petite anglaise

August 30, 2004

crotte wheels

Filed under: city of light — petiteanglaiseparis @ 1:38 pm

I just noticed a sign on the door of my local Monoprix (urban supermarket chain – French version of Woolworths or Walmart) reminding the public that they are not permitted to enter the shop on roller skates.

Personally I wouldn’t dream of doing such a thing*, but you’d be surprised how many Parisians do don rollerblades and all kinds of protective padding and take to the streets. I imagine they think they look cool. *Grudgingly* I suppose some of the more experienced rollerbladers do – as they glide nonchalantly in and out of traffic, hitching a ride on the back of a bus when they fancy a rest. A guy even grabbed the back of the Frog’s Vespa once. The Frog thought at first that it was my weight slowing him down.

Statistically though, you are more likely to see novices wobbling along the pavement who haven’t yet mastered the art of stopping by doing that nifty little semicircular manoeuvre, and desperately trying to come to a halt at a busy road where there is nothing to grab on to but a pedestrian like myself. I have reluctantly saved several lives this way.

While I am touching on the subject of Parisian pavements and their hazards, let me indulge my poo fixation pause for a moment to reflect on how delightful it must be to clean a crotte off those fancy blades with lots of little wheels on.

The most astonishing spectacle is the rollerblading meet which takes place on Friday evenings, assembling up to 15,000 people for a 30km skate through the streets of the capital. I have on several occasions been unable to cross the road for 15 minutes as they cruised past at a leisurely pace. It’s amusing to watch for about a minute, but I strongly advocate a sneaky beer to pass the time if you are nowhere near a metro station.

My (ahem) “research” for this post also yielded the following: if you are located in Nice you too can join Nice Roller Attitude. Another fine example of the French using the English language in a (vain) attempt to sound cool.

*although I did own some rollerboots when I was ten. I thought they were very fetching indeed: in yellow, blue and red suede with yellow wheels and a stopper thingy at the front. Which I needed, because I must confess I couldn’t execute that fancy stopping manoeuvre either.


  1. I tried for a whole month once when I lived in london to be a cool rollerblader. tragic.
    and I know how it feels to de-crotte a set of rollerblade wheels. *gag*

    Comment by vitriolica — September 23, 2004 @ 1:18 pm

  2. I’m old-school: it’s the skates with the stopper in front or nothing! Rollerblades were invented solely so that hockey players could practice without ice (sans glace). Why the general public took to them so is beyond me. I like the solidity of four wheels. And petite, if it makes you feel better, I only half mastered the semi-circle stop, and never remotely mastered skating backwards.

    Comment by Emily — September 23, 2004 @ 1:19 pm

  3. My ankles are too weak for any kind of skating!

    Comment by cass — September 23, 2004 @ 1:19 pm

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