ParisLongchamp racecourse is the backdrop for an exhilarating event where fashion meets sport… with a copious pour of champagne.
On the first Sunday of every October, thousands descend on the Bois de Boulogne in western Paris for a weekend of racing at one of its two racecourses. The Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is part of a two-day affair held at ParisLongchamp and is considered one of the best racing meetings in the world.
The main event, named as a tribute to the soldiers of the First World War, takes place on the Sunday, and during the course of the weekend, six other group 1 races are also contested, four group IIs, and two group 1s which are reserved for purebred Arabians.
The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe was first run on Sunday, October 3rd, 1920 and the race has been run at France Galop’s Longchamp (rebranded ParisLongchamp after a 140-million-euro refurbishment) for much of its existence. Major renovation work meant that the 2016 and 2017 editions of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe took place in Chantilly — prior to that World War II was the only disruption to the race. It was canceled in 1939 and 1940, then held at the nearby but now defunct Le Tremblay racecourse in 1943 and 1944.
Attending the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe today is an unforgettable experience. The atmosphere is electric. The race itself is a thrilling spectacle, with some of the world’s best horses and jockeys competing for the coveted prize. And no wonder, as it’s Europe’s most valuable flat horse race, with an impressive €5 million prize, making it one of the world’s richest flat races on turf.
This year the race was contested by 15 horses and Ace Impact (the favorite) strode to victory much to the thrill of jockey Cristian Demuro and trainer Jean-Claude Rouget who celebrated their second Arc win since 2019. Renowned jockey Frankie Dettori missed out on adding to his record with a win but remains the leading jockey, having won the prestigious race six times.
It’s an event that’s on every horse racing fan’s bucket list, and for good reason. Rich in history, ParisLongchamp racecourse is the perfect backdrop for this exhilarating and glamorous event where fashion meets sport, with a copious side of champagne. The Qatar Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe is not just a horse race but a celebration, which you’ll discover as the crowd’s cheers drown out the drum of the pounding hooves churning up the turf. As the French say, “Ce n’est pas une course, c’est un monument” – it’s not a race, it’s a monument.
Spectators will be impressed by the forward-leaning grandstand, inspired by a galloping horse, which affords panoramic views across the tracks, the paddock and the stables. Over 35,000 visitors from 50 countries attend the Arc each year, and millions of viewers are glued to their screens in the 60 countries that broadcast the race which takes place over a mile and a half of turf.
Foodies are not to be disappointed as there’s a generous selection of dining options including the food court, the Bistro Triomphe, the traditional Brasserie ParisLongchamp and the high-end Panorama Restaurant. Entertainment is available throughout the weekend for children and on the Saturday evening there’s live music.
As well as ParisLongchamp, the Bois de Boulogne in the 16th arrondissement is also home to Auteuil racecourse, which hosts regular steeplechase meetings. It’s the center of jump racing in France. While in the area, visitors might want to admire the popular art exhibits at the Fondation Louis Vuitton, see the landscaped gardens at the Château de Bagatelle, or take a look at the nearby Stade de Roland Garros.
Hotels to suit all budgets can be found within walking distance of the racecourse, with the affordable Ibis and Hôtel Première Classe just across the Pont de Suresnes, where you can enjoy a local market on Saturday. There’s also the more expensive Hôtel Atrium with its rooftop terrace that offers city views; Hôtel Paris Boulogne in Boulogne-Billancourt; and the luxurious Molitor Hotel & Spa with its legendary swimming pool.
If you’d prefer to stay in the center of Paris, the racecourse is well served by the metro and there’s a free shuttle service from Porte Maillot and Porte d’Auteuil. For those driving, parking at ParisLongchamp is subject to availability and can be booked in advance online for €5.
Arc weekend is a world-renowned event and a glorious day out for both horseracing fans and those that are looking for a sophisticated experience at a prestigious location. Hospitality packages range in price and tickets for the Sunday are available from only €20.
More information, visit the France Galop official website.
Lead photo credit : The Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. Photo credit: Florian Léger / SHARE & DARE