Having been here now for two years in all, there has been something I’ve been desperate to try, but from which I have always chickened out at the last moment.
|flickr creative commons acme|
Every Friday evening (*as long as the weather permits), leaving from the Tour Montparnasse at 22h, huge crowds of people gather to spend 3 hours…rollerskating around Paris.
The streets are closed off, the police follow at a safe distance, and there are numerous volunteer helpers for those who get tired, lost, or who just want a chat. All this security is absolutely necessary, because numbers can sometimes rise to 15000 participants, of all backgrounds and ages.
I first came across this now ten-year-old phenomenon whilst cycling back from working at the restaurant around midnight. Whistles and sirens blocked my path, and for the next 20 minutes I was forced to watch as a seemingly neverending wave of people whizzed down Rue Monge. It looked so much fun!
The event itself is free, set up initially by a small group of “patineurs” (skaters), which gradually gathered momentum and is now a veritable association. Skates- or blades- can be rented, or old pairs dug out from the backs of cupboards. On the website, the organiser Boris Belohlavek describes Pari Roller as un espace de liberté, une fête spontanée which perfectly encapsulates the fantastic energy of this weekly event.
|flickr creative commons vanlaar|
There is also a Sunday version, run by a different association, called Rollers & Coquillages but, for me, the fun comes with the idea of zipping around as the sun sets, and into the early hours.
So *drum roll* next week I am writing down (in pen, not pencil) in my diary PARI ROLLER. All I need to do is find someone crazy enough to come with me…