Our Metro Station of the Month, Liège, is not as central or as easy to reach as the previous ones. Indeed it is located on the metro line 13 which is reputed to be the most crowded and the most irregular metro line in Paris. I recommend you to go there at off peak hours!
Yet Liège is one of the most beautiful and original metro stations in Paris. For several reasons… Firstly it is one of the two Parisian stations whose platforms are not lying opposite one another but one after the other. This happens quite often in the London underground while in Paris only two stations were built in that way: the second one is Commerce, located in 15th arrondissement on metro line 8. Regarding Liège this is due to the narrowness of the street where the station was created.
Secondly the metro station Liège has got for many years limited opening hours. I remember that when I started to run Good Morning Paris I had a B&B very close to that station. Nevertheless I did not mention to my guests the metro station Liège but Place Clichy, which was a little further but always open, while Liège was closed from 8pm and on Sundays! Fortunately this changed in December 2006… further to a demonstration of the inhabitants inside the station.
And above all the station Liège is beautifully decorated with ceramics from Welkenraedt (a Belgian town located in the province of Liège) which show monuments and landscapes of the city of Liège and its surroundings. Those works were added in 1982 to cover the white walls facing the passengers in each half-station. One does not know why the ceramics are in colour on the platform towards south while they are in Blue and White only on the platform towards north. No matters! Each of them (eighteen in total) is remarkable and mention the name of the place represented.
Unusual opening hours, unusual platforms… The metro station Liège is unique and charming with its ceramics and its traditional white, blue and brown glazed tiles, so typical of the Parisian metro.
Back to earth: Do not miss the New Athens area where many painters and writers used to live in the 19th century. It is located only a few minutes walk towards the east and is really peaceful and romantic.
The area of Passy is located in the heart of the 16th arrondissement of Paris along the Seine River between the Trocadéro Gardens and the ‘Maison de la Radio’. It is a peaceful and smart area made charming thanks to its luxurious buildings Belle Epoque or Art Nouveau style, its cobbled alleys, high stairs and great views on the Eiffel Tower.
The Village of Passy was born when a community of monks attracted by the vineyards and the beautiful views on the Seine River settled there in 1493. The famous French writer Honoré de Balzac moved there in 1840 and one can still visit the house where he put the finishing touches to ‘La Comédie Humaine’. In 1860 the Village of Passy was annexed to the City of Paris and it has then been gradually modernized. Most of the beautiful buildings and houses one can see today were built in the early nineties and Passy is now a very chic and sought-after residential area thanks to its luxurious houses with magnificent views on the Eiffel Tower.
The line 14 is the most recent line of the Parisian Metro and the only one to be fully automated. It was inaugurated and put into operation less than twenty years ago, in 1998, which is about a century later than the first lines of the Metro.
This is the reason why the stations on metro line 14 are very different from all the other metro stations in Paris. They are much more spacious and airy and their architecture is based on large volumes offering a lot of space and light.
The platform of the station Gare de Lyon is my favourite. Indeed it offers an unsual view on a tropical garden on the right side of the trains towards Olympiades when they enter the station. This tropical garden is located on the basement of the ‘Maison de la RATP’ at the foot of which the station was built. It is really amazing to see such a green space underground and one wonder for a while whether one is still in the metro.
Another specificity of the station Gare de Lyon is its central platform: It was in fact the only layout possible because of the numerous other rails already existing there when the new metro line was built.
Back to earth: The train station ‘Gare de Lyon’ of course and nearby the Place de la Bastille and the Viaduc des Arts. And if you wish to enjoy more greenery I suggest you a walk on the ‘Promenade plantée‘, which starts from there : See my post about it!