The Métro in Paris opened on 19 July 1900, its first line being from Porte de Vincennes to Porte Maillot (not surprising it is now the line number 1).
Now the system has 199 km (124 miles) of track and 15 lines. There are 368 stations (not including RER stations), 87 of these being interchanges between lines. Every building is within 500 metres of a métro station. There are 3500 cars which transport roughly 6 million people per day. There are 15000 employees of the métro (1989 statistics).
The Museum Pass
Carte musýes et monuments provides free access, without waiting, to the permanent collections of 60 museums and monuments, one of which is the Louvre museum.
It is on sale under the pyramid, in the other museums and monuments concerned, in all main metro stations and at the Paris Tourist Information Office.
1 day : 18 euros
3 days : 36 euros
5 days : 54 euros
Paris Visite is a travel card pass enabling you to use all the public transport services. It is the best way to get around Paris and its region! The Paris Visite pass consists of a travelcard and its ticket. It provides unlimited rides on the transport system of the ýle-de-France region: Metro, RER (express regional trains), bus, tramway, suburban Transilien SNCF trains, funiculaire de Montmartre, Montmartrobus, Noctambus, Optile bus system, within a given fare zone (from 1-3, 1-5 to 1-8).
Popular destinations include: Disneyland Resort Paris (zone 5), Chýteau de Versailles (zone 4), Charles de Gaulle (zone 5) and Orly (zone 4) airports.
Paris Visite comes in 1, 2, 3, or 5 consecutive days versions.
It is good from the first day of use (not from the date of purchase) until the last consecutive day. You may buy Paris Visite in advance and save time avoiding last minute lines.
You also get other freebies and discounts thrown in. Check out http://www.ratp.fr/ParisVisite/Eng/Voy_q/f_travel_pariv.htm
We took the RER train from the CDG airport to Gare du Nord, excellent service, and without a hitch transfered to the underground which took us directly to the Hotel.
Fondest memory: No standing around waiting for public transport, very efficient service. All the stations were litter free, and individually designed.
Unfortunately, there are now only three of Hector Guimards decorative metro entrances standing that have the glass roof left.
This one is at the Abbesses station (line 12) in Montmartre (which also happens to be the deepest metro station in Paris), having been situated originally at Hotel de Ville station. The other two are at Porte Dauphine (line 2) and the Sainte Opportune exit of Chatelet (lines 1, 4, 7, 11, 14 and RER).
There are now only 87 of the original constructions left. The major number being as in the 2nd photo of Reaumur-Sebastopol.
Whilst we are talking metro, the 3rd photo here shows the only metro station I know that has no name on it!!!!! It is in fact the entrance to Monge station in rue de Navarre, about 20 metres from the entrance into the Lutece arena.
The 4th photo shows a Guimard shelter, but this one on the front of the "Mutuelle Generale des Cheminots, the top-up insurance for railway workers. It is at 2/4 place G. Henocque Paris 13th.
I have finally added a photo of the edicule at Porte Dauphine at no. 5 plus a tip of its own.
Walking in the streets of Paris or travelling with the metro you will see for sure some of the 68 remaining and restoredart nouveau metro entrances.
Hector Guimard (1867 - 1942), the best known French Art Nouveau architect, was the designer of these art nouveau entrances. Between 1900 and 1904 in total 141 art nouveau entrances, made of prefabricated cast-iron elements, were built all over the city. Anyway two canopied entrances survived, the one at the Porte Dauphine side of Avenue Foch and the one at the Abbesses metro station in the 18th Arrondisement.
OK... I said earlier that I hadn't dreamt of anything Parisian. Now, I remember I had dreamt of the metro rides. I imagined it... Imagination triggered by the tales, explanations adults gave.
I was expecting the first metro rides. For Tana, my home and birthcity, not having any metro system, I'd never ridden any metro... By the way, except for the flights, these were the first times in my life I used public transportations. In fact, I've never used public transportations in Madagascar, except planes and two taxi-brousse rides in 1986.
Then, it was with excitement that I took those metro rides... In some stations, there were those machines where to find your way. Passengers just had to push on a button with the station they are heading to... then the whole ride (connection included) was on display on an electronic map... I was very interested in pushing the button, kind of kinetic type of person... :)
I also noticed that the metro was not that young. I liked the sound of the door opening. Like a metallic door opening sound the younger & more modern Brussels metro cannot produce.
Fondest memory: For who coming from a country without any underground system, this is something to experience.
In fact, I was impressed. How could a kid imagine being able to circulate below pavement surface ? During some of those rides, I was imagining the worst: that soil would fall on the metro trains.. and that passengers would die suffocating.
Since I've never had similar events occuring, it became obvious that I liked this way of travelling. Nowadays [author's notice: in Brussels since this tip was written while still living in Brussels], metro is my best transportation means in Brussels. Quick, underground, no traffic jam... In Paris, I have to say it, metro stations & corridors stink. Don't know why (well, I know, I saw people peeing in the corridors: bums and non-bums alike)... so do some stations in Brussels but you really have to choose them to experience the smell.
Also, I have a memory of Châtelet station, because there is this long "tapis roulant" there. Very long for me... and fun to "ride". Strange enough, I was not the only kid to like this station.
Some other metro scenes kept engramed in my mind: the sight of clandestine vendors in metro stations. They used to sell flowers, some plastic toys. As soon as when cops got close, I saw all of this vanishing in thin air ... that was impressive.
Me and my two friend went to Midest in 2006"fair in Paris Nord - Parc of the exposition.
We had to use Gard du Nord metro station for going to exhibition centre for 4 days.Going to exhibition centre was ok but while we turning from there we had to find the same door for the shortest way to our hotel the trouble starts.We leaved the station from different 4 doors in 4 days but none of them was the true door.
Fondest memory: Riding in the metro at night with my friends and then looking and laughing at other people can be really cool. A bit stupid, but it was really funny. There are so many different and sometimes weird people... Don’t think you’ve seen it all in Amsterdam, Paris is even better when it comes to crazy people ;-)
The Art Nouveau Marvels of Guimard
Keep an eye open for the beautiful Métro entrances designed by Hector Guimard at the beginning of the 20th century. For a time the Art Nouveau style of these stations was viewed as passé, and many were destroyed in the name of “modernization.” Fortunately, more than 50 survive (often in remote and non-touristy areas).
In 1898, as the Métropolitain was being constructed, a competition was launched for the design of station entrances. Guimard won the competition and construction took place through the turn of the century. When Guimard proposed his design for the Métro entrance in front of the Opéra, it was criticized for not blending with the style of the building. In a huff, Guimard quit his contract and designed no additional stations. This explains the rather unusual classical style of the Opéra Métro station.
Pictured here is the station Palais Royal, next to the Louvre.
For metro fans, a few interesting web pages:
(an amazing page that includes the story behind the name of each Metro station, the history of the Metro, maps, and a link to a route planning guide)
(more on Guimard)
Fondest memory: The vegetal beauty of these stations has been recognized around the world. The National Gallery in Washington DC displays an original Guimard Métro entrance. The Montréal Canada Métro uses an original Guimard station, donated by the Paris RATP (the transportation organization that runs the Métro).
Favorite thing: Réseau Express Régional; similar to the Métro except that it also serves the outlying suburbs and regions of Paris. In the center of the city, the distance between RER stations is more significant than for the Métro; an advantage if you want to go larger distances quickly - even in the center of the city.
Have a look at these beautiful Art nouveau metro entrances created by Hector Guimard (1867 - 1942).
For more information on this architect or his art : http://www.senses-artnouveau.com/biography.php?artist=GUI&Lng=ENG
Favorite thing: Paris is famous for it's avante guard Metro sings. Only a few remain throughout the city anymore, but they offer a great photo opportunity. It's not unsual to see young artists sitting nearby sketching the likeness of one of these structures.
well long write up will try to answer and catch it all. Welcome to Paris the city of lights,you will enjoy it.
La Defense is known for a business area but it has an excellent commercial mall center les quatre vents with many exciting stores and cinema. There are plenty of restos in the Esplanade and parvis de la Defense. From the airport they have one train the RER B ,will have the best option without changes to Chatelet ,(need to read signs as it is a big transport hub there,follow line 1 of metro or RER A any direction passes by La Defense.
to avoid Chatelet, which I always advice visitors to do ,need to change metro lines RER B to gare du nord, then metro line 2 to Charles de Gaulle-etoile and there take line 1 to la Defense Esplanade. a bit longer but less crowds. I used to worked there.
then to my beloved Versailles (used to lived) from La Defense take line 1 to Porte Maillot,then RER C direction Versailles rive gauche station, 5-7 mins walking to castle. From Versailles to the Louvre, you take again the RER C at rive gauche to musée d'Orsay stop and cross the passarelle=bridge over to the louvre.
all if doubts is handy at www.ratp.fr paris transport site.
Berthillon ice is all over ile st louis shops, as well as the official store. try Amorino at place des vosges italian ice cream too. and my American friend Ann at Scoop's Cafe,voted in Paris as one of the best ice cream place by Le Figaro! milkshakes too.
City pass need to figure all the trips you want to do with the individual carnet of 10 tickets plus the extras for the airport trip,Versailles trip, and compare with the paris visite pass
the address at La Defense is tops, you wont have any problems guarantee. Indian food no experience but they are all over Paris. see the site I write reviews has all there www.cityvox.fr/paris
Fondest memory: walking and eating at outdoor terraces. Work in the city for almost 8yrs while lliving in Versailles ::)
This city is the most beautiful city I have ever seen!! But for making things easy one should have enough knowledge of french language.And do get metro map when you arrive in Paris.It is very important beacause travelling in metro is very cheap.You can buy metro pass too.
Fondest memory: When I saw Louvre..then Eifel Tower..and then had enjoyed in Sein river cruise.I felt I have come in the dream city.2 days in Paris were most memorable for me.I wish ,I could visit Paris again and again.
Public transportation works really well in Paris. No use having a car.
To find out how to go from one address to another, check www.ratp.fr
You can even download the public transports map on your handheld.
You can also check for strikes.
Fondest memory: The bus lines 82 and 84 are always a nice ride, if you want to go sight-seeing without being spotted as a tourist.