Polo de Paris, one of the most exclusive and unique places in the world to play polo, has released its 2018 tournament fixture after confirming the dates and handicaps of their competitions. Located in the Bois de Boulogne, the Parisian club holds a special place in the hearts of all those lucky enough to play there
The Tournoi Members Games, exclusive formembers of the club, opened fire the 2018 season. The tournament, for teams between 4-6 goals, lasted two days. The local Sainte Mesme claimed the opening victory (Robert Strom, Willy Saget-Johnson, Jean-Claude Legrand and Birger Strom).
Afterwards, it was the turn of the Tournoi de Printemps, that kicked off the Parisian Triple Crown for teams up-to 10-goals. This time, it was La Concepcion who stayed with the trophy (Hanspeter Spek, Simon Zavaleta, Martin Joaquin and Diego Braun).
In the center of the Bois de Boulogne lies the Parc and Chateau de Bagatelle, constructed in 1775 as the result of a bet between María Antonieta and the Count of Artois. The historic park was bought by the city of Paris in 1905, but polo made its mark years before, with the opening of what would become one of the most glamorous polo destinations in the world: Polo de Paris.
The club gradually began to take shape when the field and a Norman style clubhouse were established. Polo de Paris finally opened on August 1, 1892, with founder Viscount de la Rouchefoucald-Doudeaville as its first President. The first official season began on April 15, 1893, with the Paris Open. The tournament was well received by the public, not only because of the popularity of polo among the French elite, but also because of all the hype it generated.
“Polo de Paris has been an enormous part of my polo career,” says Topo Braun. “I started playing in Paris and I think I will retire playing here, too. I have been coming for many years and I feel at home here; this year will be my twenty-fifth year playing in Paris. The season is unique. I know a lot of people here and I have many friends. Paris is certainly one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and having the opportunity to play here is a real luxury.
Facundo Fernández Llorente, one of the prominent players of the 2018 season, where he played with La Pommerey, shares: “This will be my seventh year in Paris, and my fifth in Bagatelle. The field is different from the others, it’s smaller and a lot of fun, and it’s situated in the center of Paris, one of the few polo fields in the world located in the middle of the city. The location makes it easy for people to go and watch polo, and it’s a great thing to do when you are in the city. I am going to play three tournaments with La Pommerey, with Derek Smith, his son and Caroline Anier. We aim to get as far as we can. There are many good teams signed up, but I think we are competitive, too. We are going to have fun and fight for the title.”
In terms of infrastructure, the club has nine hectares of spectacular gardens and facilities for players and horses, with excellent fields and stables. The same is on offer for other equestrian sports, with tracks, stables, and dressing rooms. There is also golf, and spaces for karate and fencing.
The highlight moment of the 2018 season will be, of course, the prestigious 124th Open de Paris Engel & Volkers, a contest full of history, which has been played for more than 120 years and will run from June 9 to 24. In its 124 edition, the Open presents a brand new main sponsor: Engel & Volkers, leader in Real Estate and one of the world’s leading companies in the real estate market of high standard residential and commercial properties. Engel & Volkers has its head quarters in Paris, a few meters away from the Avenue des Champs Elysées, the most recognized avenue in the world. The company also has around 700 offices in more than 30 countries and 4 continents.
The Polo de Paris expects between 6 and 8 very competitive teams for its 124th Open de Paris Engel & Volkers, in a unique place, which will be open to be enjoyed over 3 weeks.
The ladies will also have their moment when they meet in Paris on June 27 and 28to participate in the 20th edition of the Open des Dames: Charm and femininity guaranteed!
To conclude, Topo Braun, surely the foreigner who has most played in France, states: “Bagatelle is very special, as well, as it is a club with a lot of history. Argentina won a gold medal in the 1924 Olympics there. The location of the field is unbeatable, and the club hosts one of the most important tournaments of the European calendar: the Open de París. The competition encapsulated the tradition of French polo”.