Here are our top 10 Roland Garros Tips for attending after a wonderful 2 days of seeing Federer, Nadal, Wawrinka, Halep and so many more. We learned all the insider information on where to eat, the best tickets, what to wear, taking the metro, where to watch when in Paris without tickets (hint: it’s a fantastic rooftop with 360 degree views of Paris), where to grab an amazing authentic French dinner right the near Stade Roland Garros and so much more. Don’t forget to also read our guide to Roland Garros Tickets and Hotels.

1. Getting Roland Garros Tickets

Being online the day individual tickets go on sale, usually in mid-March, is your best way to get seats at Philippe Chatrier, Suzanne Lenglen and Simonne-Mathieu. While Philippe Chatrier is the show court of Stade Roland Garros, it does not always hold the best matches. Suzanne Lenglen and Simonne-Mathieu will often let you see much better tennis up close in a more intimate setting than Philippe Chatrier. Consider spending less and make sure to comparison shop when buying Roland Garros Tickets. Here is the view from from Row 10 @ Suzanne Lenglen during a Federer/Wawrinka match that was the highlight our RG experience. Check out our Philippe Chatrier, Suzanne Lenglen and Simonne-Mathieu seating maps to be sure you get the best seats.

 

 

Federer vs Wawrinka on Suzanne Lenglen Roland Garros

2. Save ALL Your Tickets and Bring Your ID

Anytime you get a ticket in Paris, anywhere, save it until you are absolutely sure you do not need it again. This includes both your Metro tickets and your Roland Garros tickets. On the metro, they often have police waiting when you exit the train to check your tickets and if you don’t have them, they try to charge you a 50 euro fine. At the stadium, you need your tickets to both enter and exit Stade Roland Garros. To enter, you will need an ID that exactly matches the name on your ticket. We all used our USA driver licenses and did not need passports, but make sure to have your ticket and ID on you at all times while attending Roland Garros.

3. Download the Roland Garros App

As with most of the Grand Slams, the apps let you read about all the players, review grounds maps, receive weather and playing alerts, pre-order food and avoid the long lines, store your tickets and much more. My friend who bought our tickets assigned me two of them through RG, however, only one showed up in my app in advance. After emailing RG, we discovered my first and last names had been reversed, which is why the ticket was not in my app. Luckily, we were able to fix it in advance, otherwise they would not have let me in the stadium as my ID and tickets would not have matched.

4. The Food at Roland Garros is Terrible!

Having been spoiled by the US Open for many years, we were shocked at the poor food choices at Roland Garros. It’s Paris, for goodness sake, and they want 15+ euros for hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza and caesar salads. We all know stadium food is notoriously overpriced, and we were OK with that, but we at least thought there would be charcuterie and French bread or other French delicacies. Sadly, the choices for non-hospitality food are terrible, the lines are very long (like over an hour) and there is not enough seating on the grounds. You can avoid some of the lines by pre ordering your food on the app, but the regular choices are dismal. On our second day at RG, we went to Carefour City and just bought ourselves some basic sandwiches to carry in, because they were same quality as the stadium food, for a few euros and no lines. Luckily, there is a Moet and Chandon booth right outside Philippe Chatrier that goes very well with a cheap Carefour City sandwich.

5. Check out the Practice Courts

It was absolutely fantastic to see Rafa and Halep up close with their hitting partners. We were 10 feet from the world’s best players watching them practice and they were both super gracious about autographs when they were finished. You can’t get that close to the players even in the first row on a show court, so this was a real treat.

Roland Garros Practice Courts

6. The BEST Dinner Restaurant Near Stade Roland Garros

After an 8-10 hour day at RG, with really poor food choices, you might want to plan where you are eating nearby and let me tell you, we happened upon the BEST authentic french restaurant within a 10 minute walk of the Stadium. We first tried to walk in to a cool rooftop spot that is a 4 minute walk from the stadium, but they were booked solid, so if this is your jam, be sure to make a reservation in advance at https://www.mltr.fr/en.

For a proper french meal, definitely (!!!!!) check out Little Bulles, which was absolutely delightful. Little Bulles is a local favorite owned by a lovely couple and we were the only tourists there, as it is was packed with Parisians. The gentleman owner was kind enough to translate the entire menu for us as it is only in French and he made wonderful recommendations. With appetizers, wine and desserts, I think we paid about $50 USD per person for some of the best food we’ve ever had, sitting outside in delightful weather and reviewing all the awesome details of our amazing day at Roland Garros. Read More: https://www.littlebulles.com.

Little Bulles Restaurant Paris

7. Where to Watch Roland Garros in Paris

If you are not going to Stade Roland Garros every day of the tournament, you’ll need a place to watch the game on your Paris exploring days. We found the absolute ideal spot to watch the matches – on a rooftop, with a huge outdoor TV and drop dead gorgeous 360 degree views of Paris. Unfortunately, the weather was just terrible (remember the wind in which Rafa and Fed played in 2019?) so we had to leave and go to Corcoran’s, a chain Irish Pub in Paris, which also had a lot of TVs. But if you get even decent weather, definitely head to the Terrass Hotel Rooftop, https://www.terrass-hotel.com/en/restaurant-and-bar.

Terrass Hotel Rooftop Roland Garros

8. Walk All Around the Grounds

It’s easy to think all of Stade Roland Garros is just stadiums and courts, but there is so much more to see and do there, especially if you walk towards the new Simonne-Mathieu court. Check out the little quaint "town" on the way, the gardens surrounding Simonne-Mathieu and then lounge just outside the court on a special Roland Garros bean bag chair while watching the live tournaments on the large screen. For the best insta-worthy photo ops, head to the "orange wall" right outside Philippe-Chatrier.

Roland Garros Lounge Seats

9. What to Wear to Roland Garros

The bottom line at Roland Garros is to be prepared for sun, wind and rain. Basically, bring everything. I was expecting people to be very dressed up, as they were at the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters, however, most people were fairly casual. There were plenty of men in sport coats and women in summer dresses, but mostly, fans were in typical stadium wear. When the skies opened on us, almost everyone had their rain gear and umbrellas out – and make sure not to get caught in a stairwell, because the wind was brutal there! Roland Garros is pretty strict about match continuing through heavy winds and light rain, so if you want to stay out there and watch the tennis, please be prepared.

10. Watch the Qualifying Rounds and Practice

There are several great reasons to head over to Roland Garros a bit early to catch the qualifying tournament.

Value. Tickets are only 20 Euros (about $24 USD) per adult, and only 10 Euros ($12 USD) for those under the age of 20.

Avoid the crowds. The attractions, restaurants, and overall of glitz and glam of a grand slam tournament may not be in full swing during the qualifying rounds, but it will be way less crowded. That means you can get a seat at basically any qualifying match, and maneuver the grounds with ease.

Big Names Practicing. While qualifying matches are being contested, the practice courts will most likely have big name pros preparing for Roland Garros. It’s a great opportunity to snap some photos of your favorite players as they get their game in sync for two weeks on the terre battue. If you can’t make it to qualifying, don’t worry, you can see players practicing all tournament long. However, depending on the caliber of the player and their preferences, they may stick to the stadiums for practice if they are still in the draw by the second week.

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Roland Garros Match Times

Qualifying matches generally begin at 10am, and main draw matches start around 11am during the first week. As the tournament progresses, singles matches start later. Usually from the Quarterfinals and on, singles matches start around 2pm or later. However, it’s best to check the tournament schedule consistently, as things change between rain delays and long matches.

Long Matches – No Final Set Tie Breaker (yet)

Speaking of long matches…there are two reasons why you can expect play to continue on indefinitely. It’s great for the fans, and super tiring for players not named Rafael Nadal! First, the red clay slows down the ball, so points last longer. Second, Roland Garros is the last of the Grand Slams (as of 2019) without a final set tiebreaker. You need to win by 2 games. Since there are no lights at Roland Garros, play can only go so late, which means many matches in the early rounds end up spilling over to the next day.

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Getting to Roland Garros

Roland Garros is located in the 16th arrondissement, which translates to “not exactly in the heart of Paris”. Fear not, as there are actually a number of ways to get there.

Taxi, Uber or Prive Chauffeur

Paris functions a lot like New York City or London in that you either take the subway or a taxi. Since we live in a future-world where we can summon cars from little computers in our pockets, take an Uber! No matter where you are in Paris, you can get a car to you in a matter of minutes. Traffic is pretty terrible, but if you don’t want to deal with crowds, this is absolutely the move.

When I was in Paris, I actually found the French equivalent of Uber more affordable, and more convenient. It’s an app called Prive Chauffeur, which simply translates to “Private Driver”.

Like any major sporting event, security is pretty tight at Roland Garros, so unfortunately you can’t just get dropped off at the front gate, unless you’re tennis royalty. If you tell your driver that you are going to Roland Garros, they should know where to drop you off (and if they don’t know, they’ll soon learn during the fortnight of tennis). But just in case, copy and paste these drop off points into your phone:

  1. Auteuil: in front of the fountain on the Place de la Porte d’Auteuil, 75016, PARIS.
  2. Molitor: 2 avenue de la Porte Molitor, 75016, PARIS.
  3. Boulogne: Route de Boulogne à Passy, 75016, Paris or on the Carrefour des Anciens Combattants, 75016, Paris (Latitude: 48.84808 / Longitude: 2.242812).

Subway

Or as the French call it, ‘Metro’, is certainly the most popular way to get to Roland Garros. I wouldn’t say it’s a difficult option, but there will definitely be crowds, and the nearest subway stop is a solid 10 minute walk from the tennis venue. That being said, the Parisians know what they are doing when it comes to the underground, with trains arriving approximately every 5 minutes. Below are the names of the lines and stations you’ll want to take. The names are super French, but if you’re intimidated, don’t worry, this is a rare instance of where following the crowd will work in your favor: you’ll see crowds of people in their favorite tennis gear, hats, and sunglasses

Line 9: Mairie de Montreuil – Pont de Sèvres (stations: Michel-Ange Auteuil, Michel-Ange Molitor).
Line 10: Gare d’Austerlitz – Boulogne (stations: Porte d’Auteuil or Boulogne Jean-Jaurès).

Rent a Bike or a Car

If you’re feeling extremely adventurous, or extremely Parisian, you can rent a bike or even a car! “Velib” bike-hire stands and “Autolib” car-hire stands can be found nearby Roland Garros and around Paris in general. As I personally wanted to live to see the tennis tournament, I did not partake in this option.

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Fun Things to do at Roland Garros

Test your serve speed. While there are always a ton of interactive fan games and activities, this one is simple and consistent: the Longines Serve Speed Radar. Located by the Place des Mousquetaires, there is a small booth where 2 Euros gets you the chance to see how fast you can serve! The money goes to charity, and your ego goes out the door when you realize your 129 KPH serve (wow!) is actually an 80 MPH serve (lame!).

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Place des Mousquetaires

This is an iconic hang out spot at Roland Garros, situated between Court No. 1 and Court Philippe-Chatrier. It is a circular patio adorned with greenery, statues, and lawn chairs and is the heart of the venue. Especially valuable if you have a grounds pass, the Place des Mousquetaires is a great place to camp out and watch a main stadium match on a gigantic screen. Also, if you’re with a group that wants to split up for a bit, this is a perfect central meeting point at which to rejoin.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Hi. May I ask your help? We would like to attend RG 2020 with ground passes, i.e., tickets with access to the outside courts but not Chartrier/Lenglen/Mathieu. Do they have ground passes at RG? And if so, how much were they in 2019? Many thanks.

    • Hi Gerd: that’s a great question! I did a quick search online and saw grounds passes for 2020 selling at $150-$175. Granted, those are reseller prices, but that tells me grounds passes are pretty expensive. Like, probably $100 each if you get them on sale next year. Depending on what day you go, which will, of course, be early rounds, you may want to see about a Mathieu pass. If RG is anything like the US Open, grounds passes are almost never a value and you’re better off getting a ticket to a seat in one of the smaller stadiums. Thanks for a great question!

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