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SAINT CLOUD
FOR THE HISTORY

The Faisanderie sports complex, located in the heart of the Saint-Cloud national domain, enjoys a unique heritage in France. As we enter the 460 hectares of the park, we walk on the grounds of the former royal palace, which has housed several centuries of French history. From the Valois to the Bourbons without forgetting the Orléans family or the Bonaparte dynasty, they all took advantage of the grandeur and beauty of the Saint-Cloud park. This royal space, which has constantly expanded over time, notably saw, in the 17th century, its gardens redesigned by André Le Nôtre for the greatest pleasure of Monsieur, brother of Louis XIV. History even ended up catching up with this place since on October 13, 1870, following the siege of Paris, the Prussians seized the palace, forcing the Provisional Government of National Defense to burn and destroy the castle using the cannons of the fortress of Mont-Valérien.
It was written that the history of the Stade Français would be linked to this park since it was none other than Louis Lesieur, father of Emile Lesieur (President of the Stade from 1927 to 1944) who had, in 1891, the responsibility of dismantling and to extract the ruins of the old palace. Seven years later, in 1898, the Stadium obtained a first concession at a place called “Prairie de la Faisanderie”, thus opening one of the most beautiful chapters in its history.

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Illustration representing the Domaine de Saint-Cloud in the 18th century.

THE FRENCH STADIUM AT LA FAISANDERIE

From the Jardin du Luxembourg to the Tuileries, via Levallois or Bécon-Les-Bruyères, Stade Français traveled a lot in its early days. However, by the end of the 19th century, membership numbers were soon becoming too large and it was necessary for the club to move in and invest long term. Thus, in 1898, the vice-president Beaurin-Gressier, and the general secretary Maurice Mathieu, began actively looking for a place spacious enough to accommodate all sporting activities. After abandoning the idea of the Porte-Jaune stud farm in Saint-Cloud (now Carré Saint-Jean), it was ultimately two large clearings, near the building of the former Emperor's pheasantry, which attracted great interest our illustrious members. Stade Français, a view of the pitches. While the chances of being able to use this land were minimal, Beaurin-Gressier, with faith and energy, made the request and managed to obtain a concession of 12,000m² in 1898. The following year, President Amédée Descubes managed to enlarge the concession, bringing the surface area to 24,000m². However, the surface area remained too small and while the Stadium found itself in an impasse, it received grateful help from the deputy director at the Ministry of Agriculture at the time: Edmond Mamelle. At the request of his sons, stadium players, the future president of Stade Français (from 1900 to 1903 and from 1905 to 1921) took an interest in the matter and obtained, in 1901, a concession of 6 hectares.


This is how Stade Français was established in Saint-Cloud.

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Stade Français, a view of the pitches.

CONSTRUCTIONS AND DEVELOPMENTS
FROM PHEASANTRY

Originally, the Saint-Cloud park was unsuitable for the practice of sport. Significant leveling work had to be carried out in order to establish, in 1902, two football-rugby pitches, five tennis courts, a running track and a long palm pitch (later transformed into two new tennis courts). tennis). These first efforts, despite an unfavorable press campaign, led to others. The energy, the will but also the financial participation of many Stadistes made it possible to carry out major developments, essential to the development of the site. Thus the first locker room “Pavillon Marie Antoinette” was adapted to the needs of athletes in 1904, supplied with water using a well made in 1910, and supplied with electricity thanks to a generator installed in 1912. During that same year , the chalet including the restaurant was inaugurated. The managers did not simply want to create a sports site, they always imagined La Faisanderie as a place of life, meetings and exchanges. Beyond buildings intended for common life, sports facilities have also improved throughout the 20th century. The multiplication
tennis courts or the good maintenance and modernization of the football and rugby fields have made it possible to host major events and satisfy all club members. In 1977, after long efforts, the Faisanderie even acquired a swimming pool and a gymnasium, further deepening its image as a multidisciplinary site.

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TENNIS AT LA FAISANDERIE

The history of Stadiste tennis began at the Tuileries in 1890, the year of the first French singles championship won by a blue and red player: Briggs. However, while managers were constantly looking for new courts for players to train, it was at La Faisanderie that “Lawn Tennis” would continue its development. Indeed, in 1902, barely a year after his arrival in Saint-Cloud, the Stade Français made five tennis courts available to players. The growth in the number of courts was then regular, which facilitated the rapid progress of many Stadistes.
These constant improvements were rewarded thanks to the tennis commission which, from 1910, allowed the Stade Français to participate in the official events of the French championship and the interclub challenge known as the “Williams Cup”.
From 1912, the Faisanderie was even the scene of the world tennis championships which enjoyed increasing success year after year. After the success of these events, the Stadium, jointly with the Racing Club de France, was awarded, in 1925, the organization of the French Open. It was only due to lack of space that this event was transferred, three years later, to the Stade Roland-Garros, again thanks to the involvement of the club. La Faisanderie continued throughout the 20th century to improve its facilities and organize meetings and tournaments. Even today, the “Youth Open” which since 1990 has brought together the world's best players aged 13-14, is a major event which is organized and takes place in the same way as a major tournament. These future great players perpetuate
thus the tradition of tennis at La Faisanderie.

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The Faisanderie courts.

THE WORLD TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS AND FRENCH INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS AT LA FAISANDERIE

It was from 1912 that the Stade Français was entrusted, by the Union of French Athletic Sports Societies (USFSA), with the responsibility of organizing, on its grounds, the world tennis championships on clay. . The initiative for this creation goes to an American sportsman, Duane Williams, who disappeared during the Titanic disaster in April 1912. This new competition aimed to become an equivalent to the Wimbledon tournament, played on grass since 1877.
What was an honor for the Stadium then became a tradition since the club organized the world tennis championships in 1912, 1913, 1914, 1920, 1921 and 1923. During these events, the greatest champions of the time imposed on the Faisanderie courts: Lenglen, Tilden, Decugis, Froitzheim and even Wilding. In 1924, the International Lawn Tennis Federation decided to cancel these world championships but this did not mean the end of major tennis events at La Faisanderie. Indeed, the old French championships became French Internationaux and the Stade Français as well as the Racing Club de France were alternately able to organize them. It was a lesser-known Stadiste, René Lacoste, who won the event in 1925 and 1927.
However, although the Stade Français continued to constantly improve its facilities, the Faisanderie remained too small to accommodate all the spectators. This is how the leaders had to resolve to find a larger location which, after significant research, turned out to be the Stade Jean-Bouin, Porte d'Auteuil, renamed, by President Emile Lesieur, Stade Roland Garros.

Simonne Mathieu, former Stade Française tennis player, winner of the French Open in 1938 and 1939, and who created and led the French Volunteer Corps during the Second World War.

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World Tennis Championships poster, 1912.
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Simonne Mathieu at Wimbledon in 1937.
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Laurentz-Gobert (front) against Albarran-Gerbaut.
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Suzanne LENGLEN, winner in the Miss Mallory final.

ROLAND GARROS

From 1925 to 1927, the Faisanderie, alternating with the Croix Catelan, organized the French Open on clay tennis courts. However, the facilities remained too small for a global event where spectators were more numerous each year. It was then that Emile Lesieur, president of Stade Français (from 1927 to 1943) had the idea of creating a stadium specifically dedicated to the organization of these Internationals and Davis Cup matches. Thus during the year 1927, while the CASG vacated a stadium named Jean Bouin, Porte d'Auteuil, the Stade Français, despite being in competition with other associations, obtained a fifty-year concession from the City of Paris. A Stadium-Racing-City of Paris agreement is set up by Albert Canet, president of the French Lawn Tennis Federation. It took a lot of courage and energy to arrange the courts, the stands and even the locker rooms. The expenses were even guaranteed from the personal funds of Pierre Gillou, president of Racing, and Emile Lesieur. Finally, the speed of the work made it possible to organize, in May 1928, the first French Open at Roland Garros. This name, now known to everyone, was given thanks to the insistence of Emile Lesieur who wanted to pay tribute to his friend and comrade from HEC, who disappeared in an aerial combat on October 5, 1918. Indeed, Roland Garros, a pioneer of French aviation, was a lover of sport, practicing cycling, athletics but also rugby under the colors blue and red. His memory is thus honored each year thanks to the association of his name with one of the greatest tennis tournaments in the world.

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WORDS FROM PHILIPPE CHATRIER

PRESIDENT OF THE FFT AND FIT

Tennis player, French Champion in 1945, Philippe Chatrier participated in the Davis Cup in 1948. And in 1950, he hung up his rackets to become a journalist and to found “Tennis de France”.

His whole life was dedicated to his passion. Thanks to him, in 1968, when he was vice-president of the FFT, Roland Garros made its revolution. He opens the tournament to professionals, until then hated by amateurs. That year, while the cobbles were flying in the Latin Quarter, on the clay, it was the missiles of Ken Rosewall and Rod Laver that delighted 120,000 spectators. The revenue follows: 900,000 francs, three times more than the previous year. Tennis has changed.

On this momentum, he became one of the pillars of world tennis authorities for 20 years, as President of the French and International Federations. His action for the development of tennis is still widely praised today. On May 25, 2001, the central court of the rebuilt Roland-Garros stadium was named Court Philippe-Chatrier.

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“The history of Stade Français, full of glorious memories in all sporting fields, is intimately intertwined with that of French tennis. Everyone should know that the winner of the French tennis championships in 1891 was named Briggs and belonged to Stade Français. It was at the Pheasanterie, the grounds of the Stade Français, that the first world championships on clay were played in 1912, then the French international championships until the inauguration of the Stade Roland-Garros. It was on land belonging to the Stade Français that our prestigious stadium was built in 1928. The name it received was that of a famous aviator, a member of the “Stade” who fell on the Field of Honor in 1918. The most famous among the champions – Jean Borota, René Lacoste and many others – wore the colors blue and red. Since then, Stade Français has continued to be among the elite of national tennis. In recent years, his team has always kept its place in the final phase of the 1st division. The French federation is pleased to count among its members a club which strives to maintain with such dynamism the great traditions of its history.

I wish Stade Français all my best wishes for success and prosperity. ”

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