Paris by Métro: One Sight Stops

Waiting for the MetroMy top 10 Métro stops blog series has ended, yet there are some sights that deserve some recognition.  The problem is, there isn’t really anything major to see in the area other than one or two sights.  Today I am featuring those Métro stops.

1. Porte de Clignancourt

  • The Marche aux Puces of Saint Ouen is one of the best flea markets in the world.  Yeah, that is pretty big.  There is a vast range of items and prices.  If you enjoy garage sales or antiques, this place is for you.  The area is a little less safe than some other areas in Paris.  Watch your items carefully.  The first market you will see is not representative of the rest of the markets.  Walk through the first set of white tents to get to the good items.  For great directions, check out this blog.

2. Buttes Chaumont

  • This park is so different from any other park in Paris.  The landscaping drapes over the hilly terrain.  Peaked on the top hill is the temple.  Grand bridges connect areas, as water flows below.  Be prepared to see beauty.

3. La Défense

  • The Esplanade and Grand Arch are a unique view of Paris.  You can easily spend a whole day in this area observing the architecture, shopping, and eating.

4. Château de Vincennes

  • It may sound a bit idiotic, but I had no idea that there was an actual chateau at this métro.  This stop has another sight worth visiting as well: the floral park.  I spent an entire day walking through the gardens and chateau.  I had never heard of either of these sights until I decided to ride the métro to the end line.

5. Porte de Vanves

  • You can probably tell that I enjoy a range of markets.  This flea market is supposed to be a secret gem.  Apparently vendors from the Marche aux Puces of Saint Ouen come here early in the morning to find bargains.  Beat them to the punch by hunting for your own bargains.

6. St. Denis

  • If you enjoy following the royal line, you might be interested in visiting the church that is the final resting place for several kings.  There are a variety of Henry’s and Louis’ to please any enthusiast.

Like what you see here?  These posts have been the stepping stones I’ve needed to start my book.  I am currently working on designing an eBook based on the content shared in the Paris by Métro blog posts.  The posts are condensed, unedited versions for what you will see in the book.  This has been a great place to get feedback and ideas for how to improve my initial idea.  If you are feeling extra generous today and you’d like to offer some tips or suggestions for what you’d like to see, please let me know!  After all, this book is for you.

1. Saint Paul

2. Cité

3. Palais Royal/Musée de Louvre

4. Abbesses

5. École Militaire

6. Saint Sulpice

7. République

8. Opéra

9. Charles de Gaulle -Etoile

10. Place Monge

Paris by Métro: Charles de Gaulle – Étoile

ArcCharles de Gaulle – Étoile at a Glance

Lines: 1, 2, and 6

Arrondissement: 8th/17th

Sights Within 1 Kilometer

East

Champs-Élysées-190m

Thomas Jefferson Home-650m

Ladurée-700m

Parc Monceau-1km

South

Arc de Triomphe-0m

Sight Details

East

Champs-Élysées: There aren’t as many places to visit near this métro stop, but the sights are quintessential Paris.  The Champs-Élysées is an elegant boulevard filled with high end shops and tourists.  Most big cities have a street like this, but somehow the French make it seem a little more elegant.  This boulevard looks especially patriotic near the Bastille Day.  Enjoy window shopping for a Renault or the perfect Louis Vuitton.  My money never leaves my purse, but it is still a spectacle to see.

Thomas Jefferson Home: The patriot’s home was shared with his slave, Sally.  It is believed that he fathered several children with her.  If you enjoy watching movie’s featuring Paris, you may want to see Jefferson in Paris to see Paris during a different time period with one of America’s most famous rebels.

Ladurée: We’ve all heard of the famous French macarons, but this is supposed to be the place to purchase some.  A line is typical, but the passing views of the interior along with a sample of macarons is a good way to introduce yourself to the French dessert.

Parc Monceau: I almost selected a different métro stop to expose visitors to one of my favorite areas in Paris.  Luckily, I was able to include Parc Monceau, but there is so much more to see beyond the 1 kilometer.  If you want to see the scenes of the Impressionists, this is the area you need to visit.  To learn more about this beautiful corner of Paris, view my post about my Paris Walk with the Impressionists.

South

Arc de Triomphe: Arches are popular in Paris, but this is the one you’ve been waiting to see.  It is big and elegant.  The roundabout surrounding the arch is enough to cause anxiety, but fortunately there are underground tunnels to safely transport you to the center.  Visit the tomb of the unknown soldier, and walk around viewing the boulevards that were designed with a military influence.  Think of the history that the arch has seen.  I get chills when I think of Hitler marching into town and occupying the city.  If you’re ready for a climb, go to the top for some of the best views of the city.

 

Am I missing something?  I’m not as familiar with this area of Paris, but if you think that something else should be included, please let me know!

Paris by Métro: Opéra

Opera-House-3Opéra at a Glance

Lines=3, 7, 8

Arrondissement=9th

Tip=This is a big station.

Sights Within 1 Kilometer:

North

Palais Garnier-230m

Roissybus Stop-250m

Boulevard Haussman-350m

Galeries Lafayette-400m

Printemps-550m

East

Bourse-750m

Passage des Panoramas-800m

Passage Jouffroy-800m

Gallopin Brasserie-800m

Galerie Colbert-850m

Galerie Vivienne-900m

South

Palais Royal-1km

West

Fragonard Parfumerie-240m

Place Vendome-450m

Gare Saint-Lazare-750m

Angelina-800m

Madeline Church-1km

Tuileries Garden-1km

Sight Details

North

Palais Garnier: While walking inside, you might forget that you are not at Versailles.  The elegant opera house is decorated with gold leaf and paintings.  Be sure to look up at the Chagall ceiling as you enter the auditorium.  Perhaps you’ll even hear the phantom echo through the walls.

Roissybus Stop: Another option for getting to the airport is the Roissybus.  This is the most affordable option at 10 Euros.  The bus leaves every 15-30 minutes during certain hours.  It is a convenient option as long as you leave plenty early.  This will probably be the only way I get to and from the airport now.

Boulevard Haussman: Haussman is the architect that organized Paris.  Not only are his plans aesthetically pleasing, they are also strategic in terms of military advances.

Galeries Lafayette: Even if you have no intentions of shopping, take 20 minutes to go to the terrace at the very top.  For free, you can take in one of the best scenes of the city.  On clear days, a crisp view of the city will stand before you.

Printemps: The rival to Galeries Lafayette, Printemps is another department store worth visiting.  Check out the cafeteria or take advantage of the sales twice a year.

East

Bourse: If you are in the neighborhood, walk past the 19th century building.  Inside is the hustle and bustle that can only be found at a stock exchange.

Passage des Panoramas: Each passage seems to have its specialty, and the Panoramas passage features many stamp vendors.  No money needs to be spent to enjoy these passages.

Passage Jouffroy: I think this is one of the most photogenic passages.  They all have their own beauty, but I found this passage to be gorgeous.

Gallopin Brasserie: If you enjoy eating in a place with a little history, this lovely brasserie will be a hit.  The menu features traditional French cuisine in a quintessential brasserie setting.

Galerie Colbert: This is not a shopping passage like many in the neighborhood, but an art and history institute instead.  You will need to pass through security to go in, but walking under the rotunda and glass ceilings is worth a peek, especially if it is raining.

Galerie Vivienne: The Galerie Vivienne is probably one of the more extravagant passages.  The stores are high-end and they are encased in a passage full of tile floors and a glass ceiling that gives a sense of a different time.  Passages are found all over the city, and they can be a great refuge from the rain.  If you’d like more information about a great walk in this neighborhood, view this blog post.

South

Palais Royal: Unfortunately you cannot get into the Palais Royal, but you can enjoy the interesting courtyards.  Each courtyard has its own style.  Of course there is the typical garden, but there is also an artsy, playful courtyard with varying heights of black and white striped stumps rising from the ground.  If the weather is not pleasant during your visit, take shelter under the arcades filled with restaurants and shops.

West

Fragonard Parfumerie: Perfume and France go together like wine and cheese.  Visit this free museum to learn more about the perfume-making process.  Discounts are given in the store after taking the walking tour.

Place Vendôme: The square plays an optical allusion on your eyes as you gaze at a rectangular place that appears to be more octagonal.

Gare Saint-Lazare: It is helpful to know about the train stations, but I’m also mentioning this one because of its place in Impressionist art.  Perhaps you’ve wandered museums and seen the billowing smoke fill a train station in Monet’s painting.  Artists like Monet would ask conductors to start the engines and linger a while to let the smoke and steam create the atmosphere for him to paint the scene.

Angelina: The restaurant is best known for its pricey hot chocolate.  I’ve heard it said that the chocolate will take you over and never let you forget it.  Don’t eat a big meal before going because the thick chocolate can be filling.

Madeline: While approaching the church, you may feel like you are looking at a temple.  The church was dedicated to Napolean’s army and is in the style of one of the best preserved Roman Temples found in Nîmes.

Tuileries Gardens: The palace gardens extend from the Louvre.  There are a variety of activities that visitors can participate in on any given day.  During the summer, the carnival is open with the giant Ferris Wheel.  Even finding a reclined green chair near a pond makes for a great energizer.  If you look around, you may even see someone famous sitting next to you at the café.  Gabriel Byrne from Little Women and Stigmata was enjoying a café on our right one day at the park.  If you have a little energy left in you, go to the end where you’ll find l’Orangerie and Place de la Concorde.

Suggested Walks

Paris by Métro: République

republique-1427République at a Glance

Lines=3, 5, 8, 9, 11

Arrondissement=3rd

Tip=There is more than one exit for this metro.  Knowing the street you want to exit on can save you some time and walking.

Sights Within 1 Kilometer:

North

Canal Saint-Martin-450m

Chez Prune-600m

Hôtel du Nord-800m

Pink Flamingo-850m

Jardin Villemin-1km

East

Hôpital Saint-Louis-1km

South

Place de la République-63m

Marché des Enfants Rouge-650m

West

Porte Saint-Martin-650m

10th Arrondissement Passages (Reilhac, Brady, Marche, Prado)-1km

Sight Details

North

Canal Saint-Martin: If you look in most guidebooks, you probably won’t see much mentioned about this area, but it has become one of our favorites.  This is not the area you go to for world-class museums or breath-taking architecture.  The Canal Saint-Martin area is where you go to find trendy restaurants, discount shopping, and people.  Each night in the summer, dozens if not over a hundred people line the canal to enjoy the night.  They bring their snacks and drinks to just take in life.  The ambiance is different than most areas in Paris.

If you visited this area several years ago, you will probably see a difference.  The area has become safer and more friendly.  One area contains diverse cultures while just across the rue you will find the bobos of Paris.  Perhaps it was the scenes in Amélie where she is skipping the stones in the canal that brought attention to the area.  Whatever the reason, be sure to add it to your list of sights to see.

Chez Prune: This is the kind of restaurant you could visit each day and never have to order the same meal.  The menu is created daily to reflect what is fresh.  The prices are reasonable (12-15 Euros) for a generous portion and endless flavor.  Look below to see what kind of meals you could be savoring.

Hôtel du Nord: The name is a little misleading considering that this is no longer a hotel, but is now a restaurant.  There are about four tables out front, but once you pass the doors, you walk into instant charm.  The dimly-lit restaurant is a great place for a nice meal or a relaxing drink.  This was one of our favorite places for a nightcap.

Pink Flamingo: The hipster pizza place was on my list, but unfortunately I never made it over there.  Imagine the summer light in the late evening reflecting off the canal as you sit with your balloon, waiting for your order to arrive.  You’ve probably already opened your bottle of wine as you sit and drink with many others around you.  The delivery man kneels down to give you your pizza and you take it all in as you enjoy your evening by the canal, as so many others do.

Jardin Villemin: Parisians crave green space and this is the living room for families, couples, students, and so many others around the area.  The park is lively with a man playing guitar over by the trees and little ones being chased by their dads.  This is a place to just hang out.

East

Hôpital Saint-Louis: Hopefully you don’t have to visit the hospital on your trip, but it is worthy to know where it is located and the story behind it.  During the 17th century, this hospital was built to deal with many suffering from the plague.  Be thankful for our improved medicine.

South

Place de la République: The place has been recently renovated to provide a space used for many purposes and reduce traffic accidents.  The area now includes not only the statue symbolizing the republic but also a gathering place for people.

Marché des Enfants Rouge: The covered market is supposed to be one of the best in Paris.  Be warned that hours are somewhat flexible.  I went a couple hours after they were supposed to open to find that some were setting up while others were not even present yet.  I recommend coming around lunch time to enjoy the full potential of the market.

West

Porte Saint-Martin: Parisians seem to love their arches.  This arch was built in the 17th century to replace a medieval gate.

10th Arrondissement Passages (Reilhac, Brady, Marche, Prado): I know I’ve mentioned passages before, but these passages are a cultural experience.  While walking with a guide I was told to hold my purse tight.  I felt no danger, but the area is a collection of many ethnicities.  While walking down one passage you may think you’ve been transported to India, while another will take you to Africa.  The scene has a different feel at night, so be sure to go when you are comfortable.

Best of Canal Saint-Martin Walk

Paris by Métro: Saint Sulpice

St. Sulpice in the background.
St. Sulpice in the background.

Saint Sulpice at a Glance

Line=4

Arrondissement=6th

Sights Within 1 Kilometer:

North

Les Deux Magots– 300m

Café de Flore– 300m

Saint Germain des Prés- 350m

Delacroix Museum– 550m

Oscar Wilde’s Hotel- 650m

Seine/Quais- 900m

Pont des Arts- 1km

East

Saint Sulpice– 300m

Man Ray’s Home and Studio- 350m

Musée de Luxembourg-500m

Palais du Luxembourg– 650m

Luxembourg Garden-800m

Original Location of Shakespeare and Company- 700m

Place Saint Michel-1km

South

Gertrude Stein’s Home- 650m

Sight Descriptions:

North

Les Deux Magots/Café Flore: Many tourists visit these restaurants to be surrounded by the same environment of great minds like Hemingway, Picasso, or Morrison.  Food and drinks are pricey, but if you follow some of the literary greats, it almost feels like a requirement to come.  I wouldn’t plan on starting the next new writing movement here because it is crowded, noisy, and distracting.  Perhaps the air is filled with greatness and you will be successful no matter what.

Saint Germain des Prés: The oldest church in Paris can be found on the famous Boulevard Saint Germain.  Here is another example of gothic architecture.

Delacroix Museum: Most of us know the artist Delacroix for his painting Liberty Leading the People.  His home was turned into a museum of his work.

Oscar Wilde’s Hotel: This hotel is where the exiled Wilde passed away.  Perhaps you’ve heard his famous last words, “either this wallpaper goes, or I do.”  Apparently the wallpaper won.

Seine/Quais: Find a good spot on a bridge and watch the ebb and flow of people travel down the river.  The quays along the Seine are perfect for strolling or a picnic.  Life is good watching the world go by on water.

Pont des Arts: This bridge is an outdoor art museum.  Parisians love walking down the busy bridge or bringing a small picnic to enjoy over the Seine.

East

Saint Sulpice: The church gained some of its fame from The Da Vinci Code.  Although the holy grail cannot be found here, bellowing organ music can be heard.

Man Ray’s Home and Studio: If you are a fan of the artist, you may want to walk past Man Ray’s previous residence. This sight is closed to the public.

Musée de Luxembourg: Many paintings found in the Musée d’Orsay were once showcased in the Musée de Luxembourg.  Now the museum features changing exhibits.  Be sure to check the website for current exhibitions.

Palais du Luxembourg: The palace was built for Marie de Medici to remind her of the Pitti Palace in Florence.  Unfortunately, she wasn’t really able to enjoy the palace because her son sent her to exile.  The palace is now the home of the senate and office buildings.

Luxembourg Garden: The gardens flowing out from the palace are one of the many living rooms for the Parisians.  While pacing through the gardens you may come across a group of older men playing pétanque, a little tike riding a pony, children chasing their sailboats on the pond with their sticks, or a fountain revealing danger for two lovers.

Original Location of Shakespeare and Company: There is nothing to suggest that this used to be the famous bookstore frequented by Joyce or Hemingway, but it is the location of the Shakespeare and Company we’ve learned about.  Although the current Shakespeare and Company was never owned by Sylvia Beach, it is still worth checking out.

Place Saint Michel: The fountain has seen some challenging times in Paris history.  From uprisings against the Nazis to student demonstrations in 1968, the cove that forms Place Saint Michel has heard people standing up for what they believe in.  Venture through the streets in the surrounding area to find hidden corners of the Latin Quarter.

South

Gertrude Stein’s Home: If you are lucky, someone will open the door leading to the courtyard as you pass.  If this moment happens, sneak inside to see Stein’s salon.  Imagine the people that walked through these doors to see famous works of art.

Paris by Metro: École Militaire

Rue Cler 2École Militaire at a Glance

Line=8

Arrondissement=7th

Tip=This metro stop involves more walking.  The metro stops seem to be fewer and far between in the 7th.  École Militaire is the most centrally located exit for exploring this area.  Wear your walking shoes if you plan on seeing most of these sights.

Sights Within 1 Kilometer (Well, almost):

North

Rue Cler- 240m

American University of Paris-650m

East

Hôtel des Invalides– 1km

South

Saxe-Breteuil Market-1km

West

École Militaire-500m

American Library of Paris-850m

Champ de Mars-900m*

Eiffel Tower-1.1km

Quai Branly-1.2km

Sights Details:

North

Rue Cler: This gem of a market street is quintessential Paris.  The mostly pedestrian street is full of sights, sounds, and smells to overload your senses.  If you need supplies for a picnic or dinner, this is a great street to get all the goods.  If you’d rather eat out, there are several cafés worth parking yourself at.  Rue Cler may be the best people-watching location.  You will see some tourists, but you will also see the people that live in the neighborhood (and their dogs).  Walking around this area is a treat.

American University of Paris: Although you may be trying to escape America while in Paris, this can be a useful resource if you are looking for a lecture or conference to attend while visiting.

East

Hôtel des Invalides: Under the gold-leafed dome you will find the tomb of Napoleon.  Inside the building you will also find the army museum which mostly covers World War I and II, but you can find exhibits on other military history as well.

South

Saxe-Breutil Market: The market with the Eiffel Tower peaking through is one of my favorites in Paris.  I found the people to be very kind, and the produce to be the definition of fresh.  I found some of the juiciest, sweetest cherries ever at this market.

West

École Militaire: The military school is the kind of place you acknowledge as you pass, but you can’t really visit it.  If you are in Paris on Bastille Day, you may notice some commotion as they all get ready for the parade.

American Library of Paris: If you are interested in used book sales or author visits, you may want to keep the library in the back of your mind.  Check the events calendar before you go if you’re looking for a little literature inspiration.

Champ de Mars: The sprawling greens are the red carpet for the Eiffel Tower.  Typically this area is filled with people.  Some areas are fenced off, so you may not be able to walk on the grass.

Eiffel Tower: You’ve probably heard of this sight before (at least I hope).  Some consider this landmark to be an eyesore.  Personally, I love it.  I don’t love it so much coming up the Champ de Mars or the Trocadero.  There is a side view that captures my favorite perspective.  You can find out how to get there on the map below.

If climbing the Eiffel Tower is on your list, be sure to reserve tickets ahead of time to save yourself from the never-ending lines.  After going to the top, I still think it looks best from the ground.  My favorite moments are when I’m walking around Paris, and all of a sudden the Eiffel Tower peaks through at me.

Quai Branly: Primitive art is the centerpiece for this museum.  Even if you aren’t interested in what can be found inside, the landscaping is worth seeing.  Plants growing up the walls and a garden surrounds the museum.  It is a unique sight in the 7th.

Paris by Métro: Abbesses

Abbesses StopAbbesses at a Glance

Line=12

Arrondissement=18th

Tip=Use the elevator.  There are a lot of stairs.

Sights Within 1 Kilometer:

North

Mural of Je T’aime-52m

Picasso’s Studio-300m

Espace Salvador Dali-400m

Moulin de la Galette-500m

Renoir’s Home-500m

Montmartre Vineyard-600m

Square Suzanne Buisson-600m

Musée de Montmartre-650m

Au Lapin Agile-650m

East

Funicular-400m

Place du Tertre-400m

Sacre Coeur Basilica-550m

West

Van Gogh’s House-450m

Cafe des Deux Moulins-500m

Museum of Erotic Art-600m

Moulin Rouge-650m

Montmartre Cemetery-750m

Sights Details

North

Mural of Je T’aime: If learning how to say “I Love You” in another language is a goal of yours, then this wall is for you.  Most of the worlds languages are represented on this blue-tiled wall.

Picasso’s Studio: The studio burned down in the 70s, but it has been since rebuilt.  Picasso’s studio is named after the bathhouses that would be found on the Seine at the time.

Espace Salvador Dali: The museum mostly recognizes Dali’s sculpture work.  Other artists are featured as well.

Moulin de la Galette: The restaurant is the inspiration for Renoir’s painting title after the name of the place.  Most tourists see the fake wind mill that was added as the restaurant expanded.  Look further back to see the once working wind mill that is now someone’s home.

Renoir’s Home: This is another home that can’t be visited on the inside, but is one you can walk past.

Montmartre Vineyard: The wine is not known to be good, but its location gives it popularity.  You truly feel like you are in a village as you pass the vines on the hill.

Square Suzanne Buisson: The lush park is surrounded by beautiful architecture.  Standing headless in the park is St. Denis.  Nearby is also a bust of the lusty Dalida.

Musée de Montmarte: This is one of my favorite small museums.  The museum is the former residence of Utrillo and Renoir’s studio.  I’ve never seen a crowd.  The garden is a wonderful escape from the city.  The history of the area is well captured.

Au Lapin Agile: This traditional cabaret was the stomping grounds for artists like Renoir, Utrillo, Picasso, and many more.  The performances are in French, but the entertainment feels authentic.  The red-lit room provides a more edgy feel.  Sip on your brandy with cherries as performances keep you entertained.

East

Funicular: Montmartre is built on a hill, and there is an option for bypassing stairs: the funicular.  Simply use a metro ticket to ascend to the butte.

Place du Tertre: The square filled with touristy restaurants and artists is charming and hectic.  It is worth walking through, but you can’t help but feel that everyone is just trying to get your money.

Sacre Coeur Basilica: This church looks much different than others you’ll find in Paris.  Admission is free, but be sure to enjoy your time around the church as well.  Many people settle on the steps in the evening to watch the city before them.

Unfortunately, there have been more scams forming over the years.  As you are coming down from the basilica, make sure you watch out for men that are trying to put on friendship bracelets.  They put it on and knot it before you can react.  Then they demand payment.  Being aware will keep you safe.

West

Van Gogh’s House: This is a site to pass by, unfortunately not one you can visit.  Van Gogh lived here for about two years during a time when his art really transformed.  Influences such as Lautrec helped form Van Gogh’s style we know today.

Café des Deux Moulins: Any Amelié fan will recognize this café.  In the film, she worked as a waitress at this restaurant.

Museum of Erotic Art: I haven’t visited this one, but it gives a feel for the area.  The Pigalle neighborhood is the red light district of Paris.  Shops filled with unique devices and posters of bare ladies dominate the area.

Moulin Rouge: Although the wind mill has never been a functional one, it is one of the most recognized wind mills in the world.  Walk past it while you are in Pigalle, or stop for a show if it is your cup of tea (or absinthe).

Montmartre Cemetery: The residents are not quite as famous as Pére Lachaise cemetery occupants, but there are definitely tombs worth visiting.  Some names you may recognize include: Dalida, Degas, La Goulue (invented the can can), and Zola.

Paris Metro 101

CiteThe Paris Metro is like arteries hidden under the city skin.  These tunnels take you all over the city.  I love rising from the Metro to find unexplored territory, or a grand sight right before me.  Some people may be intimidated by the system, but it really is efficient and much more affordable than a taxi.  I do have to warn you that it is not handicap-friendly.  If stairs or some walking are challenging for you, it may not be the best mode of transportation.  If you are looking for a how-to or some simple tips, read below for more information.

paris vacation 101Getting Ready for the Metro

Finding a Metro is typically easy unless you are away from the city center.  It can be handy to pick up a map that contains city streets and the Metro plan.  Even if you aren’t staying in a hotel, you can probably sneak in to pick one up.  If you are going soon, make sure the Metro map is updated.  They recently expanded some of the lines, so it is important to have an updated map.  You can always download a copy from the website as well.

Once you reach the Metro, you will descend to purchase tickets.  There are some machines that only take cards.  If you have a chipped card, you can use this, otherwise you will need a machine that accepts cash.  Make sure you have bills less than 50 €.

If you plan on using the Metro more than a couple times, I recommend purchasing a carnet.  This is a package deal containing 10 tickets for a little over 13 €.  Some Metro stations have a person working if you need to ask questions, but don’t rely on that.

Your ticket will be good until you pass through an exit.  You do not need a new ticket to change lines or go back if you made a mistake.  You could technically explore all of Paris underground if you wanted to.  Personally, I prefer the view above ground.

How the Metro WorksTurnstile

You’ve got your ticket, and you made it past the turnstile (sometimes this is more challenging than you would think), now what?  This is where having a metro map can be helpful in creating a plan ahead of time.  If you don’t have a map, there are maps posted on the walls.  Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of the metro map, but you can click the map below to be linked so you can follow along.  Let’s do this step by step:

1. Find the Metro stop you are currently in.

2. Find the Metro stop you want to go to.

3. If it is on the same line (color/number), then this will be really easy, but that doesn’t happen very often.  Simply look in the direction you want to go until you find the last stop.  You will use the last stop to help you determine which direction you will go.  For example, if I was at Georges V and I wanted to go to Saint Paul, I would look for the sign that points to Chateau de Vincennes.  Then I would follow the signs until I reach the tunnel where I wait for the train.  Get on, and watch for your stop.

4.  If you need to change lines, don’t fret.  Do be prepared for some walking though.  Some stations are small, while others may have you walking close to a half mile.  Let’s say I’m at my home Metro stop of St. Paul and I want to go to Canal St. Martin.  I look at the map to see how I can make the fewest connections possible.  I notice that I will take line 1 to Chateau de Vincinnes to get on line 5 and exit at Bastille.  Then I will determine what the last station is in the direction I want to go.  I see that it is Bobigny Pablo Picaso, so I follow the signs that point to Bobigny Pablo Picaso.  When the train arrives, I’ll hop on and get off at Republique to make my way to Canal St. Martin.

Want some practice scenarios?  Check these out and look for the answers at the bottom of the post.  Remember, there is more than one way to get where you want to go, but typically we want the most straightforward approach.

Metro Map1. Hotel de Ville to Gare de Lyon

2. Abbesses to Châtlet

3. Opera to Tuilieries

Important Reminders

After going through the turnstile, make sure you put your ticket in a safe place.  I have never been on the Metro when they check your tickets, but I’ve heard from others that they do check.  Hold onto it to verify you paid your way so you won’t be paying more later.

One of the most important points to remember is to watch your valuable items.  The Metro is a mecca for pickpockets because we are easily distracted and the trains can become quite packed.  Try to keep your hand over your purse or pocket with your wallet, or wear a moneybelt.  Zippers and buttons are no match for pickpockets.  To learn other tips, check out my blog post about the topic.

Using the MetroWaiting for the Metro

Now that we have a better idea of how to use the Metro, we will be ready for the first installment of Paris by Metro tomorrow.  The first post will feature the Cité Metro stop and all of the wonderful sights within a kilometer.

 

 

Answer Key

1-Look for Line 1 and take the Metro that goes in the direction of Chateau de Vincennes.  Get off at Gare de Lyon.

2-Look for Line 12 and take the Metro that goes in the direction of Mairie d’Issy.  Get off at Concord.  Find Line 1 and head in the direction of Chateau de Vincennes.  Get off at Châtlet.

–or–

Look for Line 12 and take the Metro that goes in the direction of Mairie d’Issy.  Get off at Madeline.  Find Line 14 and head in the direction of Olypiades.  Get off at Châtlet.

3-Look for Line 7 and take the Metro in the direction of Villejuif-Louis Aragon or Mairie d’Ivry (the line branches off, but this time it doesn’t matter which one you take).  Get off at Palais Royal/Musee de Louvre.  Find Line 1 and head in the direction of La Defense.  Get off at Tuilieries (and enjoy the gardens :).

Coming to a Blog Near You

Cafe Hugo 1While taking up space at the Victor Hugo Cafe in the Place des Vosges square, I came up with an idea for a mini-guidebook series about Paris.  Yes, I realize there are probably more guidebooks available on Paris than the number of people that live in my hometown, but I think there is always room for a unique perspective.

When I think about visiting sights in Paris, I think of the metro.  It is a convenient, mostly reliable, and affordable way to get around the city.  I noticed while planning my itinerary I searched for sights near a specific metro.  What if there was a guidebook that gave you the top 10 metro stops with the best sights within a kilometer from the station?  Sure there are books broken down by arrondissements, but they can be very large.  This would make the best use of your time and metro tickets.

So each Sunday I will be featuring a post about a metro stop with a list of places to see.  Perhaps I can turn this into an ebook once I have it all compiled and properly edited…

Cafe Hugo 3Here are the tentative top ten metro stops I have selected.  Let me know if you have a different suggestion:

1. Saint Paul

2. Cite

3. Palais Royal/Musee de Louvre

4. Abbesses

5. École Militaire

6. Saint Sulpice

7. République

8. Opéra

9. Charles de Gaulle -Etoile

10. Place Monge

P.S. This idea is copyrighted, so don’t steal it :).