Ice rink opens in Paris' elegant Grand Palais, for skaters and wannabes

Parisians and tourists can now glide and sway — or stumble — at an ice rink under the vaulted glass dome of the landmark Grand Palais.

The seasonal rink, billed as France's largest of its kind, opened on Thursday for the silver-blade set at the sumptuous exhibition hall just off the famed Champs-Elysees Avenue, a tourist magnet at all times of year.

For Hayley Weston, a visiting 26-year-old from Britain, skating on the 1,800-square-meter (20,000-square-foot) rink under the vaulted glass dome of the Grand Palais was a memorable experience.

"It's the highlight of my week. It's like dancing on ice," she said.

The Grand Palais, built for the 1900 Universal Exhibition, is an architectural masterpiece combining Neoclassical and Art Nouveau styles. It is a standard venue for art exhibits and an unusual site for ice skaters, who can pop afterward into an Edward Hopper retrospective under open until Jan. 28.

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But at least one skater said he was disappointed by the quality of the ice and by the price: €12 ($15.70) for adults, which includes skate rental. The entry fee for children is €6 but free for kids under 3.

"It's the Grand Palais. It's pretty. But I thought it would be bigger," said Janis Ithunime, 18, who came to Paris from the southern suburb of Massy-Palaiseau to ice skate. "For the price, I regret it (the trip)."

The rink is open for night skaters Thursdays through Saturdays until 2 a.m. But the magical venue disappears after Jan. 6.