Paris, City of lights and dreams

Welcome to Tennis & Travels, a new column that applauds the readers who do decide to combine business with pleasure. Because life is short, and you should travel and play tennis—maybe even do both at once.

It’s almost as if these things write themselves. While one part of the world is generally busy living in a great and awesome climate, I’m stuck in Canada.

More importantly, I’m stuck in Quebec. This is the place where, not coincidentally, the joke goes that we know two seasons: winter and July. (It’s funny, because it’s true.) Put another way—it snowed in Montreal on March 30, 2014, and on March 30, 2015. Put yet another way—there is still ice on the outdoor pool I’m looking at right now, as I am typing this. (But at least the birds are chirping, alright alright.)

I’ll step down from my soapbox just long enough to write that you should definitely and absolutely find a way to attend this season’s Roland Garros—if only for the fact that, should you be a fellow Canadian, you may get a merciful break from Mother Nature’s winter.

Oh, but there are plenty of more reasons to do so. My favourite? The fact that Babolat, a French tennis company, is unveiling a group of exclusive French Open branded equipment including bags, strings and its Aeropro Drive racket. (I received it all in a neat email that doubled as a press release. Thank you, Babolat.)

Why not go to the French Open to watch Lucien work his craft?

But maybe #racketnerd isn’t your thing, of course. Maybe you just want to watch some tennis, in which case you are in luck because the French Open delivers that every single year. Well, that and a Rafael Nadal win because, yes, the Spaniard still has only lost once in his career on Court Philippe Chatrier.

Speaking of, the renovation work that had been scheduled to finish in 2017 at the French Open site is now on hold after the Paris council allowed a new study of the land. This means that, for now at least, Roland Garros will remain the (relatively) little and charming Grand Slam tournament that it is. The motivation behind those renovation works appears to be over a concern that without them, the tournament might relocate to a different country so maybe hurry up and attend the event while you still can?

For now, I say that we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. In 2015, Roland Garros remains and, if the main stadium isn’t quite the landmark that others on the tennis calendar are, Paris does not lack for those.

Indeed, if Roland Garros is the place where dreams made of clay go to die at the feet of ruthless ruler Nadal, then the City of Paris is the place for your other dreams to flourish. The Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Arc de Triomphe are all among the most well known attractions in the world… and they’re all in Paris.

Head to Paris for the tennis and stay for all the rest, which also includes the incredible cuisine too.

Oh and two weeks earlier is the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, also known as the Rome Masters 1000 event. As the final tune-up before the big prize of Paris, Rome usually attracts every one of the top players on the ATP World Tour. It’s also, you know, held in Rome, the one city that can realistically challenge Paris’s claim as the most gorgeous place on earth. You know. The Coliseum. The Vatican and St. Peter’s Square. The Trevi Fountain. The Sistine Chapel. The Pantheon. You name it, there’s a chance it’s either in Rome (or in Paris).

Take your summer vacation in May, because you deserve it. Attend the 2015 Roland Garros, but arrive in Paris two weeks earlier to visit Rome.

Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG