Contrary to the heading, you don’t really need a reason to go into the Paris metro. Sometimes I go, just to have a look. And you don’t even need to be going anywhere. There are so many amazingly designed stations across the city – not just their unique underground platforms influenced by the art and history of Paris, but also the entrances. Beautiful early twentieth century, art nouvelle Hector Guimard designed stations are my favourite. All cities have their buskers, but in Paris, the standard is extraordinary. One night when we stepped out to get a bite to eat, we were so mesmerised by a full jazz ensemble inside the metro tunnel that we nearly missed our dinner date.
There is also a lot to be admired in the Paris metro system. Most of the metro runs underground, but there are some lines that run above ground on viaducts. It is one of densest metro systems in the world, with 300 stations on 16 lines covering the 10x10km area of central Paris. The Paris Métro-RER station Châtelet-Les Halles is the largest metro station in the world.
So, just a few reasons to catch the underground Metro in Paris:
- One of the most interesting underground Metro stations in Paris is Arts et Métiers Station (Lines 3 & 11). Redesigned in 1994 in honour of the Arts et Métiers conservatory of Arts and Crafts which is located above the station, it resembles the inside of the submarine, complete with portholes. Go see this amazing copper underground Metro station, even if you don’t have a train to catch.
- Each of the decorative tiles on the walls of Concorde Metro station (Line 12) contain a letter, and together they are the words of the Declaration of the Rights of Man from the French Revolution of 1789 – try to spot the words while you wait for the train to leave.
- The entrance to the Abbesses station (also Line 12), with its art nouveau glass canopy is well worth the visit (you might have seen it in the movie Amelie) – and even the modern graffiti on walls down the stairs to the platform have added to the artistic beauty of this Metro station.
- An art museum in its own right, the Louvre-Rivoli station (Line 12) displays many replicas of the works of art found at the Louvre Museum.
- Varenne station (Line 13) near the Musee Rodin, also acts as an art museum: while you wait on its platform, you’ll find (among other statues) a replica of Rodin’s famous The Thinker.
- For something a little different, check out the Place Colette entrance to the Palais Royal-Musee du Louvre station (Lines 1 and 7)– resigned in 2000, with arches of big glass beads.