Where To Skate, Blade, Scoot, And BMX In Paris
Skating in Place de la Republique | © Bonne Basile / Flickr | © Bonne Basile / Flickr
Paris is an exhilarating playground for urban extreme sports enthusiasts: from whizzing around on wheels outside the Eiffel Tower to weaving your way between ancient statues, there’s no shortage of fun. Whether you’re rocking up with a skateboard, roller blade, scooter, or BMX, this guide will tell you everything you need to know.
There’s no place more quintessentially Parisian to spend the day whizzing around on wheels than in the Trocadéro Gardens
. Looming in the backdrop is the Eiffel Tower
, giving any mid-air photograph that iconic charm. The garden itself spans 9.4 hectares, with a history that stretches back to 1878 when it was created for the Universal Exposition, and numerous ancient statues dotted for the daring to dodge their way around. Many people like to test their manoeuvring skills between La Jeunesse
and La Joie de vivre
statues, though the plaza just below the Palais de Chaillot and above the Varsovie Fountains is one of the most active spots. It’s great in summer with stands selling ice cream, a tourist hotspot that’s nonetheless a fun place to warm up, and is especially suited to beginners.
Place de la République
Place de la République
is one of the largest pedestrian squares in Paris, and has been a well-loved spot to skate and blade since it opened in 2013. Its huge 3.4 ha (8.4 acres) space dominates the border between the 3rd, 10th and 11th arrondissements, giving it a central location that triumphs over all the other places on this list, as far as convenience is concerned. It’s the perfect meeting place, well-connected to a range of metro lines. The space itself offers only flat grounds to work with, with no equipment specifically intended for urban sports, save a few curbs, concrete blocks and benches. However, people love this space because it’s traditionally the meeting point for protest marches, and so boasts a bohemian, revolutionary vibe that’s always bustling with cool, friendly skaters.
Palais de Tokyo
Museum, Skate Park
The Palais de Tokyo
is an unexpected but edgy place to take to your wheels thanks to a huge, smooth marble courtyard that spans from the Seine to the gorgeous Art Deco
museum. If there are no crowds, then the fountain basin turns into an incredible place to practice, along with the stairs on either side and the huge ledge with its railings for the most daring. The only problem is that since Palais de Tokyo is one of the biggest contemporary art museums in the City of Light, it can be difficult to navigate between the tourists, especially in summertime. But it’s definitely worth a visit. An interesting fact is that on the forecourt you’ll be skating across an original rivet from the Eiffel Tower that has genuinely been used to seal an emerald into the ground.
Rue Léon Cladel
Tucked away at the end of a long and narrow street park in the 2nd arrondissement is this hidden gem of a skatepark on Rue Léon Cladel. It’s so well hidden that many people walk by and never even notice, so it’s great if you’re new to skating, blading, or trying out the BMX and want to do so away from the crowds. The other places are often busier. Opened in December 2012, EGP Cladel spans the entire street joining Rue Réaumur and Rue Montmartre, near to the Bourse. It’s the first of its kind to be set up on a public street, welcoming rollerblade, skateboard and even scooter fans between 8am and 8pm. The 60-metre-long green coloured skate area might be fairly small by common standards, but the steep inclined planes, curbs and pyramid will keep even the most experienced skaters on their toes.
Bercy roller park near the AccorHotel Arena
has always been a legendary hangout for the city’s skaters. With 800 m² to play around with, it’s actually the second biggest skate park in Paris. The other plazas and parks might be great for grabbing something to eat or drink, but there’s more equipment for urban sports here. There’s no shortage of ramps and other features for skate boarders, rollerbladers and BMXs, including a quarter pipe, three mini-ramps, and plenty of curbs, which make it one of the better places for more accomplished skate enthusiasts to attempt a challenge. What’s great is the skate area is covered by a roof, making it accessible even when it is raining, with the graffiti decorated walls that lend it an authentic urban touch.
The Espace de Glisse Parisien
, or EGP 18 to the seasoned locals, is the largest covered skatepark in the city and the whole of France.
It boasts a breathtaking surface area of 3,000 square meters, with no shortage of equipment to test your skills. You’ll find cutting edge facilities like bowls, a vertical wall and snake run, as well as all the usual urban furniture. You’ll be pleased to learn that it’s free to use, though wearing helmets is mandatory. There are introductory sessions for beginners, sessions for disabled people and family sessions offered several times each week.