The first subway that I successfully learned to navigate was in Paris. Both the city I was born in, Indianapolis, and spent the majority of the rest of my life in, Los Angeles, do not have great public transportation- let alone an extensive métro system that connects the city so efficiently.
The Paris Métropolitain’s (Métro’s) first line started running in 1900 during the World’s Fair. Currently there are 16 lines, including two minor lines, with each line identified by a number 1-14 (minor lines are named 3bis and 7bis). Viewing a map you will see that each line has its’ own distinct color. The métro system covers 133 miles (214 kilometers) with 303 stations. Most lines run under the city. 62 Lines cross at various spots around town, and sometimes the lines cross with the RER (suburban trains further underground).
During my first trip to Paris my friends and I were lucky enough to have someone occasionally stop to tell us how to go from one spot to another. Standing there in a crowded station staring at the map with a confused look was an obvious sign that we were lost. Years later I usually stopped to help tourists out as well- as they say it’s always good to “pay it forward”.
Wandering around Paris you can see one of the older métro signs.
And you can see one the modern métro signs too. There are many types of metro signs around the city.
And sometimes you can see some incredible painting in the métro station.
And unfortunately sometimes you can see rats! Yikes! You can also see musicians and tons of people on their way to and from work and everywhere in between.
My favorite metro trip is on the #6 line to the Bir-Hakeim Station where you can see the Tour Eiffel from the window. My least favorite station is Chatlet-Les Halles because it is soo big. There are 8 lines that cross here (both RER and Metro) and it is the world’s largest metro station!! It is even crazier going through this station if you are dragging a suitcase, or two, here!
For now as I navigate around Los Angeles I will drive my car across town or down the street. I definitely look forward to my next trip on the métro around Paris visiting our favorite spots in town.
I used Wikipedia Paris Metro for reference in this post.