Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ice skating on the Eiffel Tower, at Trocadero and in front of the Hôtel de Ville

Ice skating rink on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower.

People are often surprised when I tell them that I took ice skating lessons when I lived in Indonesia. A tropical country just isn't the place where you expect to find an ice skating rink. Beaches, yes. Large quantities of ice, no. So, when I found out that there's an ice skating rink on (that's right - ON) the Eiffel Tower, I had to see it for myself.

As I had heard that it gets really crowded, I planned to be there as soon as it opened at 10:30 on Sunday morning. But since I was feeling a bit lazy, I didn't arrive at the Eiffel Tower until around 12:30 p.m. and asked for the quickest way to the rink. Pointing towards the South Pillar, the man at the information booth advised me to take the stairs. After waiting a relatively short time to purchase my €4.70 ticket, I climbed approximately 300 stairs, occasionally stopping to admire the view - not because I was tired.

And there it was - 200m² of ice located 187 feet (57 meters) above Paris. The entrance to the rink and the skates are included in the price of the ticket. So, if you're planning to visit the Eiffel Tower prior to January 31, 2012, grab a pair of skates for a uniquely Parisian experience. To avoid standing in line, you can also purchase a ticket online for €8.20  and take the elevator to the first floor.  Click here for more information.

Of course, with any skating rink there are always rules. Here are a couple of my favorites taken directly from the Eiffel Tower. The wording is theirs, not mine:

It is not allowed to:
  • Charge into guard rails or even pretend to do it,
  • Charge into others intending to stop at the last second,
  • Try to do somebody else fall down

Ice skating rink at Trocadero

If you prefer to skate while looking at the Eiffel Tower, then the rink at Trocadero is the one for you. With a prime position near the Christmas market, it's larger than the rink on the Eiffel Tower. Open from 11:00 am- 9:00 pm until January 2, 2012, the 5€ fee includes skate rental. Please note that the rink will be open from 11:00 am-4:00 pm on December 31. Click here for additional information in French.

Ice skating rink in front of the Hôtel de Ville 

The ice rink in front of the Hôtel de Ville seems to be the largest of the three that I visited and will be open until March 4, 2012. Entrance is free and you may use your own skates. Skate rental is 5€. It's important to note that you're required to have an identity card to rent skates and to wear gloves while on the ice.

Click here for more information and a complete list in French of all of the ice skating rinks in Paris. 

Looking down at the ice skating rink on the Eiffel Tower from one of the 704 steps that I climbed to reach the second floor. 

17 comments:

  1. I only just subscribed to your blog and already I'm quite blown away - or shall I say 'skated' into action?!
    These are wonderful news and although I live in the greater Paris region for over three years I haven't heard of those skating rinks and surely not about the 1st floor of the Eiffel Tower thingie.... This might well be the moment to CLIMB the monument, wouldn't it?!
    Thanks for this post - enjoy it greatly
    Kiki

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  2. I love your blog. It's like Google for Paris. I know that I don't even need to look up something on Google because I can just come here! Point in case: Ice skating. We want to go next week and now I know our choices. Was the one on the Eiffel Tower large enough to feel like you can actually skate without being around too many little kids? Merci, as always!

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  3. Kiki, I'm glad that you enjoyed the post. Since we're used to the winter sports in Switzerland, we were really happy to find out that there's ice skating in Paris. And finding out about the rink on the Eiffel Tower was like the icing on the cake.

    kbh, I guess that the number of kids depends on when you go, but there weren't that many while I was there. There were lots of adults trying to take pictures of themselves while skating, so that was a bit dangerous! ;) The ET rink is more for the novelty of it. If you do go to the ET, do NOT (!!!) go to the 58 Restaurant on the same floor as the ice rink. It was a big disappointment. Overpriced, poor-quality food. Oh, and you can buy your tickets in advance online if you want to take the elevator instead of the stairs. That will save you from having to wait in line.

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  4. Oh the French and their rules. And I actually enjoyed the 58 Restaurant but then again, my criteria was that it had to suit 8 year olds.

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  5. Anne, Your comment is the perfect case in point that we all have different experiences in Paris. Other people have also told me that they enjoyed 58 Restaurant, so I shouldn't have completely ruled it out as an option. While the view is beautiful, I just didn't like the way that it's set up - not quite a cafeteria and not quite a restaurant. I also wasn't happy that they didn't tell me that the starter that I ordered didn't qualify for the daily menu price. I only found out when they brought the bill and it was more than I expected because they charged for each item separately. The waitress told me that I should have read the menu more closely (French rules!).

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  6. The Trocadero shot is beautiful, and I would love to explore that Christmas Market. I like the small Eiffel Tower on the ice rink, but it's taking up precious ice space.

    I skated this Thanksgiving in Cincinnati with my niece and nephew for $6.00, including skates. Skating at Wrigley Field here in Chicago is $20.00 with skates--that's sort of crazy, and the rink is tiny.

    And you must go at night, don't you think, it's so beautiful to skate at night, especially, well, especially in Paris. Romantic in me never dies.

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  7. See, when you're in Minnesota, you just step outside for the ice rink... :)

    (though not this year, there's not even snow here! I'm a bit perturbed).

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  8. I wouldn't mind skating at the Eiffel Tower. I love skating. I taught myself years ago at Meribel when I was an au pair, and I love it. Last year we had an Ice Village at nearby Gueret. Caiti and I went four or five times over the holidays. Bereft this year as it's not there :-( However, hope to go skating in Limoges after Christmas.

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  9. Joseph, I had the same thought as you when I saw how much room the little ET was taking up but it's kind of fun to see an ET inside the ET. Kind of like those Russian dolls.

    $20 sounds really expensive for ice-skating. I'll have to ask Sara where she went when she lived in Chicago.

    I was going to post the pictures that I took at Trocadero at night but since it was drizzling, they're a bit blurry. But I agree, nighttime is the best -- especially since you can warm up with a cup of vin chaud from the Christmas market afterwards.

    Bridget, Sorry to hear that there isn't any snow yet. You do tend to expect it this time of year in MN! You remind me of my mother. That's exactly what she always said whenever we wanted to go to an ice skating rink because she had such great childhood memories of skating on the local pond.

    Steph, There's something about gliding across the ice. I enjoy it way more than skiing. It's a shame that Caiti and you won't be able to skate in Gueret this year, but I look forward to reading about your next trip to Limoge.

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  10. No way! You can ice skate in Eiffel Tower? This is the first I'm hearing of this - and I used to live up the street on La Motte-Picquet!!! How romantic!!!! I wonder how many marriage proposals happen there per season...

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  11. What an incredible find! I think I would enjoy the Trocadero the most, but ice-skating on the ET would be such a unique way of experiencing a familiar monument. I'm surprised that none of the rinks look too crowded, and they are all reasonably priced, too.

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  12. Mlle Ella, Funny - but I was also wondering about the number of marriage proposals on the Eiffel Tower. Considering the crowds of people who visit it every day, it has to happen fairly often.

    nycgirl, I think that the rink at the Hotel de Ville is subsidized by the government. There's also a free merry-go-round for children. I really like how they use the space for free/inexpensive activities. But for me, the ultimate skating experience would be at Rockefeller Center.

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  13. After seeing your post, I decided to do some price comparison just out of curiosity. Here's what is costs to skate in NYC:

    Rockefeller Center

    Adults $21
    Children $12.50
    Skate rental $10

    Central Park

    Adults $10.75 M-Th, $16 F-Su
    Children $5.75-$6
    Skate rental $6.75
    Spectator fee $5 (why???)

    So Central Park is a bit more reasonable, but neither are exactly bargains, unlike the rinks in Paris. So jealous right now!

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  14. nycgirl, Thanks for posting the prices for ice skating in NYC. After seeing that it costs $31 (wow!) to skate at Rockefeller Center, I've gotta say that I'm really appreciative for the lower prices in Paris. I'll just have to be sure to get out on the ice a couple of times this winter and take advantage of them.

    The $5 spectator fee at Central Park seems unfair, especially since it's probably parents or grandparents who want to watch their children/grandchildren.

    Thanks again! :)

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  15. Hi - Is there anywhere to ice skate in Paris in November? It just seems to say December, always :-(

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    1. Sorry but I don't know of any outdoor skating rinks that are open in November. Good luck finding one!

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  16. Hi, Could I just check if you know of any way to book tickets for the ice rink at Trocadero online? :)

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