The sports complex « La Faisanderie » is located in the middle of the national domain of Saint-Cloud and it enjoys an unique heritage in the hexagon. When we enter in the 460 hectares of the park, we step in the surrounding wall of the ancient royal palace, which sheltered several centuries of French history : Valois to Bourbons, not forgetting the family of Orléans or even the dynasty of Bonaparte, they all took advantage of the size, the greatness and the beauty of the park of Saint-Cloud. This royal space had expanded over time and in the XVIIth century, its gardens were re-designed by André Le Nôtre to the great delight of the brother of Louis XIV. History even ended up mentioning this place on October 13, 1870, following the “Siège” of Paris; when the Prussians seized the palace, obliging the Provisional Government of National Defense to burn and destroy the castle using the cannons of the Fortress of the Mont-Valérien. It was written that the history of the Stade Français is linked to this park since none other than Louis Lesieur, father of Emile Lesieur (President of the Stadium from 1927 to 1944) who in 1891 was responsible for dismantling and to extract the ruins of the old palace. Seven years later, in 1898, the Stade obtained a first concession to the place «Prairie de la Faisanderie», thus opening one of the most beautiful chapters of its history.

Illustration of Saint-Cloud in the XVIIIth century.


Stade Français, view of the grounds.

From the Garden of Luxembourg to the Tuileries, passing by Levallois or Bécon-Les-Bruyères, the Stade Français has traveled a lot in its beginnings. However, at the end of the XIXth century, the number of membership became soon too large and it was necessary for the club to move and to invest for the long term. In 1898, Vice-President Beaurin-Gressier and General Secretary Maurice Mathieu were actively looking for an ample place enough place to satisfy all sports practices. After abandoning the idea of the stud farms at Porte Jaune in Saint-Cloud (now Saint-Jean Squer), it was finally two large clearings, near the building of the ancient Faisanderie of the Emperor, fact that strongly interested our illustrious members. While chances o being able to use these lands were minimal, Beaurin-Gressier, with faith and energy, made the request and succeded to obtain a concession of 12000m2 in 1898. The following year, President Amédée Descubes managed to extend the concession, growing the surface at 24000m2. However, the area was still too small and while the Stadium was in trouble, it received valuable help of the Deputy Director and the Ministry of the Agriculture at the time : Edmund Mamelle. At the request of his sons and the club members, the future president of Stade Français (from 1900 to 1903 and from 1905 to 1921) became interested in the project and obtained, in 1901, a concession of 6 hectares.
This way the Stade Français settled in Saint-Cloud.


Originally, the park of Saint-Cloud, was unsuited for the practice of sport. In 1902, it was needed to make important levelling work of in order to set up two fields of football and rugby, five tennis courts, a running track and a long palm ground (transformed then into two new tennis courts). These initial efforts, despite an unfavorable press campaign, have called for others. The energy, the will but also the financial participation of many Stadistes have made it possible to make important adjustments, essential to the development of the site. Thus the first «Pavilion Mary Antoinette» cloakroom was adapted to the needs of the sportsmen in 1904, supplied with water by means of a well made in 1910, and supplied with electricity by a generator installed in 1912. During the same year, the chalet including the restaurant was  inaugurated. The leaders did not simply want to create a sports site, they always imagined La Faisanderie as a place of life, of meetings and of exchanges. Beyond constructions intended for the common life, the sporting tool has also improved throughout the XXth century. The multiplication of the tennis courts or the good maintenance and modernization of the football and rugby fields allowed to host big events and to satisfy all members of the club. In 1977, after long steps La Faisanderie even had a swimming pool and a gymnasium, deepening then a little more its image of pluridisciplinary site.


Courts at La Faisanderie.

The history of the Stadiste tennis started at the Tuileries in 1890, year of the first championship of France in simple won by a blue and red player: Briggs. However, while the executives always searched new fields so that the players can do their training, it is in the Faisanderie where «Lawn Tennis» is going to continue its development. Indeed, in 1902, barely one year after its installation in Saint-Cloud, the Stade Français provides five tennis courts for the players. The development among courts was then regular what made easier the quick progress of many Stadistes. These constant improvements were rewarded thanks to the committee of tennis which, from 1910, allowed the Stade Français to participate in official event of the french championship and of the tournament interclubs called «Coupe Williams ». From 1912, Faisanderie was the theater of the World championships of tennis which will know a success growing year after year.
After the success of these events the Stade Français, jointly with the Racing Club of France, was allocated in 1925, the organisation of International of France. It is only through the lack of place where the event was transferred three years later within the Stadium Roland-Garros, still thanks to the involvement of the club. The Faisanderie went on throughout the XXth century, to improve its installations and to organise meetings and tournaments. Today « the Open des Jeunes « which since 1990 gathered the best worldwide players of 13-14 years, is a big event which gets organised and takes place in the same way as a major tournament. That way these future big players perpetuate the tradition of tennis in the Faisanderie.


Affiche Championnats du monde de tennis, 1912

Match mixte GERMOT-Mlle S. AMBLARD contre POULIN-Mme GOLDING.

Since 1912 the French Union of the Societies of Athletic Sports (USFSA) entrusted the Stade Français, responsibility to organise on its fields the World championships of tennis on clay courts. The initiative of this creation come from an American sportsman, Duane Williams, diceased in the course of the Titanic disaster in April 1912. This new competition was aimed at becoming an equivalent of the tournament of Wimbledon on grass courts since 1877.
It was an honour for the Stade Français became then a tradition because the club organised the World championships of tennis in 1912, 1913, 1914, 1920, 1921 and 1923. In the course of these events, the biggest champions of epoch imposed themselves on the courts of the Faisanderie : Lenglen, Tilden, Decugis, Froitzheim or else Wilding. In 1924 the international federation of Lawn Tennis decided to abolish these World Championships but it did not mean the stop of big events at the Faisanderie. Indeed, the ancient championships of France became International of France and the Stade Français as well as the Racing Club of France gained alternately the permission to organize them. It is at least known ’’Stadiste’’ René Lacoste, who won the event in 1925 and in 1927.
However, although the Stade Français continued untiringly improving its installations, Faisanderie remained too small to welcome all the audience. That’s how the leaders had to resolve to find a larger place which, after important researches, proved to be the Stadium Jean-Bouin, ‘’Porte d’Auteuil’’, renowned by the care of the president Emile Lesieur, Stadium Roland-Garros.

Suzanne LENGLEN, vainqueur en finale de Miss Mallory.

Laurentz-Gobert (de face) contre Albarran-Gerbaut


De 1925 à 1927, la Faisanderie, en alternance avec la Croix Catelan, a organisé les Internationaux de France sur terre battue de tennis. Cependant les installations demeuraient trop réduites pour un événement mondial où les spectateurs étaient, chaque année, plus nombreux. C’est alors qu’Emile Lesieur, président du Stade Français (de 1927 à 1943) eut l’idée de créer un stade spécifiquement dédié à l’organisation de ces Internationaux et des rencontres de Coupe Davis. Ainsi durant l’année 1927, alors que le CASG libère un stade nommé Jean Bouin, porte d’Auteuil, le Stade Français, pourtant en concurrence avec d’autres associations, obtient de la Ville de Paris, une concession de cinquante ans. Une entente Stade-Racing-Ville de Paris est mise en place par Albert Canet, président de la Fédération Française de Lawn Tennis. Il fallut alors beaucoup de courage et d’énergie afin d’aménager les courts, les tribunes ou encore les vestiaires. Les dépenses furent même garanties sur les fonds personnels de Pierre Gillou, président du Racing et d’Emile Lesieur. Finalement, la rapidité des travaux permit d’organiser, en mai 1928, les premiers Internationaux de France à Roland Garros. Ce nom, aujourd’hui connu de tous, a été donné grâce à l’insistance d’Emile Lesieur qui tenait à rendre hommage à son ami et camarade d’HEC, disparu dans un combat aérien le 5 octobre 1918. En effet, Roland Garros, pionnier de l’aviation française, était un amoureux du sport, pratiquant le cyclisme, l’athlétisme mais aussi le rugby sous les couleurs bleu et rouge. Sa mémoire est ainsi honorée chaque année grâce à l’association de son nom à l’un des plus grands tournois de tennis du monde.


Président de la F.F.T et de la F.I.T

Joueur de tennis, Champion de France en 1945, Philippe Chatrier participe à la Coupe Davis en 1948. Et en 1950, il raccroche ses raquettes pour devenir journaliste et pour fonder « Tennis de France ».

Toute sa vie a été consacrée à sa passion. Grâce à lui, en 1968, alors qu’il est vice-président de la FFT, Roland Garros fait sa révolution. Il ouvre le tournoi aux professionnels, jusque-là honnis par les amateurs. Cette année-là, alors que les pavés volent aux Quartier Latin, sur la terre battue, ce sont les missiles de Ken Rosewall et de Rod Laver qui enchantent 120.000 spectateurs. Les recettes suivent: 900.000 francs, trois fois plus que l’année précédente. Le tennis a fait sa mue.

Sur cette lancée, il devient un des piliers des instances tennistiques mondiales pendant 20 ans, en tant que Président des Fédérations Françaises et Internationales. Son action, pour le développement du tennis, est encore largement saluée aujourd’hui. Le 25 mai 2001, le court central du stade de Roland-Garros reconstruit est baptisé court Philippe-Chatrier.


Philippe Chatrier

  ” L’histoire du Stade Français chargé de souvenir glorieux dans tous les domaines sportifs est intimement mêlée à celle du tennis français. Chacun devrait savoir que le vainqueur des championnats de France de tennis, en 1891, se nommait Briggs et appartenait au Stade Français. C’est à la faisanderie, terrain du Stade Français, que se disputèrent en 1912, les premiers championnats du monde sur terre battue puis les championnats internationaux de France jusqu’à l’inauguration du Stade Roland-Garros.

C’est d’ailleurs un terrain appartenant au Stade Français que notre Stade prestigieux fut construit en 1928. Le nom qu’il reçut était celui d’un célèbre aviateur, membre du “Stade” tombé au Champ d’honneur en 1918.  Les plus célèbres parmi les champions – Jean Borota, René Lacoste et bien d’autres – portèrent les couleurs bleu et rouge.  Depuis, le Stade Français a continué de figurer parmi l’élite du tennis national. Ces dernières années, son équipe a toujours gardé sa place dans la phase finale de la 1ère division. La fédération française est heureuse de compter parmi ses membres un club qui s’attache à maintenir avec autant de dynamisme les grandes traditions de son histoire.

J’adresse au Stade Français tous mes voeux de succès et de prospérité. ”