Rossignol Rollers Festifal posters
Rolling into summer
by Georgina Oliver

You’ve seen them at night on place du Palais-Royal. You see them every day at the Trocadero. Sometimes they almost run you over, racing along Paris' bike lanes at grand prix speeds. They're zee roller champs: helter-skelter skaters à la française. Better believe it... This summer, blades will be big!

Roller Season

The season has kicked off with a mega rolla agenda. First, two events scheduled on the same Sunday: a Roissy-Charles de Gaulle marathon organized by The Conseil Général du Val d'OIse, under the auspices of France's roller skaters federation. And a traffic-stopping Paris-Versailles extravaganza that drew more than 30,000 riders... Then, a blade and bike expo at Espace Champerret. Followed by a 24-hour Le Mans Rollers Festival sponsored by Rossignol. The climax? The final of Europe's Lion Challenge street contest, to be held in Paris next September. (Hotline:

In-line On-line

Urban skating is a lifestyle and everybody's logging into it. Even McDonald's...A recent edition of the fast food chain's free mag, ça se passe comme ça, focused on "rollermania." With, of course, a feature on the sharpest websites: as well as and
Not forgetting, two key randonnées link-ups: and

Randonnées Buzz

Randonnée is the buzzword. The sesame to Paris' skate scene... Generally programed during the weekend, randonnées are the cement of a growing roller-blader camaraderie. Skaters make a bee-line for a given rallying point, then swarm through the capital following a previously announced itinerary. At 10pm on Friday night, the experts zero in on Pari-roller's weekly randonnée, which starts at place d'Italie. At 2pm on Sunday, beginners and branchées families assemble in front of a Bastille boutique that sells, hires and repairs skates. This is where the Rollers & Coquillages randonnée begins. (Nomades, 37, bd Bourdon, 4e, tel:
What both these associations have in common is a determination to keep "rolling for pleasure." Members of their "totally voluntary" staff stress that the only kind of sponsorship they'll accept is "soda or ice cream." The name of a brand will "never, ever" appear on their T-shirts.

Blade Media

Distributed for-free in skate shops and at roller events — in Easywalker pushcarts — RIDEmag is a brand new pocket-sized periodical. Concrete advice. Equipment and randonnées info. As well as streetwear and music features. In the first issue, an interview with the left's candidate for mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoë, who is in favor of installing "skateparks" in the city center.
Also hot off the press, the latest edition of Dakota Edition's practical guide to blade and wheelchair-friendly boulevards and sidewalks, Paris comme sur des roulettes. (49F.)


One up on double vision. Or, triple vision. "Rollervision" is spreading fast. Ads for everything from running shoes (Nike) to ballpoints use serial images to suggest movement, echoing the "stroke energy" of speed-skaters. Or, the repetitive sounds associated with house music...
Faber-Castell's ultra-smooth "roller Basic" pens containing colored ink gel would be perfect to jot down a postcard from a blade and vibes destination, along the lines of those proposed by Peter Stuyvesant Travel, in association with Champs-Elysées skate shop Roller Station. (Contact:

Planet Roller

Apropos, how about a rolla vacation to Cuba? Alternative tour operator Planet Roller's upcoming bladers escapade is a fully-inclusive trip ranging over Havana, Santa Clara and Pinar del Rio. The dates? June 22 to July 4. The price? 9,790F. The URL?

SK8 Style

From Au Vieux Campeur to Roller Passion, or Rollerland... From Le Refuge to Vertical Line... Parigots skaters all have their favorite pit stop. Some prefer a long-established local specialist like Boulogne-Billancourt's Sport West (21, rue des Quatre-Cheminées, tel:
Basically, it depends on what you really, really want... Do you require professional sportswear by La Griffe de l'Effort and Anæli? Or, would you rather shop for urban gear such as Hash-K's, at one-stop store Le Shop (3, rue d'Argout, 2e, tel:
Some people don't even skate. But they still have asphalt jungle attitude... A trend amply expressed in Marithé and François Girbaud's Summer 2000 collection of ergonomic, techno-poetic male-female clothing.

Kryptonics Banner

A vital rolla-ritual? Replacing worn out wheels... If possible at a Kryptonics dealer. The brand's zany, funky banner is a must-have.

Boss City Roller

To every tribe, its CD. Enter: "Boss City Roller." A compilation that surfs from Freestylers to Moby and Mr Oizo.

Rollerparc Avenue

And, if all you want to say is "let's get away for a day," head for Vitry-sur-Seine. "Europe's largest theme park pour le roller ," offers 6,000sqm of indoor and outdoor skating facilities, with circuits for everybody from speed or street buffs to weekend bladers, and budding hockey champs. (Tariffs and times: or

Brit Design

A free Design Council-backed expo of Brit Millennium Products is on show at the Espace Pierre Cardin in the Champs-Elysées gardens, June 10-15. Titled "Le Monde bouge: La Création aussi!," this AbFab overview is a feast of functional yet witty Anglo creativity. (Daily,10am to 7pm, 1, av Gabriel, 8e.)

The Art of Hype

Once taboo, the creative crisscross between fine art and advertising is the subject of "L'Art dans la Pub," a fun didactic display to be seen at the Musée de la Publicité till Sept 10. (107, rue de Rivoli, 1er, tel:

Hechter Store

Guests at the champagne launch of Daniel Hechter's new boutique near the place de la Madeleine ranged from royalty to the Tribal Jam band. This is where to dress for summer in the city. (31, rue Tronchet, 8e.)

Easywalker pushcart

Kriptonics banner

Marithé François Girbaud ad
courtsey of MF Girbaud

Hechter sumerwear
courtesy D.Hechter