Le Metro

Submitted by admin on Sun, 2011-11-27 00:45

Le Metro

Created by engineer Fulgence Bienvenue the Metro opened during the Paris World Fair on 19 July 1900. Though it was first conceived in 1845, a classic case of ‘conversation’ (read conflict) ensued for Paris: The railroad companies proposed extending the suburban lines to a newly built underground network (using London’s tube as a boilerplate), but Paris wanted nothing to do with the nearby banlieue (‘burbs), instead proposing a fully independent network. Paris won its autonomy from such soiled associations (until 1977 when RER line A debuted), taking care that the Metro trains traveled on the right, in the opposite direction of trains, to prevent a future link-up.

The system boasts 211 km (131 miles) of track and 16 lines, shuttling 3,500 cars on a precise schedule between 380 stations (not including RER stations), 87 of these offering connections between lines. Approximately 5 million passengers ride it per day, and over 15,000 RATP workers run it. The Metro-RER station Chatelet-Les Halles is the world’s largest subway station, according to Wikipedia. 86 of the original Art Nouveau entrances are by the hand of architect Hector Guimard (this station, N-D de Lorette, is not one of them. Photos to come).

Statistics aside, the system is efficient (though slightly noxious in the summer months), often music-filled and many stations are a museum in and of themselves, due to a campaign for themed stations launched by Andre Malraux in 1967.

by Charlotte Louise Ho

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