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A ticket to ride… Fun facts about the Paris metro

February 23, 2011
Like major cities such as London, Moscow or New York, the Paris metro is key to understand
the city and is a vivid testimony of its history. The first metro line was operated in 1900 just after the inauguration of the Paris World Exposition. At that time, there were two classes; a system only abandoned in 1991.

Today, there are 273 metro stations, served by 16 lines. A recent advertising campaign commissioned by the RATP (Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens) gave some insights on the complexity of the metro:

– 214 km of metro lines

– 21400 arrows indicating exits and connecting lines

– 3M miles of lightning cables

– 3,9M passengers a day

– 23 millions of tiles.

With their Art Nouveau design, metro stations have become part of the Paris landscape, just like the “Colonnes Morris” or the “Fontaines Wallas”. They have evolved over time, some of them undergoing deep face-lifts. If you want to see some remarkable ones, here is a quick list :

Abbesses (line 12) : apart from being the deepest station, the entrance is noteworthy because of its “marquise”

Louvre-Rivoli (line 1) features copies of pieces of art from the nearby museum

Arts et Metiers (line 4) with its copper decorum

Cluny La Sorbonne (line 4) with murals on the ceiling

Palais Royal Musée du Louvre (line 1 or 7): a controversial entrance designed by French artist  Jean-Michel Othoniel

Concorde (lines 1 and 12) : excerpts of the Human Rights Declaration are engraved on the walls

The metro is a real microcosms with its legends . The fact that some stations are closed to the public does nothing but fuel the myth. Most of these stations, called “ghost stations” were shut down at the beginning of World War II (like the “Champs de Mars” station for instance). Some happy few still have access to these stations however…

If you want to know more about the metro, you can join a tour operated by Ademas.

Bon voyage!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Shane permalink
    February 24, 2011 10:42 pm

    I’ll pay more attention to the stations next time I am in Paris!

  2. April 6, 2011 6:47 am

    The Parmentier metro is also art-nouveau and while the inside might not be anything to boast about, the sign at the entrance is always a big hit!

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