By Irene Fogarty
As I walked out of work yesterday, I was greeted with colorful luminous hoops of light encircling the trees that line the Champs Elysée. You can see the whole street lit up all the way to Grand Palais. And so it’s that time again. Love it or loathe it, it’s hard to ignore that Christmas is nearly upon us. And even though there’s no ‘Christmassy’ chill in the air here yet, there is one thing all tourists can do to get in the mood that’s free, fun and great for your butt. Ice skating! Here are the best spots to check out this season!
Glide on the Eiffel Tower
Don’t just go see the Eiffel Tower, skate on it! Opened since 1969, this1800 Sq foot high tech ice rink (on the first floor) approximately 160 feet above Paris, is a wonderful way to do something touristy, that’s fun and exhilarating. As you skate, the movements produce real time dynamic visual effects thanks to projections and infra-red sensors. It’s really magical to see the lights and visuals change to the music, all under the intricate golden lit-tower. There’s also a frosted open air bar warm you up! Try a mulled wine and a waffle…then back to the rink to do your Oksana Baiul! Access to the ice rink is free. Open daily from 10:30 – 10:30PM, Dec 15 – Feb 2012. Where: Eiffel Tower. (Metro: Trocadero or Bir Hakeim) Ice skates are available free of charge to visitors.
Hotel de Ville on ice
If you’re afraid of heights (or just don’t want to bother with long lines), maybe this is a better option. The stunning Hotel de Ville in the 4th arrondisement is really inviting with an outdoor rink of about 15,000 sq feet and full of Parisians, tourists and kids. It’s not completely free – 5 euros for rental of skates (no charge for kids) with ID. There are two rinks and even a sledding area.
Where: Hotel de Ville (Metro: Hotel de Ville). When: Dec 17 – Feb 15, 2012; Mon – Fri: 12pm-10pm; Sat – Sun: 9am-midnight.
Twirl around Tour Montparnasse
At the base of the Montparnasse Tower – France’s tallest skyscraper over 630 feet high – you’ll find a spacious ice-skating rink for everyone to enjoy. Again you’ll pay 5 Euros to rent skates but otherwise admission to the rink is free. And don’t worrry if you’re a beginner, there will be lots of people falling all around you…it’s half the fun! The rink is open Mon – Fri, 12pm-8pm and Sat – Sun 9am-8pm until March 5th, 2012. Metro: Montparnasse-Bienvenue which serves lines 4, 6, 12, and 13. After a few spins and twirls, take a visit to the top of the tower for a grandiose view of the City of Lights!