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Longchamp in Paris is the most prestigious venue in French racing and all eyes fall upon the Paris course each October for the running of Europe's richest horse race.

It is hugely popular with tourists, with more than 40 per-cent of its visitors coming from outside France and has seen some of the greatest flat performers in history demonstrate their abilities since ‘the Arc' was first run in 1920.

WhatQatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe
WhereLongchamp, Paris, France
When15:05 Sunday 1st October 2023
How to Watchbet365 Live Sports Streaming, ITV4 and Racing TV

The jewel in French racing's crown

Longchamp is situated on a 57-hectare site in Bois de Boulogne, which is approximately six miles from the centre of Paris and has hosted host racing since 1857.

The course has undergone radical development in recent years, with significant changes taking place in 2015 and 2018, which means 50,000 racegoers can be accommodated at the track.

They are often treated to some top-class action as racing takes place on the flat between April and July and then from September to October.

Half of France's Group 1 are hosted by the capital track, including the French versions of the 1000 and 2000 Guineas, but it is the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe which is its most celebrated contest.

That takes place on the first Sunday of October and attracts entries from all over the world as the €4.5m prize eclipses any other in European racing. It is also the fifth richest turf race in the world.

Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe

The race is the richest all-age race in the world, where star three-year-olds pit their wits against older horses, so unlike contests such as The Derby and The Oaks, repeat winners are possible.

The race was designed as a showcase for the French Thoroughbred breeding industry and, therefore, geldings are banned from competing in the race, but entry is available to colts, fillies and mares who are aged three or over. The race takes place over one-mile-and-four-furlongs.

Eight horses have won consecutive Arcs with Treve (2013, 2014) and Enable (2017, 2018) the latest two to achieve the feat.

No jockey has won more than Frankie Dettori's eight and he will be retiring at the end of the 2023 season.

Course characteristics

What makes Longchamp stand out as a venue is that there are five different courses.

The Grand Piste is the one which hosts the Arc and requires a climb before a long sweeping bend and then a false home straight before the charge for final home.

The Moyenne and Petite Pistes are shorter but follow a similar pattern going right handed, so there is a detectable draw bias with those in the seven stalls nearest the inside rail tending to be favoured. They are undulating so can be a big test for inexperienced riders unfamiliar with the layout.

The Ligne Droit (Straight Line) course lives up to its name as a straight where sprint races are run. The finish line for these is in the middle of the course and far from the stands, and the Nouveau Piste makes up the quintet.

The Longchamp day out

It is easy to get to Longchamp from the centre of Paris as it is served by the Metro with the nearest stations to be found at Porte d'Auteuil and Porte Maillot.

A shuttle-bus service is operated from both stations on Arc day and car parking is also available at the course.

Admission is as low as 20 euros for the Arc Garden, rising to 65 euros for the Winning Post Enclosure. 

The 90 euros Winning Post Gold Enclosure tickets tend to sell out quickly, but with racing also available on Saturday, racegoers often take advantage of the double-day tickets available from France Galop.

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