There are nine public stadiums within central Paris that offer football pitches as well as an athletics track and other facilities. They are open all year round and are free to use except when they have been reserved by associations, schools, or universities. Follow the links to find out more about the sports centers in your arrondissement: Léo Lagrange and Alain Mimoun (12th), Charles Moureu (13th), Jules Noël (14th), Stade Suchet (16th), Paul Faber (17th), Fillettes and Poissonniers (18th), and Louis Lumière (20th). It would be smart to call ahead to check availability to avoid disappointment.
In many of the city’s parks, you’ll find caged, multi-purpose sports grounds. They are equally good for football, basketball, netball, and just about any other sport that requires a rectangular playing field. While the mini-stadiums can be found even in the most central arrondissements (whereas most of the public ones are on the outskirts) they are incredibly popular. They are perfect for a game of five-a-side, so even if you aren’t the first ones there don’t be afraid to challenge the locals to a game of mini-foot or foot à cinq.
Champ de Mars
In most of the parks lacking a designated area for sports, the landscaping doesn’t lend itself to a game of footie: too many benches and floral borders. However, one of the best places to head (albeit on a quieter day in the off-season) is the Champ de Mars. The central section of the park is long, rectangular, grassy, and flat, almost as if it were designed with a friendly knockabout in mind. The only downside is you might find people desperate to get the perfect look-how-the-Eiffel-Tower-fits-between-my-fingers-photo encroach on your game from time to time.
Bois de Boulogne et de Vincennes
If you’re looking to have a full-on, 11-a-side game then you’ll probably want to head to one of the two woodland parks on either side of Paris, known as the lungs of the city. In the Bois de Vincennes, there are a couple of open, grassy sections where you can create a makeshift pitch as well as the Parc Municipal des Sports for a more formal affair. Over in the west at the Bois de Boulogne, you can try to find a patch amongst the trees or head to the Stade de la Muette or the municipal stadium Paul Faber which is not too far from the park.
There are two UrbanSoccer centers in Paris, one in the north at Porte d’Aubervilliers and one in the south at Porte d’Ivry. Both of these facilities allow you to book in advance and guarantee some decent playing time on one of ten indoor five-a-side pitches. The price varies depending on the time and day of the week you want to play but ranges from €50 to €130 per pitch per hour (so between €5 and €13 per person if you have two full teams). You can reserve from 9AM to 11:30PM.
The LE FIVE center near to Porte de la Chappelle is a similar setup to UrbanSoccer. It offers 12 indoor, five-a-side pitches with the latest generation synthetic surfaces and Adidas equipment. Prices range from €60 to €130 depending on the day and time and there is a €10 reduction if you book online in advance. The center is open every day from 9:30AM until midnight. It also runs regular competitions which you can enter if you manage to assemble a decent enough team.