The World's Oldest Basketball Court is in Paris!

The world's oldest basketball court.
The poles in the center of the court must have added an interesting dimension to the game!

If you would have asked me the whereabouts of the world's oldest basketball court, I would have never guessed that it's in Paris. Not only does the YMCA court on rue de Trevis hold the distinction of being the world's oldest, it's also where the first basketball game in Europe was played.

The court is an exact replica of the one in Springfield, Massachusetts where the game was played for the very first time. On January 20, 1892, Canadian doctor James Naismith introduced basketball, a game intended to keep the students of the International YMCA Training School active during the winter months. Two peach baskets nailed to the lower rail of the gymnasium balcony were used as hoops. The 13 rules were simple. Ball bouncing was prohibited, perhaps because the original basketball was a soccer ball. Whenever a point was scored, the school's janitor had to climb a ladder to retrieve the ball from the peach basket. Fortunately for the custodian, the score of the first basketball game ever played was a surprisingly low 1-0.

In this gymnasium in 1893, "basket ball" was played for the first time in Europe.
This game was created at the School for Christian Workers in Springfield (U.S.A.).

After a fire destroyed the basketball court in Springfield, the YMCA Paris Union court became the oldest in the world. The property, which is classified as an historic monument, was designed by architect Bénard, a student of Gustave Eiffel. It was financed by donors from around the world, most notably American James Stokes who wished to show his appreciation of General Lafayette's contribution to his country's independence. The YMCA Paris Union is now a student residence. For 160 years, it has housed thousands of young people from different countries and backgrounds.

The basketball court was exceptionally open to the public during European Heritage Days.

YMCA Paris Union
14 rue de Trévise
75009 Paris

The world's oldest basketball court is located in Paris, France.


  1. Replies
    1. Hopefully you'll be able to use this bit of information in the future -- perhaps during a game of Trivial Pursuit!

  2. hi MK,
    i was looking for the Canadian reference; as usual you did not disappoint (-:

    1. Conrad, If one digs deep enough, I believe that almost everything has a Canadian reference! ;)

  3. Very good Mary Kay! That is what European Heritage Days should be - discovering places that are otherwise closed.

    1. "Discovering places that are otherwise closed" -- that's exactly what I love about European Heritage Days! I see that you've shifted over to "Blois Daily Photo". Paris won't be quite the same without you, Rosemary.

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