Metro Le Louvre, Photographed June, 2009, in Paris.
I thought this picture of Paris Metro
station photographed during an overcast day in Paris would be perfect for an overcast Monday in San Francisco ;)
When I lived in Paris, I used to have a love/hate relationship with the Metro.
I still do, but now with time passed, it's mostly love or is it nostalgia?
Love, because ...
The Metro takes you within walking distance of absolutely everything in Paris for a very small price, and fast. There is a train every few minutes, so just hop on and go. It takes on average 2 minutes to go from one metro station to another. In my opinion, the Metro is the fastest, most efficient transportation within Paris.
When I was younger and lived in Paris, I used to get on the Metro (subway) and get off some place I didn't know just because the name of the station looked pretty good and just walk around for a while, following the Metro line from above, until I was too tired to walk anymore, at which time I'd hop back on the subway and got home... Paris was much safer back then. Don't know if I would still do it today, but back then it was cheap fun and great exercise.
Eeach street, avenue or court has a name in Paris (as opposed to a number or a letter like in the States), and it's impossible to remember them all. Also, the little streets in Paris tend to wind around every which way for the most part (as opposed to the grid architecture seen in the States), so they're not always all that easy to find. So, when someone gives you directions, they will say "at [such or such] Metro station" because everybody can find a metro station.
Hate, because ...
The trip, during peak hours, when people are literally packed like sardines in the cars, is almost unbearable. Because the cars don't always show up when they're supposed to (the line is being worked on, there is a strike, whatever). Because to change line (correspondence) requires you to walk the longest tunnels (several hundred yards) and climb almost that many stairs (clearly the system was never designed for the elderly or the disabled). Because from time to time, you'll see rats cross the rails (ewww!). And finally, let's just say it, the underground *really, really* smells pretty bad.
Still, I can't imagine Paris without the Metro. It would be like a hamburger without a bun. A baseball player without a bat. A car without gas. Or a White House without a President.
The Metro was built in 1900 in Paris, just a few years after the New York subway. While some stations were renovated more recently and look a bit different, there are still many, many Art Nouveau stations like the one on the photograph above, in Paris.
I will update this post with more pictures of the Metro later on.
More information about the Metro at Wikipedia
Labels: Metro, Paris, Typical Paris