#RG18, the countdown has begun: the unmistakeable signs...

 - Elodie Iriart

When the Roland-Garros spirit starts to seep into Parisian life.

Printemps à Roland-Garros / Spring at Roland-Garros Paris©Christophe Guibbaud/FFT.

Night has fallen over the legendary Porte d’Auteuil stadium. The emblematic venue, which is preparing to host its annual fortnight of high-octane emotion, is enveloped in silence. Thunderous cheers, Mexican waves, double faults, tactical slides, broken racquets, bitter defeats, well-earned victories and excited chants will soon take over the stadium grounds. But less than a month before the Parisian Grand Slam begins, the Roland-Garros spirit is already seeping into Parisian daily life and resonating in the collective unconscious. The unmistakable signs are here…

The woods are exhibiting their summer colours

Just outside the stadium, the huge horse chestnut tree in the Bois de Boulogne gives the first indication of the tournament’s imminent return by donning its summer coat. Spring is here, and a warm atmosphere has enveloped the venue. Nature is waking up, and soon the tranquillity that is so dear to this small Parisian neighbourhood will give way to deafening cheers, as the effervescent crowd’s euphoria spills over into the surrounding streets.

Sun and Perrier on the terrace

It is one of those first sunny days that hail the long-awaited arrival of summer in Paris. You are sitting on a terrace, sipping your first iced tea of the season. Just next to you, a familiar sound attracts your attention: the pop of a Perrier bottle, followed by, “Oh, Roland-Garros is starting soon!” And, just like that, this opportune reminder brings a smile to your face!

Roland-Garros Paris Montmartre printemps / spring©Christophe Guibbaud/FFT.
Roland-Garros poster 

On a street corner, at the bus stop or in the metro, the Roland-Garros 2018 poster – created by French artist Fabienne Verdier – is everywhere you look! The instantly-recognisable palette of colours immerses you in the familiar atmosphere of the legendary French Grand Slam. White, ochre red and “RG 18” are proudly displayed wherever you turn, evoking the sound of tennis balls bouncing on the famous red clay.

The return of pleated skirts and polo shirts

Some wardrobe staples are worn year after year without ever becoming dated. This is certainly the case for pleated skirts, polo shirts, tote bags and other timeless springtime must-haves. The sunshine and midsummer temperatures of the last few days have encouraged city-dwellers to adopt a more casual wardrobe. The “athleisure” trend has invaded the streets of Paris, bringing an early breath of Roland Garros-flavoured air into the city. 

Resistance is futile, so I’ve decided to take a day’s holiday, tagged with the excuse, “J’peux pas, je suis à Roland!” (I can’t, I’m at Roland-Garros"). Save the date: Roland-Garros 2018: from 21st May to 10th June 2018.

©Emilie Hautier/FFT.