Metro Station of the Month: Cité (line 4)

The Metro station Cité on line 4 is for sure one of the most surprising metro stations in Paris. It has taken its name from the Ile de la Cité and is the only metro station on the island. The railway tunnel goes under the Seine and the platforms are located under the river: for that reason the station is very deep, more than 20 meters underground!

The depth of the station, its metallic structure, its never-ending stairs and its lighting with elegant globes give it a very special atmosphere one cannot find in any other metro station in Paris: a little strange, almost worrying! But do not be afraid and admire the beautiful architecture. And if you are not in really good shape, you can still take the elevator to get to the way out!

Back to earth: Notre Dame of course! But also the ‘Palais de Justice’, the ‘Sainte Chapelle’ and the lovely flower market. The metro entrance located next to it is the work of Hector Guimard and a beautiful example of the Art Nouveau.

Practical information : Website of the RATP

Christine Bokobza – Good Morning Paris B&B –

Metro Station of the Month: Concorde (line 12)

After Bastille in September my Metro Station of the Month is Concorde, which is also a very busy station where one can take three different metro lines. The platform that is worth seeing is located on metro line 12 (Aubervilliers Front Populaire – Mairie d’Issy): do not take the wrong line!

I have thought that it makes sense to come from the mural painting representing the storming of the Bastille to the ceramic tiles telling the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of 1789 which ornate the walls of the Metro Station Concorde. This work of art was made in 1991 by the Belgian artist Françoise Schein, who is also famous for the design of some other metro stations in the world (in Brussels, in Berlin, in Rio de Janeiro,…) on the same theme of the Human Rights.

I do not mind waiting for a train on that platform as my favourite pastime is to reconstruct the words and the sentences of the Declaration: Indeed each white ceramic tile is decorated with one blue letter and the letters and the words follow each other without any space or punctuation mark! One can let several trains pass before having reconstructed and read the 17 articles!

Back to earth: Do not miss the ‘Place de la Concorde’ of course, which got its name in 1795 to celebrate the national reconciliation after the French revolution (and gave it to the metro station) and is the most majestic square in Paris. And at that time of the year I would recommend three activities in the immediate surroundings: A visit to the Jeu de Paume to see the photography exhibition dedicated to Philippe Halsman; the Ferris Wheel on the Place de la Concorde which offers amazing views on Paris; and of course a night walk on the Champs Elysées to admire the Christmas lights!

Practical information : Website of the RATP

Christine Bokobza – Good Morning Paris B&B –

Metro Station of the Month: Bastille (line 1)

My Metro Station of the Month is Bastille which is a very busy station as it is on three different metro lines: 1, 5 and 8. The remarkable platforms which I suggest that you should see are on line 1 in both directions: Château de Vincennes and La Défense. The easiest way to reach them if you are coming from the outside world and do not want to walk for a long time underground is to use the Metro entrance located on the Boulevard Bourdon. Indeed there are about ten exits in total, located on all sides of the Place de la Bastille and the underground corridors are very long!

The platforms of the Metro Bastille are worth seeing for several reasons. Firstly they are located below the road level but above the Bassin de l’Arsenal and the greater part of them is outside. The eastbound platform, direction Château de Vincennes, offers great views on the boats and quays of the Bassin de l’Arsenal: Not to be missed! Secondly the platforms are curved and even have the sharpest curve used by the subway trains in Paris.

And finally the walls, especially on the westbound platform in the direction of La Défense, are decorated with a beautiful colourful mural painting which represents the various steps of the storming of the Bastille. This work of art was designed and made by two painters of the ‘Ateliers des Carrelages de la Bussière’ in 1989 so as to celebrate the bicentenary of the French Revolution.

Back to earth: Have a look at the Place de la Bastille with its central column and the Paris Opera. From there there is much to do! You can walk westerly towards the Place des Vosges and Marais area, stroll along the Bassin de l’Arsenal in the south, easily reach the Promenade Plantée on the Viaduc des Arts easterly or enjoy the trendy cafés and fashion shops in the streets between the rue de la Roquette and the rue de Charonne in the north-east. The choice is yours!

Practical information : Website of the RATP

Christine Bokobza – Good Morning Paris B&B –