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View Full Version : Ice Skating in Paris in March



Orianna2000
06-26-2012, 04:59 AM
If you were having a really cold winter, say back in 1880/1881, how realistic is it that someone could safely go ice skating in mid-March at the St. James pond in the Bois de Boulogne?

I really love this scene, but every time I read it, I have visions of the MC falling through the ice and drowning horrifically. Now, I have clearly shown (I think) that they're having a hard, cold winter and that it's unseasonably cold for March. It should, I believe, be safe. Not that I know that much about ice conditions, or the weather in Paris. Regardless, I don't want readers reaching this point and thinking, "OMG, it's March! She's going to die!" That would distract and detract from the romance of the scene.

I considered adding a paragraph where she asks, "Is it safe?" and another character tells her that it's been below freezing since December, and that others have been skating there, so it should be fine. But will that only draw attention to the fact that it might be unsafe? Or will it negate the problem by pointing it out? Like how if something seems unrealistic, you can make it okay by simply acknowledging that it's unrealistic.

I can't shift the time frame, unfortunately. It has to be the second or third week of March. So, how realistic/unrealistic is this scene? Can I make it work or do I need to change it so they're walking through the park instead of ice skating?

Puma
06-26-2012, 05:23 AM
I'm no expert on weather in Paris, but - back in 1960 here in Ohio we had a very bad winter - and ice skated on the frozen creek from just before Christmas well into April. This past winter (un-naturally warm), there wasn't a single day I would have considered completely safe.

Do some Googling and see if you can find some actual weather data for Paris for your years. There's a tremendous amount of stuff like that on line. Puma

Duchessmary
06-26-2012, 05:32 AM
It's hard to know. I visited Paris in early April and it was in the low 60s. :D

Orianna2000
06-26-2012, 07:39 AM
Do some Googling and see if you can find some actual weather data for Paris for your years. There's a tremendous amount of stuff like that on line. Puma
I did a few searches, but the one site that might have held some answers refused to load. Nothing else seemed to be remotely what I was looking for.

Modern graphs show the lows for March being just above freezing, in the mid to upper 30s. But I'm pretty sure that's not cold enough for safe skating. An indoor rink is kept between 40 and 50 degrees, but the ice has to be colder than that to stay frozen, so I'm not sure how that works.

I suppose I need to just really emphasize that this is an unusually cold winter.

Xelebes
06-26-2012, 08:07 AM
Indoor ice rinks have ice plants which chill the concrete base on which the ice is laid upon. The ambient temperature is lowered to reduce the load on the ice plant.

Orianna2000
06-26-2012, 04:19 PM
Indoor ice rinks have ice plants which chill the concrete base on which the ice is laid upon. The ambient temperature is lowered to reduce the load on the ice plant.
Ah, well that explains that. :)

Alessandra Kelley
06-26-2012, 05:08 PM
I found this (http://books.google.com/books?id=y7YEAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA412&lpg=PA412&dq=bois+de+boulogne+saint+james+pond+skating&source=bl&ots=2AtXliDB6y&sig=6zx7t9rw-0pidqAwXWieJ2pppg4&hl=en&sa=X&ei=N7LpT4mlDcji2QWb_JC_CA&ved=0CFIQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=bois%20de%20boulogne%20saint%20james%20pond%20sk ating&f=false) from an Englishwoman's Journal of January 1862:


The severe frost, which this moment brings the mercury down almost to the level that it marks at St. Petersburgh, only develops what appears to us this French tendency to meet care with a merry heart, if our Gallic neighbors can at all be brought to meet it; and the gardens of the Tuileries and the Luxembourg are alive with the most joyous-looking crowds imaginable, including every rank and age, sex and size. The Bois de Boulogne is now well said to be in skates, and more than sixty thousand were to-day on the upper and the lower lake along the Route de St. Cloud. ... giving a greater share to the art of skating and making practical applications thereof on the long shallow pond exposed to the sharpest winds which can blow from a north-easterly point, and adjacent to the Porte Madrid, where the Empress amuses herself during this very frosty weather in a sliding chair.

Orianna2000
06-26-2012, 06:28 PM
I found this (http://books.google.com/books?id=y7YEAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA412&lpg=PA412&dq=bois+de+boulogne+saint+james+pond+skating&source=bl&ots=2AtXliDB6y&sig=6zx7t9rw-0pidqAwXWieJ2pppg4&hl=en&sa=X&ei=N7LpT4mlDcji2QWb_JC_CA&ved=0CFIQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=bois%20de%20boulogne%20saint%20james%20pond%20sk ating&f=false) from an Englishwoman's Journal of January 1862:
Hmm. That seems to imply that skating perhaps only occurs when there's a rare frost. It gave me an idea, though. I Googled "outdoor ice skating Paris" and found a few things. One site says, "Every winter (from middle of December to early March) there is a free outdoor ice skating rink constructed at the Hotel de Ville (City Hall) located in the 4th district." Given that, I don't think it's much of a stretch to say they're having a very cold winter and can skate a week or two later than that.

I also learned that there is an outdoor skating rink up on the first level of the Eiffel Tower! Of course, it wasn't built yet when my novel takes place, but that's still pretty cool.