I've written a few times about places to go rollerblading in Paris on a Sunday. The banks of the river, beside the canal and the Bois de Vincennes are all good options. But what about on a Saturday, when the traffic on the quais mostly has four wheels and is roaring along at 70 km per hour, the shoppers are out at Bastille and no barriers protect the road through the forest park? With limited options, Understanding Frenchman and I decided to give the Coulée Verte a go.
The Coulée Verte follows the route of an unused railway line from Montparnasse in the city centre to Massy in the southern suburbs. We started at Malakoff Plateau de Vanves metro stop but the first few kilometres weren't really rollerbladeable because the surface was made of earth and gravel. The tarmac starts at Châtillon, where the route also starts to get a bit prettier. It's not really a beginner's itinerary: UFM and I are both pretty confident rollerbladers but there were some fairly scary descents where we couldn't see what might be waiting for us around the corner, particularly just after Fontenay, where we made lots of use of the mobilier urbain. There's another steep hill at Robinson, but that one is more manageable because it has more space to brake afterwards.
We stopped just after that, at the edge of the Parc de Sceaux, where there is a magnificent view of the chateau, but we plan to go back and do the rest another day. Judging from what we saw, the rest will hopefully be a bit less hair-raising!