” Me? Are you sure you want to invite me? I asked, a little panicked, on the phone. While I’m already not climbing the dizzying attractions of Disneyland Paris, paralyzed by fear of heights, can you imagine the idea of indoor freefall, I was far from done, but I still accepted the invitation of Vico’s brand Monster Munch, which hosted an unusual event this week around the launch of its new range of ”Crazy” tiles. The meeting took place on Tuesday morning at iFLY, Porte de la Villette in Paris.
The largest in Europe
There, at the very end of a new shopping center but abandoned since the Covid crisis, at -1, is a giant transparent tube 14 meters high. The largest in Europe. glow.
“I’ve done it twice already, it’s nothing. I don’t know how to explain the feeling, but it’s completely safe and the instructor never lets go, don’t worry,” one of my aerobatic buddies explained to me before I started running. I’m afraid I’ll get the impression that I’m falling, that my breath is being cut off by the force of the wind tunnel, that I’m climbing too high. “Not at all,” she assures me. “You’ll see, it’s almost disappointing compared to the idea we have of it.” Words not enough to make another of our comrades change his mind: “I know myself, I’m dizzy, I’m not going to make myself sick”. She withdraws. Short term replacement, so we’ll be having sex with seven…and girls only!
180 km/h average
Aurore, our instructor for the day, welcomes us, gives us instructions and equips us: goggles, helmet and blue jumpsuit. We tie our shoes tight, we take off all our jewelry, we put down our smartphones and off we go for two 1.51 minute flights in this tube propelling the air at an average of 180 km/h. “But it depends on the size,” she says. Of course our exploits are filmed by the internal camera.
One by one we take place in an airlock in the form of a tunnel. The blower starts. Very soon we don’t hear each other anymore. She will have to imitate gestures to make herself understood: two fingers in a V shape to stretch her legs, one finger in the air to lift her chin and look straight ahead… And us? Thumbs down to stop if something is wrong. “When you come home, put your hands in the air and you drop, I’ll catch you,” the trainer says with a benevolent smile.
Continue. I go second. The one before me has a smile from ear to ear. It’s my turn. Strangely enough, no sense of emptiness. I breathe well, through my nose, I don’t have to open my mouth. I try to hold my position. 1.51 minutes is short and long at the same time. After falling as hard as I could, I grab the door with my hands to find solid ground…with a little relief. Relief! Even if it’s pretty easy – the activity is open to kids ages 5 and up – one of us won’t make it to the end of his first attempt.
The “fly up”, the most magical moment
In the second I am more relaxed. I can’t wait to go there, ie. Aurore teaches us to turn left or right with our hands, move forward, backward, up or down, depending on the position of our arms, legs or back. The bravest will even do the “fly up”, a small tower in height with it in the tube! Clearly the most magical moment for them.
When we’ve all passed twice and our instructor, accompanied by an accomplice, has given us a high-flying demonstration, we can leave the tunnel. The experience was stunning, in every sense of the word: I have tousled locks sticking out, ‘Mary at all cost’ style, the mark of the glasses on the cheeks as a bonus.
We laugh about it… afterwards
“Remember to drink well during the day, the wind tunnel tends to dry us out,” advises Aurore, who always compliments us during the debriefing. Before you leave, it is possible to watch and buy the video and the photos that immortalize this adventure. Between the in-flight antics and the disfigured faces, we laugh at our bravery when we hadn’t taken off an hour earlier. But little advice from a girl: don’t forget to take a hairbrush to avoid having Cameron Diaz’s hairstyle when you go out!
iFLY Paris indoor skydiving, open Monday to Friday from 9am to 11.30pm and Saturday and Sunday from 8am to 10.30pm, 30 avenue Corentin Cariou, 75019 Paris. From 44.90 euros for both flights.