Freestyle football superstar Séan Garnier partnered with Airbnb to host a special Sports Experience in Paris, where guests learned a variety of ball tricks while taking in iconic views of Paris. Here, Séan shares where he likes to spend his time in the City of Lights.

WORLD CHAMPION FREESTYLE footballer Séan Garnier views his profession as an art form. “For me, every sport is an art because when you express yourself in any way, it’s art,” he says, describing freestyle as a mix between football, basketball, and dance. “A tennis player tries to express himself with a tennis ball; a football player, the same. It becomes a sport when there’s a competition—for freestyle as well—but when you play with the ball, that’s art.” No doubt his millions of devoted Instagram and YouTube followers agree, tuning in regularly to be blown away by his mesmerizing tricks, which are as technical and athletic as they are graceful and artistic. 

 

Garnier started out as a major league footballer, playing for Auxerre and Troyes, but his professional career was cut short due to injuries. It was during rehab that he started practicing ball tricks, and never looked back. “One day I was on vacation and I saw people dancing in the street and I thought, Oh, I can do the same thing with the ball. So I tried [performing] and people were interested in it. I entered one competition and I finished first, and within two years I became the world freestyle champion.” Garnier’s biggest challenge is to stay constantly inspired and innovative. “To communicate with people you need to be attractive, and to be attractive you need to be different, and to be different you need to create,” he says. “And that’s where I think, Okay, I need different tricks; I need a different character. I’m trying to be like a singer but with my ball…to create tricks that are outside the box.”

THE EXPERIENCE

Meeting at one of his favorite Paris cafés, guests chatted with Garnier about how he became a freestyle footballer. Then it was off to an open-air football court overlooking the Eiffel Tower, where Garnier demonstrated the skills that have put him at the top of his game, and taught guests how to perform some tricks of their own. The intimate group practiced a variety of freestyle moves, taking home a football from Garnier’s Urban Ball collection. 

SÉAN’S PARIS

“I live just outside of Paris, which is quieter and better for me and my family. But I can still get to the Champs Elysées in 15 minutes.”

Restaurant: Miss Kô.

Cheap Eats: Le Paradis du Fruit, there are many of them in Paris and it’s really healthy. I love their juices.

Shopping: Mostly the Champs Elysées and the mall at La Défense.

Nature: The Champ de Mars park, near the Eiffel tower—there’s grass where you can sit and also a football court, so it’s perfect for me.

Galleries: La Villette is really interesting. And Le Cent Quatre, where you can see something new every week. You can also train there as an artist if you’re a freestyle footballer or dancer or anyone who wants to express themselves.

Attraction: Montmartre is cool because you can see the whole back of Paris and you can also go to Saint-Michel. And you’ll see some guys around like me doing street shows.

Souvenir: The best souvenir is always experience. So I would suggest to talk to people around you and try to connect with real Parisians.

DISCOVER MORE SPORTS EXPERIENCES IN PARIS LIKE SÉAN’S

Experience in the Spotlight highlights visionary Airbnb Experience Hosts in their cities. Featuring experts including award-winning chefs, celebrated musicians, world-class architects, and professional athletes, we view each city through the eyes of local creatives as they share a wealth of insider tips, secret spots, favorite haunts, and the destinations that inspire their creativity.

Airbnb partnered with world champion freestyle footballer Séan Garnier on an exclusive Sports Experience in Paris, where guests got to learn ball tricks at the foot of the Eiffel Tower.