Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Paris Metro System

The Paris Metro

Posted by paris | paris | Tuesday 2 February 2010 11:55 am

Many people get hypnotized during a stroll through the French capital because of its beautiful historic symbols, its parks, its delicious gastronomy and its cultural richness. But moving around Paris is like running a marathon as its arrondissements (neighbourhoods) are quite extensive. Luckily there is the metro! If you want to move from the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre or Montmartre to the Seine or the Champs Elysees, you should take subway. With all the time one spends on the Parisian underground, it might be fun to share some stories and opinions about the Métropolitain.


The subway is probably the public space where most people gather daily. It’s estimated that in Paris about 4, 5 million people move around the 14 underground lines. It is the fourth busiest metro of the world after Moscow, Tokyo and Mexico. It has 366 stops and 292 stations, which puts it in second place worldwide behind New York (468 stops and 422 stations).

The most symbolic sign of the Paris metro is on the outside: they are the modernist typical entrances that announce “Métropolitain”, designed by Hector Guimard and there are 86 modernist entrances. But it is inside the subway where most of the stories happen. The Paris Metro is a maze, because you have to climb up and down several stairs and hallways. It’s a real nightmare if you take any luggage! But the music from the Metro musicians does accompany you. Did you know that it was in the passageways of the Parisian metro, where musicians like Ben Harper, Alain Souchon and Renaud were first discovered? Life goes on even in the depths.

Once on the platforms, whose walls are covered with tiles or posters advertising cultural events, you’ll notice a host of smells: some very nasty and others quite delicious. For example, in Châtelet a delicious aroma permeates everything (because of the perfumery that is located in Les Halles shopping centre). It is also said that some stations are like small museums for its original decor themes, such as the Louvre-Rivoli, which keeps copies of works of art, exhibited in lighted niches.

When you are aboard the metro, you can see the walls covered in graffiti and you will pass by many ghost stations. The best known are Haxo (between the lines 3a and 7a), Porte Molitor (lines 9 and 10) and Arsenal in the 5th line. These stations have never been open or were closed or have disappeared because of works or historical events. There is also a closed station to the public because it is used as a cinema or advertising studio (in Amelie, for example). It is the Porte des Lilas station – located between the lines 3a and 7a. One of the many films that have been shot in the Paris Metro is “Subway”, by Luc Besson (1985).

Paris would not be the same without its underground. The Parisian subway is a must if you visit the French capital. For your next stay in Paris, open your eyes even in the dark. For an unforgettable holiday, rent Apartments in Paris.

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