Eight Interesting Facts about Parisian Metro

Those who follow my blog long enough probably know how obsessed I am with trains in general, and with subways in particular. I strongly bel...

Those who follow my blog long enough probably know how obsessed I am with trains in general, and with subways in particular. I strongly believe that the best way to learn about a new city and its people is to take a subway. And that's without mentioning a direct benefit of using trains to navigate in urban areas. But for cities like Paris, taking a train is a necessity unless you stay within a walking distance from its main attractions downtown. A term "métro" or "métropolitain" which became a synonym for underground urban railways around the world, has originated in Paris from the name of its founding company La Compagnie du chemin de fer métropolitain de Paris.

Parisian Metro provides the densest coverage in the world. Believe it or not, but it's said that no house in all 20 arrondissements of Paris is farther than 500 m / 1650 ft from a metro station.
Although it's convenient to have frequent stations, it also slows the whole commute down. The average speed on most lines is 20 km/h (12 mph).
Unlike London or other cities where building subways was driven by an organic growth of demand, Parisian Metro was a complex and comprehensive project at the very beginning with 9 lines spanning the entire city.
Before the metro was built, the city had a fight with traditional railways over the ownership of the future subway network. To reduce a risk of the Parisian Metro being taken over and integrated into the network of national railways, the builder chose a different track gauge and a smaller tunnel size that could not fit traditional trains.
Paris is one of the oldest subway systems in the world. The first train on line 1 carried its first passengers in 1900. 
Paris "skipped" the era of fuel-powered trains and got electric trains since the inception.
In 1951, Parisian Metro introduced rubber-tyred trains that were adopted in other cities like Montreal, Mexico City and Santiago.
Station kiosks are highly regarded for their Art Nouveau style (also known as "le style Métro") thanks to the work of the architect Hector Guimard. There are two variations: with and without a glass roof.
Many stations visually look very appealing. A few examples: Arts et Metiers (line 11) and Cité (line 4). The former resembles a submarine from Jules Verne’s novel while the latter looks like a huge steel tank.
And last, but not least: to be able to play music in the Parisian Metro, a musician has to formally apply for it, hold auditions and then be selected among others musicians who compete for the same privilege.

My other posts about subway systems:

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