The biggest in-door ice rink in the world

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skaters at the Grand Palais

the ice rink at the Grand Palais

From December 14th to January 4th, the Grand Palais in Paris becomes an ice rink which, for three weeks, is the world’s biggest in-door ice rink.  Under the beautiful, giant glass roof, thousands of ice-skaters will glide gently in this huge but elegant building which was built for the 1900 World Expo.

During these three weeks, entering through the doors of the Grand Palais is like suddenly finding yourself in the Ice Queen’s Palace. The atmosphere is magical. Even the adults relapse back into the soul they had as a child. Soon after putting ice skates on, the first scrapes across the ice are pure joy. Surrounding you there are only smiling people, even among those who are obviously first time skaters!

Everything is done to make this event as friendly as possible in a harmonious musical environment. Everyone has to agree to a good behaviour chart. The rules are simple and strict. No runs, no sprints, no jumps! No drinks and no food on the ice rink!  There is enough room all around the rink where booths offer hot and cold drinks. And for those feeling a bit peckish, various French food specialities await them, including crêpes (special pancakes from Brittany), foie gras  and tartiflette. Tartiflette is a special hot dish from the Savoie and Haut Savoie regions of the French Alps made with sliced potatoes, melting Reblochon cheese, diced bacon and chopped onions. It’s the perfect pick-me-up to regain your strength and to warm you up before going back to the rink.

lights illuminating the skaters

lights illuminating the skaters

Kids are not forgotten, and a dedicated zone is marked out for those under 12 to protect them and so they don’t get lost in a sea of adults. The day entrance rate is €15 for an adult and €10 for a child under 12.  Ice skate rental is included in the price. So there is no need to travel with your own skates and there is no extra fee for renting! But if you still want to come with your own, the price will be just the same.

After a while, when you take a breather from skating, gaze at the building itself with its iron columns and its incredible dome. The sumptuous Art Nouveau architecture of the Grand Palais is emphasised by the white surface of the ice that acts as a mirror reflecting the natural light falling from the huge dome. The visitor can look at the perfection of the amazing double staircase giving access to the large balcony.  Generally, the Grand Palais is used for exhibitions and fares,  and for which many light sources are used for dramatic effect. They often hide the design of the palace making it difficult to see the building in its entirety. So locals as well as visitors have this rare opportunity to discover the majesty of this one-giant-room palace.

ice skaing in the Grand Palais

is there a better location for a rink?

At 8.00pm, the day skaters have to leave the building. And one hour later, the doors open   again for the night party (entrance fee €25, skates included). Every night, except on Christmas and New Eve nights, from 9.pm to 2.am, the Grand Palais is turned into a huge ice dance floor. The DJs warm everybody up with their breathtaking sound and great light shows. The ice rink under the starry glass roof will offer you an unforgettable evening. And if you are a lonely skater on your own, a glass of champagne is the best way to break the ice with anyone!

The Grand Palais is on the side of the Champs Elysées. And whilst you are in the area, don’t forget to discover the Paris Christmas market with dozens of booths set up all along Champs Elysées from Grand Palais down to Place de la Concorde. On Place de la Concorde a huge Ferris wheel offers an amazing view over Paris. At night you will enjoy the Christmas lights on the Champs Elysées and you will know for sure that you are in Paris, the City of Lights.

Now that’s a Christmas time in Paris, anyone will remember!

 

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