After a mild November, temperatures in Paris have dropped to respectable winter levels, thermostats hovering around 0° Celsius, bien sûr! Advent calendars have been cracked open and Paris is all dressed up for winter. After the lighting of the trees along the Champs-Elysées and the perfume of hot, spiced wine from the Christmas markets, everyone is putting on their party shoes (aka ice skates) to enjoy some pretty sensational ice skating rinks that have rolled in for the holidays, ensuring a White Christmas for anyone who seeks it.
Iconic: from December 8 to February 2, visitors can don rental blades on the 1st floor of the Eiffel Tower, Gustave’s lacy steel beams framing your moment of glory. Reserve your tickets to the first floor in advance, or climb the stairs six meters up to this tiny rink with a tremendous view. A snack stand serves seasonal treats like hot spiced wine, hot chocolate, pumpkin soup, and pretzels to keep you warm as you wait your turn.
Traditional: entire generations have grown up ice skating in front of the Hôtel de Ville every winter. Paris’ city hall makes a stunning backdrop as you leisurely glide across the ice, take an ice hockey lesson, or watch a performance. There are two rinks, one reserved for youngsters who are given push-chairs to help them balance, a gift Mum and Dad’s backs will appreciate as much as the kids. The rink is free, but skate rental is 5€ with your ID and they request that you wear your gloves. Safety first!
Fun: every other year an ice skating extravaganza descends on the Grand Palais, with disco balls reflecting starlights under the monumental glass and steel dome. On the off years a carnival graces the space, but this year it hosts the biggest indoor rink in the world. At 9pm every night the atmosphere goes from family to party as DJs set up to spin until 2am, but champagne and raw oyster platters served at traditional bistro tables remind you that you’re in Paris. You can purchase advance tickets on their website to avoid the long lines.