Plan Ahead: Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe

Click to follow
The Independent Online
FRANCE'S most prestigious horse race, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, is traditionally held on the first Sunday in October, and the two-day meeting at Longchamp in Paris, is the most important in the French calendar.

The Arc de Triomphe offers sheer quality in a field that often includes winners of the Derby, the Irish and French Derbies and the French Oaks and its English equivalent. In last year's race, User Friendly, the English-trained filly who won the Oaks and the St Leger, was narrowly beaten by the home-trained Subotica.

Longchamp is in the Bois de Boulogne, north-west Paris, between Port Maillot and Port Dauphine on the Peripherique, the Paris ring-road. Take the Vincennes-La Defense line on the Metro or Reseau Express Regionale (RER) to Port Maillot, from where the course is a short bus or taxi ride. The Societe d'Encouragement, the French Jockey Club, can assist with information. Course admission is FFr50 ( pounds 5.75).

Horse Racing Abroad, of Sandwich, Kent, is a travel company specialising in trips to race meetings and for Longchamp has several tours, all including transfer to and from the track and admission. The coach trip, with two nights' hotel, starts pounds 189 and the day trip at pounds 159, flying from Gatwick. The one-night budget weekend, flying from Heathrow, costs pounds 219. Two nights start at pounds 319, three at pounds 369.

Horse Racing Abroad also leases its own private grandstand at Longchamp, with entry and reserved seat at pounds 49, though you have to travel with the company to use this facility.

CIGA Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, Longchamp, Paris, 3 October.

Societe d'Encouragement, 46 Place Abel Gance, 92655 Boulogne Cedex, France (Tel: 010 33 1 49102030).

Horse Racing Abroad, 15 Market Street, Sandwich, Kent CT13 9DA (Tel: 0304- 612424).

French Government Tourist Office, 178 Piccadilly, London W1V 0AL (Tel: 071- 499 6911 - recorded information only).