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 –

Metro Station of the Month: Palais Royal (lines 1&7)

For once my metro station of the month will not be underground… but on earth as what is remarkable in that metro station is not the platform but the entrance which is my favourite metro entrance in Paris! It is the one of the metro station Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre, located in the first arrondissement of Paris on the Place Colette, near the Louvre and the Comédie Française which is one of the most famous theatres in the world.

This metro entrance has a name: it is called the ‘Kiosque des Noctambules’ and was imagined in 2000 by the French artist Jean Michel Othoniel to celebrate the centenary of the Parisian Metro. It looks like a candy or a jewelry box! Coloured Murano Glass beads are strung on an aluminum structure and build two domes similar to two royal crowns symbolizing the day and the night. The stairs are surrounded by an aluminum lace and the art work continues down the stairs with painted earthenware tiles and two display cases with coloured glass beads.

I like the contrast between this baroque and colourful Metro entrance and the very classical architecture of the buildings all around. It’s a shame that such a creative initiative has not been extended to other Metro entrances! I would have loved it!

Practical information : Website of the RATP

Christine Bokobza – Good Morning Paris B&B –

Metro Station of the Month: Parmentier (line 3)

The metro station Parmentier reopened yesterday after two months of renovation. Let’s discover this gem of the Parisian underground life: it is on metro line 3, in 11th arrondissement of Paris.

The station gets its name from the Avenue Parmentier, so called in 1818 in memory of Antoine Parmentier who died nearby five years earlier. Antoine Parmentier (1737-1813) was a French army pharmacist who is famous for being the one who promoted the nutritional values of potato and introduced its cultivation in France whereas it used to be forbidden due to its supposed toxicity. Anecdotally Parmentier discovered crushed potatoes in Germany where he had been taken prisoner.

The decor of the platforms celebrates potato in all its forms. The screened camber reminds the mesh of the potatoes’ net. Some objects from pre-Colombian America are displayed in glass cases and billboards tell the story of potato from America to Europe and the main uses in France for each variety of potatoes.

And do you know which is THE country for potato? It is Peru, where more than 4,000 different varieties of potatoes can be found!!

Back to earth: One can admire the metro way out with its typical Art Nouveau kiosk made by Hector Guimard. And if you have become a fan of Parmentier keep walking east in the Avenue de la République: you will arrive to the Père Lachaise Cemetery and will be able to put flowers on his grave!

Practical information : Website of the RATP

Christine Bokobza – Good Morning Paris B&B –