It’s hard to believe that the French Open starts in less than a month...! There are a lot of captivating storylines in the lead up to the second Grand Slam of the year: Federer will play for the first time since 2015, Nadal (AKA the ‘clay GOAT’) has yet to win a title on clay and until last week no one on the WTA had won two titles in 2019. Needless to say, this is a great year to watch some live professional tennis in Paris.
If you want to have an amazing experience at Roland Garros, this guide tells you what to bring, where to eat, what to wear, how to get there and everything else you need to know to make the most out of your trip.
If you don’t yet have tickets, you can find your official alternatives here.
Men's Singles: Rafa Nadal defeated Dominic Thiem
Women's Singles: Simona Halep defeated Sloane Stephens
Men's Doubles: Pierre-Hugues Herbert & Nicolas Mahut defeated Oliver Marach & Mate Pavic
Women's Doubles: Barbora Krejčíková & Kateřina Siniaková defeated Eri Hozumi & Makoto Ninomiya
Mixed Doubles: Latisha Chan & Ivan Dodig defeated Gabriela Dabrowski & Mate Pavić
Qualifying: May 20 to 24th, 2019
Main Draw: May 25 to June 9th, 2019
Qualifying rounds start at 10am and Main Draw matches start at 11am. The Quarter-final rounds starting on June 4th commence at 2pm and the Ladies Semi-finals on June 6th won’t start before 3pm. On June 7th, both Men’s Semi-finals kick off in succession at 12:45pm and the Ladies and Men’s finals on June 8th and 9th respectively both start at 3pm.
Bag restrictions: Fans are allowed maximum one bag per person. Only bags with a capacity of 15 litres or less will be allowed inside. All other bags and forbidden items must be deposited at left luggage before the controlled point of entry.
Food & drink: Unlike Wimbledon, fans don’t tend to bring picnics to consume at the venue. However, if you do fancy smuggling in a croque monsieur, you won’t get stopped at security. There are a variety of concession stands and restaurants which give fans both casual and more formal dining options. In addition, there are four terraces for when you need a break in the action combined with refreshments.
What to wear: Dressing for comfort and variable weather is the best strategy. There isn’t a requirement to dress smartly for the general public but a fair portion of the crowd will turn up in dresses and collared shirts. Which ever approach you take, make sure you bring (or buy) a hat and umbrella and an additional layer (ie light scarf or cardigan) if the forecast looks suspect.
If you’re partial to boutique hotels, Tablet Hotels and Mr. & Mrs. Smith are solid sources. If you want to see a wider variety of options, consider Booking.com, Expedia and Splendia. If your trip includes a larger group, Airbnb is always worth checking out as July is one of busiest and most expensive times to visit London.
The charming and leafy 16th Arrondissement
Roland Garros is located at the southern boundary of the Bois de Boulogne in Paris's 16th arrondissement. The triangular property is bounded by Avenue Porte d'Auteuil on the north and Boulevard d'Auteuil on the south. The eastern boundary is Avenue Gordon Bennett. The facility isn’t in central Paris, so make sure you investigate your preferred route in advance so you don’t underestimate your travel time.
The closest Métro stations are Lines 9 and 10. For Line 9: get off/on at Michel-Ange Auteuil, Michel-Ange Molitor. If you’ve chosen Line 10: get off/on at Porte d'Auteuil, Michel-Ange Molitor, Boulogne Jean-Jaurès or Pont de Saint-Cloud
Bus: Routes 22, 32, 52, 62, 72, 123, 241 and PC1
A special Roland Garros taxi stand operates in May and June during the French Open on the southeast corner of the venue grounds, at the corner of Robert Schuman Avenue and Auteuil Boulevard.
Once you get to the Stade Roland Garros property, you have to pass through one of three checkpoints depending on the specifics of your tickets.
If you opt to take a cab, be aware traffic around the event can be paralyzing and there’s a dearth of convenient drop off spots. If you do take a taxi, make sure you allow an extra half hour then you think you’d need to hedge against traffic congestion.
You can hire a taxi at any of the nearly 500 official cab stands or taxi ranks, by waving down a taxi from the curb, or by telephoning a cab stand or radio dispatcher. (Warning: If you call for a taxi, the meter will start when the driver heads for your pickup location - not after you get in the cab.)
Taxi ranks near the stadium:
Uber functions well in Paris and we have never had any issues securing a ride *under normal circumstances*. Catching an Uber ride to the grounds shouldn’t be an issue but securing one at the end of the day is far from guaranteed.
Note that pickup and drop off areas are limited to the following locations:
Given Stade Roland Garros’ rather suburban location, cycling could be an attractive option. The City of Lights offers a cyclescheme called Vélib’ which has over 20,000 bikes and 1,800 docking stations. If you’re staying in the vicinity of the tournament but slightly out of walking distance this option is definitely worth considering. The stations closest to the property are 16 034, 16 035 and 16 036.
Driving your own car (hint: bad idea)
The street parking spaces around Roland Garros are reserved for local residents: any vehicles parked in these spaces may be issued with a parking ticket and the vehicle may be towed. You can refer to the map above for limited parking lots around the site, but this is the least practical and efficient option available.
1. Don’t worry about carrying cash. The local economy rarely requires cash as expenditures like transportation and eating at restaurants can all be done via card.
2. Bring water on the Metro. If it’s warm and packed on the Metro, any delays to your journey will make you pleased you remembered a source of hydration.
3. Bring an umbrella and a scarf / or light cardigan for unpredictable weather. Late May / early June is an incredible time to visit Paris and the weather is often in the mid-high 20s. However, 2019 has had some unpredictable weather patterns thus far, so it would be prudent to being a layer or two and rain gear just to be on the safe side.
4. Pack with versatility in mind. Airlines everywhere have become increasingly (and exceedingly!) stingy with baggage allotments for economy tickets. In order to be on the safe side and avoid paying an unanticipated surcharge, travel with bags that work in a variety of circumstances. The Epirus Signature Collection was designed for active living, including travel.
Plus, if you’re planning on playing tennis yourself in Paris, the Epirus bags are a great option to fly with as they fit the guidelines issued by all major airlines. If the Signature Collection aesthetic is too formation for you, check out the Everyday Collection instead.
5. Download the Citymapper app for navigating Paris. It’s a godsend. It’s more user friendly than Google Maps if you’re walking or using public transport. A slick bonus feature? If you start a route and hop on a mode of public transport, the app will alert you when you need to disembark.
6. Book sought-after restaurants in advance (via Opentable). Needless to say, Paris is a culinary mecca. Whether you plan to eat out in world class restaurants or neighbourhood Bistros, May / June is a very busy time of year so it’s best to book in advance. Here are some ideas of where to eat and drink.
7. Hit some balls yourself during your time in Paris. Tennis is a high profile, much-loved sport in France, so there are many neighbourhood clubs and facilities with courts. Here is a list of courts in to check out. The popularity of the sport also means that the courts will typically be busy, so best to book in advance if the option is available.