I may have said in an earlier post that the only way to see a city is by walking, and it’s still a statement I wish to stand by, but I have to give credit where credit is due, the Metro is a wonderful public transportation system. For a number of reasons. While the map may appear daunting, once you’ve hopped on a train and sped off into the tunnels you’ll have no trouble finding your way, and you’ll see just how easy it is to connect to another line and head from one place to another in a matter of minutes.
As part of our prize package we received a three day travel card for the Metro and RER line that would enable us to travel around the city. On day 2 fellow winner Sarah and I decided to make use of this and headed down underground.
We were going on somewhat of a quirky, self guided tour of the system as I had read that many Metro stations had interesting elements to them, decorations, landmarks, art nouveau entrances etc. We headed down the Number 1 line (which connects to a number of many major tourist attractions) and got out at the Hotel De Ville stop. As we tried to exit we soon found ourselves heading first towards an underground car park, and then immersed in the hardware section of a department store. Eventually we found our way out onto the street and saw the incredibly detailed hotel.
Other stops included Bastille where there are a number of things to see, on Line 1 (which is above ground) there are fresnos celebrating the French Revolution (pictured above), and down below on the Line 5 platform you can see, and touch, the original foundations of the Bastille, which was torn down during aforementioned revolution.
Bonne Neuvelle on Line 8 has signs written like the Hollywood sign, the walls of the Tuileries stop on Line 1 are covered in a massive timeline of pop culture events and Chatelet is a labyrinth with an incredibly long travelator.
At St-Michael and Louvre Rivoli you’ll find the art nouveau entrances that are famous around the world, and at the latter you’ll also find some funky glass benches, and you can see a Mona Lisa, without having to wait in line for hours!
These are a mere few of the stations that we had the chance to see and experience during our whirlwind tour, but there are many more that offer interesting sights as well, so while many Parisians may neglect the fact that these are interesting places to visit, don’t fall for the trap that they’re just there to help you get around. You never know what you might find, especially if you’re looking for something a little different and off the beaten tracks.
Bad pun. Sorry.