Favorite thing If you are arriving in Paris or leaving Paris by train at the Gare du Nord (this is where the Eurostar arrives in Paris) then there is a convenient left luggage facility at the station. If you are on teh station concourse, face the platforms and the left luggage facility is to your left at the far left edge of the station and downstairs. It looks a bit grim down there but it is secure. Take some time to read the instructions on how to use the lockers before putting your money in. There are also machines giving change in the locker area if you don't have enough coins on you.
Favorite thing 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.
Favorite thing Hi, We have just left Paris after Singapore it was a lot cooler but just as wet.
We arrived by train at Gard du Nord and went to the tourist booth and purchased a 3 day bus, train pass for a few euro. We stayed at St Germain de Pris so it was walking, bus, train distance to a lot of things including the Eiffel Tower which is essential to get a pre paid ticket for and you will still have a queue! With your bus pass you can go to Montmartre and see Sacre Couer where you will get a birds eye view of the city - just get on the bus that says Montmartre on the front
Fondest memory The boat taxi up the Seine to alight at the Eiffel Tower
Favorite thing We booked a shuttle with Paris Shuttle to get from CDG airport to our hotel and back again at the end of the trip. Relatively inexpensive for 2 of us, and made it easier to get to/from hotel with luggage and being tired after a long flight. The driver was close to on-time pickup for the return trip. Would use them again. Booked it through www.parishuttle.com
Favorite thing 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.
Favorite thing 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.
Fondest memory 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.
Favorite thing 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.
Favorite thing 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 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.
Favorite thing 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).
Favorite thing I believe the Los Angeles New Wave band Berlin were referring to Paris in their song "Riding on the Metro." This is a picture of Reuilly-Diderot where I'd transfer to the 1 line to go to the main areas of Paris.
During rush hour (6pm) on any day of the week, you may have to stand a lot and be packed in with people.
You can purchase a 5 day pass at Expedia for about $45 which pays for your bus, RER, and Metro transportation. For all practical purposes, you will spend most of your subway traveling on the metro lines 1-15.
If you purchase a subway pass from Expedia, you will most likely have to go to Gare du Nord Station at the Tourist Information booth to pick up your pass and useful map. I walked from my hotel on Rue de Citeaux all the way to Gare du Nord which took me about an hour and a half.