A list of football clubs in France, the year they were established, and all their achievements

A list of football clubs in France, the year they were established, and all their achievements

Helix Odhiambo

Football is the number one sport in France, followed by millions of people. The country has thousands of teams, some founded as early as the 19th century. French clubs have also performed well in European competitions. This article lists the biggest football clubs in France and their achievements.

Famous football clubs in France
Paris Saint Germain and Montpellier players line up before their Uber Eats soccer match at Parc des Princes on 13 August 2022 in Paris. Photo: Baptiste Fernandez
Source: Getty Images

France has several professional leagues, including the top tier, Ligue 1 Uber Eats, which hosts the best football clubs in France. It ranks among the top five European domestic competitions, alongside the English Premier League in England, Germany's Bundesliga, Spain's La Liga, and the Serie A in Italy.

List of football clubs in France

Paris Saint‑Germain, Lyon, and Marseille are famous football clubs in France. Many legendary footballers have played for the teams. However, the country has several other sides that have wildly succeeded in their history.

How many football clubs are in France?

League 1 French football clubs
Fans are showing an illustration during the Ligue 1 Uber Eats match between Marseille and Strasbourg at Orange Velodrome on 12 March 2023 in Marseille. Photo: Anthony Bibard
Source: Getty Images

According to statistics, the country has more than 15,000 clubs. The best teams play in the top tier and are considered wealthy and successful. Top Ligue 1 Uber Eats clubs have attracted wealthy investors and tapped into talented footballers from different countries. Looking at the football clubs in France map, the teams have spread throughout.

List of football clubs in France by major honours won

Our France football clubs ranking features the best among all football clubs in France. The list has teams which play in the Ligue 1 Uber Eats and have won numerous titles.

20. Brest

Biggest football clubs in France
Brest players celebrate a goal against FC Lorient at Stade Francis-Le Ble in Brest on 9 October 2022. Photo: Loic Venance
Source: Getty Images

Brest got formed through a merger of five local teams. It began in the amateur ranks and rose to the third tier by 1958 and the second by 1970. The club later reached the top division in 1979. However, Brest has never won any championship in its history.

  • Founded: 1950
  • Nickname: Les Pirates
  • City: Brest
  • Stadium: Stade Francis-Le Blé
  • Capacity: 15,097

19. Troyes

Best football clubs in France
Troyes players line up before their French L1 match against Girondins de Bordeaux at the Matmut stadium in Bordeaux on 6 March 2022. Photo: Romain Perrocheau
Source: Getty Images

The club played in the third and second divisions before climbing to the top-tier league in the 2012/2013 season. However, it struggles in the relegation zone in the 2022/2023 League 1 season. Troyes' most outstanding achievement was winning the Intertoto Cup title in 2001.

  • Founded: 1986
  • Nickname: ESTAC
  • City: Troyes
  • Stadium: Stade de l'Aube
  • Capacity: 20,400

18. Montpellier

Oldest football clubs in France
Montpellier players applaud their fans after a Ligue 1 Uber Eats match against Paris Saint-Germain at Stade de la Mosson on 1 February 2023 in Montpellier. Photo: Alexandre Dimou
Source: Getty Images

Montpellier shocked the world in the 2011/2012 season when they lifted the League 1 trophy. It also has two Coupe de France titles and reached several other finals.

  • Founded: 1974
  • Nickname: La Paillade
  • City: Montpellier
  • Stadium: Stade de la Mosson
  • Capacity: 32, 939

17. Clermont Foot 63

Famous football clubs in France
Clermont Foot 63 players celebrate their first goal against Toulouse FC at the TFC Stadium in Toulouse on 5 March 2023. Photo: Charly Triballeau
Source: Getty Images

After spending time in the lower divisions, the team got promoted to the top flight in the 2021/22 season. Clermont Foot 63 has never won any major titles. The club is known as the first professional side to appoint a female coach to the men's team in the country.

  • Founded: 1984
  • Nickname: Les Lanciers (The Lancers)
  • City: Clermont-Ferrand
  • Stadium: Stade Gabriel-Montpied
  • Capacity: 13,000

16. Lorient

How many football clubs are in France?
Lorient players line up before their League 1 match against Montpellier at Stade du Moustoir on 29 October 2016 in Lorient. Phot0: Eddy Lemaistre
Source: Getty Images

Lorient is among the League 1 French football clubs that have never won the top division title. Its most memorable trophy is the Coupe de France it won in 2002.

  • Founded: 1926
  • Nickname: Les Merlus (The Merlucciidaes)
  • City: Lorient
  • Stadium: Stade du Moustoir
  • Capacity: 18,110

15. Stade Rennais (Rennes)

Football clubs in France map
Rennes fans during their French L1 match against Nantes at Stade de la Beaujoire on 26 February 2023 in Nantes, France. Photo: Loic Baratoux
Source: Getty Images

Rennes first competed in the top tier in 1932/1933 and won four titles in their first decade. It got founded by students living in Brittany. The club lost 2-0 to Red Star in their first Cup de France final. They finished third in League 1 in the 2019/2020 season.

  • Founded: 1901
  • Nickname: Les Rennais (The Rennais)
  • City: Rennes
  • Stadium: Roazhon Park
  • Capacity: 29,778

14. Toulouse FC

List of football clubs in France
Toulouse's defender Anthony Rouault (L) and midfielder Denis Genreau (8) warm-up ahead of their match against Lille LOSC at The TFC Stadium on 18 March 2023. Photo: Valentine Chapius
Source: Getty Images

Known as the Tefece, Toulouse is among France's most famous football clubs. In 2008, they qualified for the UEFA Champions League for the first time after winning the Coupe de France. The team has produced prominent players like Wissam Ben Yedder, Moussa Sissoko, and Daniel Congre.

  • Founded: 1970
  • Nickname: Le Téfécé Les Violets Le Tef Les Pitchouns
  • City: Toulouse
  • Stadium: Stadium de Toulouse
  • Capacity: 33,150

13. RC Strasbourg

All football clubs in France
Strasbourg fans welcome the team bus ahead of their Ligue 1 match against FC Lorient at Stade de la Meinau on 23 May 2021 in Strasbourg. Photo: Sebastien Bozon
Source: Getty Images

Strasbourg got formed through a merger of several teams. It has three Coupe de France titles, four Coupe de la Ligue and one league title. They are among the regulars in the top flight.

  • Founded: 1906
  • Nickname: Le Racing Le RCS Les Bleu et Blanc (The Blue-and-Whites)
  • City: Strasbourg
  • Stadium: Stade de la Meinau Strasbourg
  • Capacity: 26,109

12. RC Lens

France football clubs ranking
Lens fans during their Ligue 1 Uber Eats match against Lille at Stade Bollaert-Delelis on 4 March 2023. Photo: Philippe Lecoeur
Source: Getty Images

The club got founded in 1906 as Racing Club Lensois. In the mid-19th century, Lens became a coal-mining centre and attracted coal-mining soccer players from across Europe. They earned a promotion to the top flight twice and won it once (1997/1998). RC Lens has also won one French League Cup and two Intertoto Cups.

  • Founded: 1906
  • Nickname: Les Sang et Or (The Blood and Gold)
  • City: Lens
  • Stadium: Estadio Bollaert-Delelis
  • Capacity: 38,223

11. OGC Nice

List of football clubs in France by major honours won
The Nice team celebrates their victory with fans after their UEFA Europa Conference League match against Tiraspol at Allianz Riviera on 16 March 2023 in Nice. Photo: Pascal Della Zuana
Source: Getty Images

Olympique Gymnaste Club Nice was one of the original twenty French top-tier members when the league got founded in 1932. The team has won four League 1 titles and three Coupe de France trophies. OGC Nice remains one of the best clubs in the country despite their 60-year title drought.

  • Founded: 1904
  • Nickname: Les Aiglons (The Eaglets), Le Gym (The Gym)
  • City: Nice
  • Stadium: Stade Municipal du Ray (1927-2013), Allianz Riviera (2013-date)
  • Capacity: Allianz Riviera (over 35,000)

10. Stade de Reims

League 1 French football clubs
Fans of Reims during their Ligue 1 Uber Eats match against ESTAC Troyes at Stade de l'Aube on 2 October 2022 in Troyes. Photo: Sandra Ruhaut
Source: Getty Images

The club dominated in the 1950s and early 1960s, winning six Ligue 1 championships, two Coupe de France crowns, and five Trophee des Champions. Stade de Reims later descended to League 2 but returned in 2018.

  • Founded: 1931
  • Nickname: Les rouges et Blancs (The Red and Whites)
  • City: Reims
  • Stadium: Stade Auguste Delaune
  • Capacity: 21,127

9. LOSC Lille

Football teams in Paris
Players of Lille OSC line up for a team pic ahead of their UEFA Champions League group H match against Valencia at Estadio Mestalla on 5 November 2019 in Valencia, Spain. Photo: Quality Sport Images
Source: Getty Images

Lille got formed through a merger of two teams. The club has won four Ligue 1 titles in its history, including in the 2020/2021 season. It also has six Coupe de France titles and the 2004 UEFA Intertoto Cup.

  • Founded: 1944
  • Nickname: Les Dogues (The Mastiffs)
  • City: Lille
  • Stadium: Decathlon Arena - Stade Pierre Mauroy
  • Capacity: 50,000

8. FC Nantes

Biggest football clubs in France
Nantes' players celebrate with the trophy after their victory over Calais in the 1999-2000 French Cup final in St.-Denis, France. Photo: Stephane Reix
Source: Getty Images

Nantes has been in the top flight for nearly a decade despite inconsistencies in performance. The club won some trophies in the 1990s and 2000s, including eight League 1 titles. Nantes' last league crown came in 2001. They also have three Coupe de France trophies and three Trophee des Champions.

  • Founded: 1943
  • Nickname: Les Canaris (The Canaries)
  • City: Nantes
  • Stadium: Beaujoire Stadium
  • Capacity: 35,322

7. AJ Auxerre

Best football clubs in France
Auxerre squad pose with the Trophee des Champions they won on 27 July 2005. Photo: Philippe Perusseau
Source: Getty Images

Auxerre dominated France's Catholic league in the 1900s and 1910s, earning a promotion to the top flight in 1980. The club won four Coupe de France titles between 1994 and 2005 and one Ligue 1 title (1996). In 2012, they got relegated to League 2 and spent ten years before climbing back.

  • Founded: 1905
  • Nickname: Les diplomates (The Diplomats)
  • City: Auxerre
  • Stadium: Stade Abbe Deschamps
  • Capacity: 18,451

6. Girondins Bordeaux

Richest football clubs in France
Bordeaux fans welcome the team ahead of their Ligue match against Saint Etienne at Stade Matmut Atlantique on 4 March 2023 in Bordeaux. Photo: Romain Perrocheau
Source: Getty Images

Few clubs in the country have won more silverware than Bordeaux. They have six top-flight titles, with the last coming in 2009. The club also has four Coupe de France trophies, three Trophee des Champions and one UEFA Intertoto Cup. It is among the oldest football clubs in France and the oldest on our list.

  • Founded: 1881
  • Nickname: Les Girondins (The Girondins)
  • City: Bordeaux
  • Stadium: Matmut Atlantique
  • Capacity: 42,115

5. AS Saint-Étienne

How many football clubs are in France?
Saint-Etienne's players of 1976 arrive on the pitch to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their European Champions Cup Final at the Geoffroy Guichard Stadium. Photo: Roman Lafabregue
Source: Getty Images

Saint-Etienne was a dominant force in the 1960s and 1970s. The club won eight Ligue 1 trophies between 1964 and 1976. Les Verts have won ten League 1 titles and six Coupe de France championships. Saint-Étienne, Olympique Marseille, and Paris Saint-Germain are the most successful clubs in the top-tier competition.

  • Founded: 1919
  • Nickname: Les Verts (The Greens)
  • City: Saint-Étienne
  • Stadium: Stade Geoffroy-Guichard
  • Capacity: 41,965

4. AS Monaco

List of football clubs in France
Monaco players line up ahead of their match against Nantes at Stade Louis II on 16 February 2019 in Monaco. Photo: Agence Nice Presse
Source: Getty Images

The club rose to power in the 1960s through the 1990s before suffering hard financial times in the mid-2000s. Fortunately, a financial takeover by a wealthy Russian oligarch helped the club regain its form. Monaco has eight Ligue 1 titles and five Coupe de France trophies. In 2004, they reached the Champions League final but lost to Porto.

  • Founded: 1924
  • Nickname: Les Rouges et Blancs (The Red and Whites)
  • City: Monaco
  • Stadium: Louis II Stadium
  • Capacity: 18,523

3. Olympique Lyonnais

All football clubs in France
Lyon's Alexandre Lacazette (R) celebrates with teammates after scoring his team's first goal against FC Nantes at The Groupama Stadium in Decines-Charpieu on 17 March 2023. Photo: Olivier Chassignole
Source: Getty Images

Famously known as Lyon, the club got founded in 1950, but its roots date back to 1899. They have seven top-flight trophies, having won the first in 2002. Lyon also has five Coupe de France titles and has twice reached the Champions League semifinals in the past 12 years.

In 1997, Lyon clinched the Intertoto Cup. They are the third-most supported club in France after Paris Saint-Germain and Olympique Marseille.

  • Founded: 1950
  • Nickname: Les Gones (The Kids)
  • City: Lyon
  • Stadium: Groupama Stadium
  • Capacity: 59,186

2. Olympique Marseille

France football clubs ranking
Marseille players celebrate their victory after the French Cup round of 16 matches against Paris Saint-Germain at Orange Velodrome on 8 February 2023 in Marseille. Photo: Xavier Laine
Source: Getty Images

Marseille is the only French outfit to win the Champions League (formerly the European Cup) after defeating AC Milan 1-0 in the 1993 final. Marseille also has 10 Ligue 1 crowns and ten Coupe de France titles.

Despite their massive success, the club has yet to win a major trophy since their last league title in 2010. It is one of the richest football clubs in France. It is also the most famous club in the country.

  • Founded: 1899
  • Nickname: Les Olympiens (The Olympians)
  • City: Marseille
  • Stadium: Orange Vélodrome
  • Capacity: 67,000

1. Paris Saint-Germain

League 1 French football clubs
PSG squad celebrated winning the French Ligue 1 trophy at Parc des Princes stadium on 21 May 2022 in Paris, France. Photo: John Berry
Source: Getty Images

Paris Saint-Germain is among the most popular football teams in Paris. They are also the richest club in France and among the wealthiest globally. The Parisians have recently dominated the league by winning seven of their nine league titles in the past nine years.

In 2011, Qatar's government purchased PSG. Since then, they have assembled a squad of stars like Sergio Ramos, Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi.

  • Founded: 1970
  • Nickname: Les Parisiens (The Parisians)
  • City: Paris
  • Stadium: Le Parc des Princes
  • Capacity: 48, 583

Football clubs in France continue to perform well in Europe and attract wealthy billionaires to invest in their soccer. Other top stars who have played for clubs in the country include Ronaldinho, Zinedine Zidane, Michel Platini, Laurent Blanc, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Juninho, and Edison Cavani.

READ ALSO: Who are the top 20 best strikers in the world?

Sports Brief recently ranked the top 20 best strikers in the world. These strikers have helped their teams win matches and titles by providing crucial goals.

Besides scoring, the strikers contribute to the defensive aspect by possessing the ball and planning attacks in the opponent's half. Follow the above link for more details about the goal-scoring machines.