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Sport and Fitness

France - Sport and Fitness

There are a number of sports which are very popular in France and the country is home to several of the world’s top sporting events including the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros Stadium and the 21 day Tour de France cycling competition which now regularly wanders into other countries as well as France. The good weather enjoyed throughout the country for most of the year makes cycling and tennis both popular as a pastime.

Water sports are popular in many areas of the country. The west coast close to Biarritz is ideal for those who enjoy surfing. Scuba diving is popular in the Mediterranean resorts and fishing is a favourite pastime in all areas of France. There are many lakes and rivers which are ideal for different types of fishing. Kayaking and rafting are available for those who want a sport with a little more adrenaline although these are best done under supervision. There are many companies which run adventure sports like these and areas such as the Rhone valley are considered to be the best places in the country for them.

Skiing is another favourite sport with the residents and visitors to the country. Some of the world’s leading ski resorts are located in France. There are resorts which suit all levels of experience and all offer tuition and other leisure activities such as spas. Resorts such as Chamonix and Meribel are popular destinations with the jet-set and star spotting is another favourite pastime in the area. The variety of resorts is mainly due to the different mountain ranges in the country. The Pyrenees separate France from Spain and the Alps cover the borders with Italy and Switzerland. Chamonix is located in the Alps on Mont Blanc and the Les Deux Alpes resort is one of the largest in the country, with slopes for all levels. Meribel is also close to Mont Blanc but if you prefer a resort in the Pyrenees the resort at Gavarnie is considered to be one of the best. It has one of the longest beginner’s runs in the region and the village of Gavarnie has much to offer when you are not skiing.

The large amount of countryside means that there is a wide variety of golf courses to choose from if you are an enthusiast. There are several golf courses which are considered to be world class and these include the course at Morfontaine, which is almost 100 years old and was built by the Duke of Guiche, the course at Les Bordes has been a private course for a few years and was designed by an American in the early 1980s and course at Chantilly, which is located in the Ile de France forest, very close to Paris.

If you want to join a golf club in France then you may find yourself waiting a few months to join a more prestigious club, but most standard clubs have availability on their membership lists. Joining fees are standard and many will expect you to be introduced by another member. If you want to take part in competitions in France you will need to have a handicap certificate. Your club can issue you with this for a small fee.

Joining a gym is gradually becoming more popular in France and most large towns have a modern gym and to make it easier for expats, the French use many English terms for gym activities as this is a relatively new sport in France. Most gyms will be equipped with all the cardio vascular equipment and weight training equipment that you would expect and there are always classes that you can join to do aerobics, spinning and yoga. Many will also give you the opportunity to hire a personal trainer to see you through your workout. Many of the gyms in larger towns are part of a chain but occasionally the local Mairie will run a gym. Most will be open 7 days a week, particularly the private gyms.

Those who live in the countryside will opt for gentler pursuits such as walking and horse riding and there are plenty of trails which are suitable for both. The countryside is filled with riding stables where you can take lessons and ride regularly.

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Expat Health Insurance Partners

Bupa Global

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Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.