Ice Skating at Hotel de Ville: Inexpensive Winter Fun
As all the holiday decor disappears, the New Year begins and tourists head home to start their daily routine, only the true Parisians are left to resume their lives.
After starting my first day of French language classes yesterday for four months at Accord Language School in the 9th arrondissement, I felt the calm vibe of the city. It is the first time since the rush of the holiday season, I felt like a true Parisian again. In January, money spent on Christmas gifts, tourist attractions and for myself, spending my first couple weeks splurging on some delicious formage, wine and attractions to introduce myself to the city, has made extricluar activites short. January, the month where money is restricted, “fun” is a word that has strict limits.
In Paris though, there is always something to do, on any budget. This seems almost a oximoron as Paris normally equals expensive but if you look closely, there is a pool of activities to enjoy in the winter, while waiting for the spring flowers.
We have been blessed with a warm streak in the city the past few days as today almost reached 60F. A few new girls from my school who I met, invited me to join them for the afternoon as they play tourist with their short time in Paris. Our worldly group, one girl from Switzerland, Korea, Australia and myself from the US, made our way over to the Hotel de Ville to enjoy some outdoor skating in the sun. After grabbing some less expensive lunch at the La Crossanterie, we enjoyed the walk over to Hotel de Ville through Chatlet. The sun glistened on the outside rink as the carousel out front slowly spun and the kids just getting of school raced around the rink laughing and chasing one another.
Since ice skates were not exactly on my “pack for Paris” checklist, I was able to afford the 5 euro rental for skates. There is no charge to use the rink if you bring your own skates and the one hour time limit seemed pretty “unmonitored”. One thing that is monitored is your winter gloves. They are required and if you forgot to bring them, their rentable for a 4 euro fee. It was so nice to have a break in the weather that I left home without my gloves. We decided to take turns going around the rink in pairs.
I could not have asked for a better view of the beautiful detail on one of Paris’s most beautiful and historic buildings. It was a glorious, warm winter day in the sun and though my skating skills were rusty, it was a great day. We stayed for a couple of hours, laughing and truly enjoying the day as any Parisian kid would.
So, when in Paris this winter and looking at your quickly depleding pockets, Hotel de Ville offers a inexpensive treat on a great afternoon or for date night. Once you are finished practicing your Olympic skating skills, you can head over to grab some crepes or gaufres Nutella for an extra 3 euro.
The rink is open Monday through Friday, 12pm-10pm and 9am to 10pm on the weekends, everyday until March 6, 2014. Montparnasse also offers an outdoor rink. Metro stop: Hotel de Ville