It's a Winter Wonderland - Ice Skating at the Grand Palais


From an outdoor rink surrounded by mountains in Saas Fee, Switzerland to an indoor rink in a glitzy shopping mall in the tropical city of Surabaya, Indonesia, I've skated in some fairly unique settings. But I can honestly say that none of the other locations matched the Grand Palais in Paris. The only drawback was that I had to keep reminding myself to look down at the ice rather than up at the magnificent glass barrel vaulted roof. It's an impressive structure!

Arriving shortly after the doors opened at 10:00 yesterday morning, Sara and I whizzed past all of the metal barricades set up in anticipation of the 200,000 visitors that will flock to the Grand Palais during the holidays. In no time at all, we had picked up the tickets that I had purchased online, passed the security check point and were trying to decide if I should get size 38 or 39 skates. If you're like Sara and travel with your own pair of skates, it's helpful to know that there aren't any lockers to stow your shoes. Fortunately, the man behind the counter agreed to put them with mine but this option probably won't be possible when there are more people. There's a cloakroom, located to the left of the rink, where it's possible to check coats and large bags, for 2 euros per article. Additionally, there are a couple of vending machines that sell gloves, which are required, and socks.


As we glided on to the largest ice skating rink in France, I thought about how much our adult-aged children will enjoy sharing this experience with their friends while they're visiting from the USA. Even though New York and Boston have ice skating rinks, I'm fairly sure that they don't have a skate-up champagne bar that also serves hot chocolate and coffee. According to the weather forecast, it's supposed to snow inside (that's right - inside!) the Grand Palais once every hour. The meteorologists were wrong yesterday, but that's probably because it was opening day. When everything is working as it should, it's going to be magical.

With a huge disco ball, lots of lights and a stage, ice skating at night in the Grand Palais will also be an amazing experience.

The ice skating rink will be at the Grand Palais through January 6, 2013. Please click here to consult the official website for more information about the opening hours and to buy skip-the-line tickets. The 12 euro entrance fee includes the skate rental. The price is the same if you bring your own skates.


Time for me to go pick up a copy of Le Parisien from the new stand because a photographer took quite a few photos of Sara and me while we were sipping champagne at the skate-up bar yesterday. When one of them asked to interview us in French, I have to admit that I was a bad mother who left Sara to fend for herself. Much to her relief, they didn't use her interview in the clip, but they did show a fleeting glimpse of her gazing at the rink with a champagne flute in her hand. Please click here if you would like to see the video and here to see the additional photos that I posted on facebook.

Sara being interviewed.

Comments

  1. How I love ice-skating! I'm really jealous!! There are icerinks here in Switzerland, of course, but I usually see them only at hockey games...
    I had this dream for many years: to go ice-skating in New York at the Rockefeller Center. When I finally got to do it 5 years ago, I was a bit disappointed about the size of the icerink and the Christmas tree. This building in Paris is truly beautiful, though.

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    1. Sara and I talked about your family as we skated around the rink, Heidi. Your hockey players must feel very comfortable on the ice. Skating at the Rockefeller Center has long been a dream of mine too - but after reading your comment about the size of the tree and the ice rink, I'm really happy that I had the opportunity to skate inside the Grand Palais. Why haven't we ever gone ice skating together?! That's what we should do while Stephane and Paul go skiing.

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  2. Looking forward to going next week. Looks really impressive and hope the snow is working by then. Shame they don't give a discount for taking your own ice skates though.

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    1. Here's some info about their opening hours next week: On December 17, the ice rink will close at 14h00
      The Grand Palais des Glaces will be closed on December 19 and 20.

      It's also helpful to buy your ticket in advance so that you don't have to wait in line.

      Have fun! I look forward to seeing your photos.

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  3. MK; honestly, you just made me regret that I cancelled my FB account shortly after having opened it - I just would have loved to like some of your photos - I actually got quite lost on following only the photos you uploaded.... It makes me tired just READING all the lovely things you do - while I can't even get myself to write my Christmas cards (some 150 plus personal letters to quite a number...)!
    This is absolutely TOP WONDERFUL - thank you so much for sharing your exciting and full Parisian life. You must have lived through more exitement in your short time here than others live in a life time living in Paris... :)
    Consider yourself hugged and kissed - and you've got a lovely daughter!

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    1. Writing Christmas cards? That's exactly what I should be doing instead of going ice skating! I stopped sending cards years ago when we lived in the tropics because they always ended up getting lost in the mail. For some reason, I've never been able to get myself back on track. I'm sure that your friends and family appreciate that you take the time to include personal letters. That makes them so much more meaningful.

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  4. Wow, the video really shows how big it is! As I put on my blog, I'm not really one for skating, but that looks like a special experience

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    1. For people who don't like to skate, there's a sleigh on runners. Sara and I had a good laugh watching the photographers as they were pushed around the rink!

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  5. I love this MK, I first saw the pictures on the Mairie de Paris page and I absolutely loved it.
    I saw your photos on FB and I'd definitely need one of those kiddie carts to help me stay upright...haven't skated in ages!
    Oh and the champagne...what can I say? These people really know how to live life!
    There is so much to do in Paris every day no matter the weather!
    I'm in the wrong place, if it weren't for my family being here..

    PS, your daughter is lovely!

    Regards,
    Sylvia S.

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    1. When my son asked if there would be a skate up bar, I immediately said no because I was thinking with my American brain - accidents, lawsuits, etc., etc! I should have known that the French wouldn't let the chance of a few broken bones stand in between them and their champagne.

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  6. Champagne and ice skating and light! So jealous. :)

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    1. The MIT rink doesn't have a champagne bar?! ;)

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    2. Alas, no. And neither did the skating rink in our backyard growing up! :)

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  7. How terrific! It looks so very special. And champagne to boot, could hardly get better. There are so few people there too, that must be a special treat. I bet it will be crazy full when you return. If I go to Cincy this Christmas, I'll have to skate in Fountain Square again, it's so much fun even if I'm not that great a skater.

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    1. I'm sure that your niece and nephew are hoping that you'll be in Cincy! Skating with Uncle Joseph must be one of the highlights of their holiday.

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  8. I have never been ice skating.. this looks wonderful. But sadly "the man who can do no wrong" could never learn to skate now. So I can't participate.

    Yes I laughed at the idea of a skate up champagne bar. Only the French! The British Health and safety facists would have a field day with a combination of ice and alcohol!

    Love Denise

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    1. Only the French is right! There's no way that there would be champagne at a skating rink in the USA. Guns, maybe. Alcohol, definitely not!

      As Sylvia said below, they have push chairs at the rink, Denise! You could get someone to push "the man who can do no wrong" and you around on the ice while you're snuggled together under the blanket.

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  9. Having watched the video...goodness Sara even moves like you! It is uncanny.

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    1. It's hard for me to know - but other people have said that we have some of the same mannerisms so I guess it's true.

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  10. Your daughter is gorgeous.
    Denise, they have push chairs on gliders. Bring along the man who can do no wrong and give him the ride of his life!!!

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    1. Sylvia, we should join forces and push Denise and "the man who can do no wrong" around on the ice - that way they can keep each other company in the sleigh/push chair contraption.

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    2. She is very pretty and she looks like a poised interviewee.

      That is a spectacular building, and I love the sound of s skate-up bar. :)

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  11. My daughter wants to go and I was worried it would be so crowded but it doesn't look it at all in your photos.

    Having read this, we might just have to go...she can skate....and I'll be looking for that champagne bar! :)

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    1. Just be sure to check the official website before you go because they're closed a couple of days next week. I also saw a notice on Facebook yesterday that people should go during the week instead of on the weekend because it was overcrowded yesterday.

      Have fun. It's a great mother-daughter experience to share!

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