasure Sailor- Un Plaisancier (For Men)- Une plaisancière (For Women)
  • A Windsurfer- Un Planchiste (For Men)- Une Planchiste (For Women)         
  • A Rower- Un Rameur (For Men)- Une Rameuse (For Women)       
  • A Swimmer- Un Nageur (For Men)- Une Nageuse (For Women)     
  • A Diver- Un Plongeur (For Men)- Une Plongeuse (For Women)

Most sports or games we play require special equipment and places to play.

Below we have listed names of sports equipment & places of some of the most popular sports in France.

  • Sneakers- Des Chaussures De Sport, Des Baskets 
  • Sporting Equipment- L’équipement sportif (M) 
  • Goal- Le But 
  • Net (Tennis, Voleyball)- Le Filet 
  • Gymnasium- Le Gymnase 
  • Basketball Net- Le Panier 
  • Stadium- Le Stade 
  • Scoreboard- Le Tableau d’affichage 
  • Basketball Court- Le Terrain De Basket 
  • Ice Skates- Les Patins À Glace
  • Ball (Big, Like A Basket Ball, Soccer Ball)- Un ballon 
  • Golf Club- Un Club De Golf 
  • Tennis Court- Un Court De Tennis 
  • Jersey- Un Maillot 
  • Game- Un Match 
  • Puck- Un Palet 
  • Shorts- Un Short 
  • Tracksuit- Un Survêtement 
  • Soccer Field- Un Terrain De Foot 
  • Uniform- Un Uniforme 
  • Bicycle- Un Vélo 
  • Hockey Stick- Une Crosse De Hockey 
  • Team- Une Équipe 
  • Racket- Une Raquette 
  • Defence- Le Défense 
  • The Crowd- Le Public 
  • Winner- Le Vainqueur 
  • Opponents- Les Adversaires 
  • A Shuttlecock- Un Volant
  • Spectators- Les Spectateurs 
  • Sports Announcer- Un commentateur sportif
  • Referee- Un Arbitre 
  • Championship- Un Championnat 

Sports Verbs in French That You Should Know

All sports, whether indoor or outdoor, are all about actions. You need to work through to win.

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There are special verbs associated with sports that help you communicate in a much easier way no matter with whom or where you are in the world.

  • To Catch- Attraper 
  • To Cheer- Acclamer
  • To Compete- rivaliser       
  • To Exercise- Faire De L’exercice 
  • To Fight- S’affronter/battre
  • To Hit- Frapper      
  • To Ice Skate- Patiner sur la glace
  • To Jump- Sauter    
  • To Keep Score- Compter Les Points      
  • To Kick- Donner Un Coup De Pied        
  • To Lose- Perdre     
  • To Pass- Passer    
  • To Punch- Donner Un Coup De Poing   
  • To Score- Marquer 
  • To Stretch- S’étirer 
  • To Swim- Nager     
  • To Tackle- Plaquer 
  • To Throw- Lancer / Jeter  
  • To Time- Chronométrer    
  • To Win- Gagner

Major Sporting Events in French With Examples

There are different kinds of sporting events happening across the globe throughout the year. Some have a global impact, while others are limited to a few continents or regions.

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Below are the most popular sporting events that every sports lover must know about, and a French learner can tell in French. The le Tour de France and Roland-Garros (the French Open) always take place in France.

Also, in the summer of 2023, Paris (France) will host the summer games or les Jeux d’été.

  • Track And Field- L’athlétisme 
  • European Football Championship (Soccer)- Championnat d’Europe de football
  • Cricket World Cup- La Coupe Du Monde De Cricket 
  • World Cup Of Soccer- La Coupe Du Monde De Football 
  • World Series- La Série Mondiale 
  • Grand Prix- Le Grand Prix 
  • Super Bowl- Le Super Bowl 
  • Tour De France- Le Tour De France 
  • Wimbledon- Le Tournoi De Wimbledon 
  • Globe (Yacht Racing)- Le Vendée Globe
  • Asian Games- Les Jeux Asiatiques 
  • Summer Games- Les Jeux D’été 
  • Winter Games- Les Jeux D’hiver 
  • Olympic Games- Les Jeux Olympiques 
  • French Open (Tennis)- Roland-Garros 

Different Ways To Start A Conversation About Sports In French

If you wish to talk about sports to other French speakers and want to fit into their sports culture, you need to learn the easy ways to start a conversation about sports and then make your way through.

To do so, you must know the right ways to say hello in French, followed by some simple sports-related questions or queries.

To help you, we have listed a few examples you can practice to get started.

  • Which sports do you play? (Quels sports pratiques-tu?)
    • I play football. (Je joue au football.)
  • Which sports do you like to watch? (Quels sports aimez-vous regarder?)
    • I like to watch Tennis. (J’aime regarder le tennis)
  • Who is your favorite tennis player? (Quel est votre joueur de tennis préféré?)
    • My favorite player is Novak Djokovic. (Mon joueur préféré est Novak Djokovic.)
  • Which football team do you support? (Quelle équipe de football encouragez-vous?)
    • I support Brazil. (Je soutiens le Brésil.)
  • Would you like to watch Roland-Garros? (Voulez-vous regarder Roland-Garros?)
    • Sure, I would love to. (Bien sûr, j’aimerais bien.)
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What are the different French paragliding terms?

If you will explore the list of extreme sports in French, paragliding is one of the most popular among natives as well as tourists.

It is a thrilling sport that people cannot get enough of. To enjoy and talk about it fully with a French speaker, you need to learn about the differences associated with this activity.

Below we have the most crucial ones listed for you.
• Un vol – a flight
• Une aile – a wing
• Le manche à air – the windsock
• Baptême en parapente– A paragliding initiation course
• Faire du parapente – to go paragliding
• Un parapente – a paraglider
• Un parapentiste – a paraglider
• Un casque – a helmet
• La sellette – paragliding harness
• Un équipement – gear
• Décoller – take off
• Le décollage – the takeoff
• Gonfler la voile – inflate the wing
• Atterrir– to land
• L’atterrissage – the landing
• Le vent – the wind
• Un courant d’airchaud ascendant outhermique – an ascending hot air stream

What are the different types of indoor games in French?

If you like to be inside, even when relaxing or enjoying a stimulating activity, indoor games are the best for you.

Here are some indoor games you can enjoy in your free time.
• boardgames- les jeux de société
• cardgames- les jeux de cartes
• checkers- le jeu de dames
• chess- les échecs
• darts- Les fléchettes
• pool- le billard
• video games- les jeux vidéo
• wordgames- les jeux de lettres

What is some French combat sports vocabulary?

If you are into martial arts or any other equivalent sports activity, you would love to know the French alternative to that particular one.

To get you started, we have listed someone in the combat sports vocabulary below:
• Faire du Judo – judo
• Faire de l’escrime – fencing
• Faire de la lutte – wrestling
• Faire de la boxe – boxing
• Les arts martiaux (un art martial) – martial art

What do you call a tennis player in French?

In French, there are different titles or words for males and females. This language is highly dominated by masculine and feminine forms.

So, unlike in English, in French, you have to be specific while talking about a player to make sure the listener can tell if you are talking about a guy or a girl.

Similarly, you will refer to a male tennis player by saying “un joueur de tennis” and a female tennis player by saying “une joueuse de tennis.”

Are sports famous in France?
YES. France is one of the most athletic countries in Europe. The country is well-known for its high-end and extreme sports taste.

The country loves sports like Football, rugby, handball, skiing, and more. Some sports have national teams representing the country internationally, while others are leisure activities for the locals.

France has no official national game, but many people consider Football the country’s national game. Also, some people refer to cycling and tennis as the national games of France.

Despite all the fight for national sports, France has several brilliant activities for locals and tourists.


Sports are a crucial part of French culture. You can use it as a similar ground to form bonds & friendships with a French-speaking person, whether living in France or anywhere else in the world.

Learning essential French sports vocabulary will help you strengthen your French learning and be a fluent reader, writer, and speaker in French.

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