Jeu de Paume
Jeu de Paume is a French term meaning “game of palm”. This original French game is played with the hand to get the ball over the net. It is similar to lawn tennis except lawn tennis is played with racquets.
As time progressed, gloves were used in the place of bare hands. The game evolved into using bats and racquets. However, the name of the game, “Jeu de Paume” remained the same. Later, the name of the game was changed to “tennis” by the English. When the game of tennis became more popular with people than the former game, the name changed to “real tennis”.
The name “jeu de paume” is still used today to describe the type of court on which the game of tennis is played. The inside version of the game is called “jeu de courte paume” or shortened to “court paume”. The name “courte paume” means “short hand”, but it really describes the length of the court (short court). “Longe paume” is the name of the longer court.
There are several important structures in France that bear the name “jeu de paume”, either because they are situated near the tennis courts or because they are built on former courts. There are also a few works of art with this name. For example, the “serment du jeu paume” (the Tennis Court Oath), is found in the Palace of Versailles. The painting presents a picture of the formal declaration of the French Revolution that took place at the French Royal Tennis Court on June 20, 1789.