Where to play table tennis in Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, and Coquitlam

Ping Pong In Paris

From tables in parks, to dedicated clubs, Paris is table tennis-friendly!

With some spare time and some extra cash to burn, your Ping Pong In Vancouver editor-in-chief Beo hopped on a flight to Paris, France to explore what table tennis opportunities exist in a large European city.

While Vancouver continues to score a failing grade for ignoring table tennis in parks, we set off to see what table tennis opportunities, public and private, there are in a sports-oriented world-class city like Paris. We were not disappointed. As the country prepares for the 2024 summer Olympics, all signs suggest the sport is growing in popularity in France. Some of this is likely due to the encroyable Lebrun boys, Alexis and Félix, France’s best table tennis players who have performed at the highest levels of the sport for the past several years.

It’s estimated that between 3.5 and 5 million people in France play table tennis occasionally while more than 200,000 are registered members of the FTTF, the French Table Tennis Federation. According to the blog, Inside The Games, with support from the French government, the FTTF set out a plan to install 1,000 table tennis tables in 350 locations across the country before the opening of the Paris 2024 Olympics and Paralympics. Compare that to dusty old Table Tennis Canada for whom only elite players matter; and for whom there is zero understanding on how developing outdoor table tennis leads to more participation in the sport. Meanwhile, here in France, according to FTTF President Gilles Erb, “The objective of placing tables in public spaces is to win over new practitioners and in particular occasional leisure practitioners by offering them a table tennis opportunity adapted to their expectations”. This results of this ambitious goal are evident all over Paris. We found table tennis tables in ones, twos and threes in parks large and small, many with players –young, old, groups of teens, even an quartet of drunks. Without exception, each of these tables is surrounded by park space with no chance of a ball (and the player chasing it) entering a busy street or bike route. It’s almost like table tennis is treated like a real sport over here!

Besides finding numerous tables in parks, a true measure of how much a society embraces the sport of table tennis, we found numerous table tennis clubs listed within the 20 arrondissements (administrative districts) of central Paris, along with a table tennis-themed bar and several other bars claiming to have at least one TT table. We even stumbled upon an independent Table Tennis 11 store stocked full of gear including a table in the centre of the store and dozens and dozens of demo racquets to try in advance of a purchase. How cool is that?

In this post, Ping Pong In Vancouver shares what we found in our search for table tennis opportunities in Paris…

Map above: This map is from the website PingPongMap.net by Peter Ulrich from Berlin, and shows the multitude of table tennis opportunities in the greater Paris area.

Ping Pong in Paris' Parks

As mentioned above, as we walked the streets we found numerous parks, large and small with table tennis tables in Paris. They proved to be almost as ubiquitous as kids playgrounds. According to the ministry of sport, there are TT tables in practically every arrondissement of the city. The tables in parks typically have an aggregate stone playing surface reinforced with a metal edge, metal net and concrete base and we think most are made by Cornilleau, the French table tennis company.

Table Tennis Clubs in Paris

Surprisingly, we found that nearly every one of Paris’ 20 arrondissements was home to at least one table tennis club. In our district, the 20th arrondissement, we visited with administrators Guillaume and Dominique of Sporting Paris 20 Tennis de Table, a club with nearly 400 members, to get a sense of how a typical club thrives in a city where real estate prices are through the roof much like in Vancouver. Like most TT clubs in Paris, sp20tt.net rents space in one of the large public gyms common in most districts here. There are no community centres as there are in Vancouver. Instead, sports agencies vie for space in these large gyms. As a result, there are set hours for each sport each week, and no table tennis club we found had a dedicated space to call its own. This is much like in Vancouver where the few TT clubs in existence operate on limited hours in shared spaces like private halls or community centres. We found a very convenient list of clubs across France arranged by area at this website, pongiste.fr. Just type in the area where you’re looking for a club and hit enter. We were really amazed at how many clubs there are in France overall.

Table Tennis Gear Shops in Paris

Paris is home to a chain of sporting goods store called Decathalon and, like most sporting goods store in Canada, the table tennis section at Decathalon is tiny and filled with sub-standard, entry-level racquets and cheap balls. However, if you’re a player looking for the best world-class gear you’ll want to wander over to the Table Tennis 11 store at Rue Richer 45. Here you’ll find expert staff and the best array of trial racquets we have ever seen. Represented among these are just about every combination of blade and rubber known to man! This is a really important feature that only physical gear shops can offer; that is, the opportunity to try racquets and rubbers before you buy. The shop has a table in the centre of the floor and you are encouraged to check out the demos. Interestingly, while this TT11 shop sports the same name, branding and website style as the Table Tennis 11 online store based out of Estonia, it is independently owned and operated.

Table Tennis Bars in Paris

We found one very popular table tennis bar in Paris, Gossima. We did not visit, but found this write-up from Adam Roberts in Spotted by Locals: “Housed in what was previously a working garage (and a hairdressing salon!), this large space is now home to around 10 ping pong tables spread over two levels. The tables are of course the major attraction, but there is also a decent bar which serves snacks and reasonably-priced cocktails, and comfortable zones in which to relax whilst waiting for a table. In the evenings at weekends the bar becomes almost a ping pong disco, with live DJs spinning discs whilst you work on your topspin.”

Address:
4 Rue Victor Gelez, Paris
Telephone number:
+33967297579
Opening Times:
12:00pm – 02:00am daily
Price:
Per 30 min: € 5