Paris Longchamp racecourse is one of the most loved racing venues in the world, famous mainly for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, which takes place each October. A flat racing haven, Longchamp is located in the Bois de Boulogne area of South West Paris, just a few minutes from the Eiffel Tower set between the Seine and the Bois de Boulogne. The 50,000 capacity course hosts around 30+ meetings a year in a season that spans from April through October.
It is among the most storied and celebrated courses in the world of flat racing and has been the site of many classic races over the years. But, sadly, this historical track has also witnessed plenty of dramatic conflict over the years, feeling the force of both world wars in particular. As a consequence, Longchamp has been upgraded and renovated numerous times, most recently when, following two years of improvement work, the racecourse reopened its doors in April 2018.
Longchamp Race Course History
In 1833, the Duke of Morny initiated the search for a new race track after the Champ de Mars, were racing was being held at the time, was deemed unsuitable for the autumn race meetings it was hosting at the time. In 1856, after a long search, the Bois de Boulogne was chosen as the location for a new Parisian racecourse to be constructed on La Plaine de Longchamp. The first-ever race took place one year later on Sunday, April 27, 1857 in front of a sizeable crowd that included Emperor Napoleon III and his wife Empress Eugénie as well as Prince Jérôme Bonaparte and his son Prince Napoleon. Also joining the duke, was French noble Prince Murat and the Prince of Nassau.
During the war, the course had doubled as a stockyard and before being used as a US field hospital, and finally an airfield. Prior to this, the site has been bombed during the Siege of the Paris in 1870 and again in 1943 when Europe was again at war during WW2, this time during a race meeting as the Germans occupied the track.
Between the two World Wars, Longchamp regained some of its former appeal and prestige, regularly receiving more than 100,000 spectators. In 2015, with the stands suffering from the ravages of time, France Galop opted to redesign the infrastructure with Dominique Perrault, chosen to be the architect. Demolition began the day after the 2015 Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and reopened last year.
Appropriately, the first ever winner at Longchamp was Eclaireur, which translates as Pathfinder in English. By 1963, the Grand Prix de Paris had been created and, right up until the breakout of the First World War, it was the most lucrative horse race in the world and today still offers the richest turf prize outside Japan.
Longchamp Race Course track configuration
A large right-handed track of 2,750 metres
A middle track of 2,500 metres
A small track of 2,150 metres
A straight line track of 1,000 metres
Longchamp race track bias
Longchamp is not just one racecourse, but four different courses that are linked together with 46 different starting points to create one big track, one medium, one small and a 1000-metre straight track. The Racetrack itself is 2,750 metres in total and its unique shape includes a famous rise, wild descending turns and a long, sweeping downhill turn to a very wide home straight with a run-in of around three furlongs. This course is capable of hosting races between 1000 and 4000 metres. The 1,000 metre races aren’t run in front of the stands but instead run in the middle of the course.
The majority of winners here have traditionally been drawn in single-figured stalls, although the results suggest that there is no strong draw bias, at least on the straight course. Low numbers may have a marginal advantage around the 8f -10f trips with large fields.
Longchamp race track best trainers
As one of the premier flat courses in international horse racing, Longchamp one of the most celebrated courses in flat racing, thanks mainly to hosting one of Europe’s most prestigious horse races, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. All of the top horse trainers in France and beyond, aspire to prepare a horse for victory at the world famous ParisLongchamp and, over the last year, some have fared particularly well.
Some trainers have a higher success rate than most and these are the ones to keep an eye out for at the Longchamp Race Course.
- Charlie Appleby (47% win rate)
- A. de Royer Dupre (33% win rate)
- F. Head (27% win rate)
- A. Fabre (18% win rate)
- C. Laffon-Parias (18% win rate)
Longchamp race track best Jockeys
The nature of this racecourse makes it extremely challenging to navigate for the jockeys, offering an advantage to those familiar with the course. Over the past 12 months, these are the top performing jockeys at Longchamp.
- Olivier Peslier (36% win rate)
- Pierre-Charles Boudot (35% win rate)
- William Buick (33% win rate)
- Mickael Barzalona (24% win rate)
- Christophe Soumillon (12% win rate)
Longchamp racing season
Thoroughbred Flat racing is held at Longchamp from March to late October, possibly early November. Highlights of the season here include the 1000 and 2000 Guineas (Poules d’Essai des Poulains and des Pouliches) but the main event is undoubtedly the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe, which is held each year in October.
Hosted at Paris Longchamp since 1920, the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe is open to horses three years and older and contested over a distance of 1 ½ miles. This race now offers the richest prize on turf, outside Japan. The race forms the centrepiece of a meeting which comprises no less than seven Grade I and four Grade II races.
Longchamp race track stakes and Graded Stakes
- Poules d’Essai des Poulains and des Pouliches
- Arc Trials
- Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe
Longchamp Race Course address and website
2 Route des Tribunes, 75016 Paris, France