Jeu de paume

Jeu de paume
Jeu de paume in the 17th century.

Jeu de paume (English: "palm game") is a ball-and-court game that originated in France. It was an indoor precursor of tennis played without racquets, though these were eventually introduced. It is a former Olympic sport, and has the oldest ongoing annual world championship in sport, first established over 250 years ago. Originally spelled jeu de paulme, it is sometimes called courte paume or "real tennis".



Late 18th-century illustration of jeu de paume paddle-bats or battoirs, and (in various stages of construction) strung racquets.

In the earliest versions of the game, the players hit the ball with their hands, as in palla, volleyball, or certain varieties of pelota. Jeu de paume, or jeu de paulme as it was formerly spelled,[1] literally means "palm game". In time, gloves replaced bare hands. Even when paddle-like bats, and finally racquets, became standard equipment for the game by the late 1600s, the name did not change. It became known as "tennis" in English (see History of tennis), and later "real tennis" after the derived game of lawn tennis became the more widely known sport.

The term is used in France today to denote the game of tennis on a court in which the ancient or modern game might be played. The indoor version is sometimes called jeu de courte paume or just courte paume ("short palm") to distinguish it from the outdoor version, longue paume ("long palm"), played on a field of variable length.

Jeu de paume at the 1908 Summer Olympics was a medal event; American Jay Gould II won the Gold medal.[2]

Since 1740, jeu de paume has been the subject of an amateur world championship, held each year in September. It is the oldest active trophy in international sport.

Derived sports


Various other forms of handball may be related to one degree or another; this is generally difficult to ascertain with certainty, and some, like the Mesoamerican ballgame are clearly unrelated.


  • Court tennis
  • Lawn tennis (what is usually meant by the term "tennis" today)

Various other racquet games (squash, badminton, etc. may be related to one degree or another.

Cultural references

A modernised court in the Palace of Fontainebleau, Paris (1991).

The Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume, a museum of contemporary art, is housed in a former court on the north side of the Tuileries park in the centre of Paris.

The painter Jacques-Louis David's famous sketch, le Serment du jeu de paume ('the Tennis Court Oath') now hangs in the court of the Palace of Versailles. It depicts a seminal moment of the French Revolution, when, on 20 June 1789, deputies of the Estates-General met at the court and vowed that they would not disband before the proclamation of a formal Constitution for France.

Le Jeu de Paume is a moral ode published in 1791 by André Chénier

Socialite Charles Smithson (Jeremy Irons) is seen playing jeu de paume when he returns to London in the acclaimed 1981 film The French Lieutenant's Woman.


  1. ^ Diderot, Denis; d'Alembert, Jean le Rond (ca. 1785). Encyclopedie ou Dictionnaire Raisonné des Sciences des Arts et des Métiers. Paris: self-published monograph. Plate 1: "Paulmerie, Jeu de Paulme et Construction de la Raquette". 
  2. ^ "Jeu De Paume Men's Singles Medalists". Retrieved 19 December 2010. 

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Jeu De Paume — Le jeu de paume est associé au Serment du Jeu de paume, un des événements majeurs du début de la Révolution française, et à la Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume, musée parisien. Court de jeu de paume moderne en Angleterre (Bridport) …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Jeu de paume — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Para otros usos de este término, véase Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume. Jeu de paume en el siglo XVII. El jeu de paume es un deporte de raqueta practicado desde hace cerca de mil años. Se le relaciona con la pelot …   Wikipedia Español

  • Jeu de Paume — im 17. Jahrhundert Jeu de Paume (französisch für „Spiel mit der Handinnenfläche“) war ein Vorläufer des Tennis, dessen Spiel bereits im Mittelalter in Kreuzgängen belegt ist. Es wird wie beim Squash mit Wänden gespielt …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Jeu de Paume —   [ʒødə poːm; französisch »Handflächenspiel«] das, , altfranzösisches Rückschlagspiel, Vorform des modernen Tennisspiels; wurde besonders im 16. und 17. Jahrhundert entweder im Freien als »Jeu de longue Paume« (mit langstieligen Schlägern) oder v …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Jeu de Paume — [ʒød po:m] das; <aus gleichbed. fr. jeu de paume, eigtl. »Schlagballspiel«, zu paume »(innere) Handfläche, hohle Hand«> altfranz., mit den Handflächen, erst später mit Schlägern gespieltes Rückschlagspiel, aus dem sich das Tennis… …   Das große Fremdwörterbuch

  • Jeu de paume — (serment du) à l aube de la Révolution française, serment solennel, prêté le 20 juin 1789 à Versailles (dans une salle réservée au jeu de paume) par les députés du tiers état, qui s engageaient à ne pas se séparer avant d avoir donné une… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • jeu de paume — /pōm/ noun Real tennis • • • Main Entry: ↑jeu …   Useful english dictionary

  • jeu de paume — (izg. žè d pȍm) m DEFINICIJA sport pov. stara francuska igra odbijanja, preteča tenisa ETIMOLOGIJA fr …   Hrvatski jezični portal

  • Jeu de paume —  Pour l’article homonyme, voir Jeu de Paume (musée).  Illustration d un double au jeu de paume (1772) …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Jeu de Paume — ▪ museum, Paris, France French“Palm Game”also known as  Galerie Nationale de l Image  or  Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume        museum in Paris built as a tennis court and later converted into an Impressionist art museum and subsequently into… …   Universalium

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