The French Open – one of the tennis world's four Grand Slams – takes centre stage in Paris at Roland-Garros from Sunday 26 May until Sunday 9 June and, although tickets are in short supply, there are some easy ways to catch some of the action or simply embrace the festivities. Here is our guide how.

Rafael Nadal, clad in bright blue and crouched in anticipation, awaits a ball served from his opponent across the net; the image is shot from ground level looking up towards Nadal from the back and across to the stands beyond
11-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal returning serve at Roland-Garros © Leonard Zhukovsky / Shutterstock / Getty Images

Landing a last-minute ticket

While most stadium seat tickets are snapped up within minutes of release in March, there is always the possibility of getting your hands on some during the tournament itself. If you arrive in the week before the main draw begins on 26 May, hard-fought qualifying matches are taking place daily on the outside courts of Roland-Garros from 20 May, and a day pass can usually be bought on the official website (even on the day of play) for €20. These outside court passes are available throughout the tournament and offer close-up action from some of the world's top ranked players.

While you won't see the likes of Serena Williams, Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer playing singles on these courts, you may see Grand Slam winners such as Serena and her sister Venus playing early rounds of women's doubles. Sure not to be sold out before your arrival are the evening passes for access to the outside courts after 5.30pm each day between 25 May and 5 June – these don't go on sale until 72 hours prior to entry (the first batch are up for sale at 5.30pm on 23 May).

Crowds in colourful attire walk to and fro along a wide boulevard leading up to Court Suzanne Lenglen; on either side of the pedestrian path are temporary stalls beneath large green trees selling drinks, food and tennis paraphernalia
Crowds mix outside Court Suzanne Lenglen within the Stade Roland-Garros tennis complex during the French Open © Jimmie48 Photography / Shutterstock

The official website also runs a resale service for people to sell unused tickets, so keep an eye out for any last-minute options throughout the tournament. On the last day of the French Open, which features the gentlemen's singles final, the 'We're all going to the final!' event takes place – simply buy one of the outside court day passes (€20) online, bring a picnic and plant yourself in front of a giant screen to take in the action with the masses.

It's important to note that throughout the French Open no tickets are sold at the gates.

A red clay tennis court, with crisp white lines, sits beneath the elegant iron arches of the Eiffel Tower's large feet; ornate shadows cast by the steel structure spread across the court, with a blue sky in the background
Part of 'Roland-Garros in the City', a court has been built for some showcase matches beneath the Eiffel Tower © Rindoff Petroff / Suu / Getty Images)

Tennis stars (and a zip line) in action at the Eiffel Tower

As part of the tournament's 'Roland-Garros in the City' event, a clay-court has been constructed beneath the four feet of Paris' most iconic landmark, the Eiffel Tower. From 30 May to 3 June there will be plenty of action taking place here, including exhibition matches featuring some of the sport's true legends. On the evening of 30 May, John McEnroe, Mansour Bahrami, Sergi Bruguera and Cédric Pioline will take to the court for a men's doubles match, followed on the morning of 2 June by a mixed doubles match featuring Andre Agassi and Stefi Graf playing Àlex Corretja and three-time French Open champion Arantxa Sánchez. Forty of the world's top under-13 players will also be stepping out onto this incredible stage to battle for victory in the Longines Future Tennis Aces tournament. The site will also include an exhibition covering the history of the French Open at Roland-Garros, as well as intermittent opportunities to have your picture taken with the tournament’s iconic Musketeers’ Cup and Suzanne-Lenglen Cup trophies.

If you're over 18 and can't get the view of court you desire, Perrier will be operating a free zip line from the second floor of the Eiffel Tower between 29 May and 2 June. To make the leap involves a little luck – you'll need to engage with the main sponsor's Instagram, Twitter or Facebook accounts between 20 and 26 May, or be selected at random while at the Eiffel Tower via the same Perrier Instagram account.

A large crowd sits in the sun next to the beautifully-ornate facade of the city hall while watching the French Open tennis on a huge screen
People gathered to watch a French Open tennis match at Hôtel de Ville © Oliver Laban-Mattei / AFP/ Getty Images

Picnic in front of a giant screen at the Hôtel de Ville

In the winter the plaza in front of Paris' grand neo-Renaissance-style town hall is known for hosting an outdoor skating rink, but come the French Open it's usually decked out in Roland-Garros colours for tennis fans to flock and flop in front of a giant screen. Key matches are broadcast here, and you can join the atmospheric, picnic-friendly scene to watch it all for free.

Pick up a racket for a game of your own

There is no shortage of public tennis courts in Paris for you to play a fun match or two, but the six courts ensconced within the leafy confines of the Jardin du Luxembourg are particularly atmospheric. Courts at several dozen other public tennis centres are bookable via the Paris Tennis online service.

When not spectating, playing or talking tennis, 2019 is a year of plenty in Paris so enjoy everything the city has to offer.

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