The weekly Pari Roller, which began in 1994, may be the biggest weekly street skating event in the world. This Friday Night Fever-filled activity attracts as many as 35,000 skaters, depending on the season. In 1997, the french police become involved to insure safety for skaters, motorists, pedestrians and spectators. Today, some of the French inline skating officers actually participate in the tour. The Pari Roller is also a popular spectator sport in the city center. Cities with recreational, fitness and social street skating events like LFNS make great skating vacation destinations for skating enthusiasts who will not leave home without skates.
The event starts at 10:00pm on Friday nights, when weather permits. Skating starts at Place Raoul Dautry in the 14th Arrondissement, between the Montparnasse office tower and the Paris-Montparnasse train station. Traffic is stopped and the event is supervised by a staff of 150 Pari Roller marshals who can be identified by their yellow shirts. The Pari Roller lasts three hours, with a break for wine or snacks, then returns to Montparnesse at 1:00am.
The boulevards of Paris are great for an event like this, because the roadways are wide enough to allow large groups of skaters to safely maintain speed. The roads are also smooth enough for a fast paced stride. The route changes slightly from week to week, but usually travels over 18.5 miles of the roads through central Paris and along the Seine.
Participation in this Friday night skating event has some skating requirements.
- All skaters should be able to go fast enough to keep up with the pack.
- Good maneuvering skills are required for all participants.
- Each skater should have the ability to come to a quick and controlled stop.
Pari Roller is the group that organizes the skates. They emphasize these points on the event website:
"WARNING: From its origins, this event is meant for experienced skaters. Route includes technical difficulties on purpose... and the speed of the procession is rather fast... It is essential to your safety and that of the other participants that you know how to brake."
Equality is part of the French national motto, so an alternate easier street skate is available on Sunday afternoons for less experienced skaters and families. This event starts at the Place de la Bastille.
The tour is free and open to any skater who can maintain and control speed. But, Pari Roller, the group that organizes the weekly events, welcomes new membership contributions that can help to cover expenses as well as provide accident insurance for the weekly events.
How to get there:
- By subway: Lines 4, 6, 12 and 13 - Station Montparnasse Bienvenüe.
- By road: Périphérique sud, exit Porte d’Orléans, take Avenue du Général Leclerc, then Avenue du Maine.
The Pari Roller group's address is:
- Pari Roller
- 16 Bd Saint Germain
- 75005 Paris, France