The Patinoire Charlemagne

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Ice-skating & ice-hockey

Translated by Hannah Skilton — 5 years ago

Original text by Marion Hernandez

On the T1 tram line (the Hôtel de Région stop), very close to la Confluence, you'll find Lyon's biggest ice rink, the Patinoire Charlemagne. But, just so you know, the ice-rink is closed from May to October!

When you first enter the building, you're met with the ticket office where you can pay to go in. It's really cheap if you already own a pair of skates; you're only looking at around 2. 30€-3. 80€ for a ticket. But if you do need to rent a pair, then it's still pretty reasonable and you can get discount by showing them your student card, so a ticket's only around 5. 40€.

The next stage is swapping your shoes for a pair of skates at the counter and wobbling to and from the locker rooms until you have the right size. A little advice- bring some plasters and two pairs of socks to wear on top of each other as the skates tend to give you blisters or even just cut your skin. Trust me, I've been there, and it hurts. With that in mind, think about asking for a size up, so if you're a size 9 get a size 10, because the skates feel smaller when you have a hundred pairs of thick socks on! After this phase, say goodbye to your alternative and original personality, as you'll all be wearing the same navy blue skates, but, you will have fun.

Next, you can make a detour to the lockers to give in your valuables or bulky belongings, but I'd advise keeping a jumper or something warm with you because the ice rink, as its name suggests, is cold cold cold. But, if you really want to be belongings-free, I guess it's not exactly the North Pole. Just really, really similar. Brrr.

To reach your icy destination, you need to walk across some weird black floor that kinda resembles really hard, moist foam. It feels a bit like walking on eggshells, as it's bumpy too. Trust me though, it feels even weirder when you get back on it after skating. Anyway, when you are ready, and there are knots in your stomach, there is indeed only one thing left to do. Get on the ice.

Surrounded by rows of seats and protective barriers, the oval rink is entertaining even if you're just doing the same old thing going round and round and round it. It's fun when you're with friends and with family. When the speakers blast out pop music, it creates a great atmosphere to skate to.

The centre of the rink is normally used by 2 or 3 rather gifted skaters who are training to be figure skaters. And like everywhere you go, you'll find the idiots who know how to skate really fast and are trying to show off by skating really closely to you and stopping at the last second. Pay attention to those guys because they'll probably make you jump and throw you off your balance and you'll end up on the floor. But that's hilarious, right?

After having skated for a while, if you want to take a break, you can sit down on the benches just outside the rink, find a vending machine, or just give in to the bar (when you walk through the entrance, you'll see it on the right hand side of the rink).

Of course, if skating isn't your cup of tea, you can always come watch an ice hockey game! I'd say it was a good idea to check when games are on or not anyway because if you come to skate one night and there's a game on, you're not going to be happy!

It's good to know that there's another ice-rink called Baraban, which is smaller and is open for less time. Also, as I write this, I believe Lyon is building another ice-rink that'll be in the open air on place Bellecour!

Attention: The Charlemagne rink closes in May and does not reopen until October, I think.

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