diamond geezer

 Monday, April 25, 2005

April in Paris: le Métro
Yes, of course I went on the Metro during my ten hour trip to Paris. I did try to walk around the city as much as possible whenever possible, honest I did, but I'd bought a 1-day Paris Visite ticket from Waterloo before I left so it would have been a shame to waste it. Metro stations seemed to be everywhere in central Paris, although the station name wasn't always obvious from the ornate sign above the entrance. Once inside, however, the signage was always exemplary, the station architecture often elegant, the platforms clean and the train service fast and frequent. On the downside there was a surprising amount of grafitti in the central tunnels, and rather a lot of passengers seemed willing to sneak over, under or through the ticket barriers without paying. I had a bit of trouble at first using the older metro trains, failing in front of a large audience to work out how to open the door (you lift the lever), but I soon got the hang of it. Thankfully the newer trains were fully automatic, including the futuristic service on fully automated Line 14 - Meteor. These trains zipped along at speeds unheard of on the London Underground, blasting out of every station with a rushing noise like a coven of hissing witches, although they only serve eight stations at present. For longer journeys there's also the RER (Réseau Express Régional), slightly shabbier suburban trains which stop less frequently but are still just as efficient. It all makes for a wildly complicated underground transport network, but it's still ten times better than attempting to drive through the lunatic streets above.


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