Monday, June 09, 2008

Getting Around Paris - the Metro

Everyone seemed to enjoy our walking tour of Paris the other day but if you're going to spend more time seeing the sights, you really need to know about the best way to get around the city. It's easy. All you have to remember is to look for the "M".

No, no, no! Not that "M"! Blech. (Although that is a good place to find a toilette!)

This "M"! Which is short for Metro. Which is short for Metropolitain. (Sam and Kyla in the foreground)

Well, actually, along with a good eye for "M", you'll need a couple more things.

A ticket. It will look something like the paper ticket on the right if you buy a one ride or one day ticket. This particular kind of ticket slips inside the back of the Carte Orange, that plastic thing on the left with the oh-so-lovely photo of me. (You can get your very own gorgeous mug shot in a photo booth at any train station in Paris. Have you watched the movie Amelie yet? I keep buggin' you, if you haven't yet, rent it this weekend!) This is a week long ticket, by far the cheapest way to go. Be careful though to buy it for a full, or almost full week. If you buy it midweek, you'll only get until the next Sunday out of it.

And you'll need a map. You can get a tiny one that will slip into a back pocket and has the metro, train, and bus routes all in magnifier needed sized print. Or a larger one like this that fits into a coat pocket is available for tourists, travelers, and oldish people with bad eyes, with a big map of Paris on the backside. As you can see, my map got quite a lot of use.

I've ridden on four metro systems. San Francisco's BART system, New York City's Subway, London's Tube, and the Paris Metro. Paris' underground is my favorite.

The signs vary but after a short while your brain gets used to picking them out of the detail of the city easily. Here's one done in red. There's also another verson that I thought I took a photo of but couldn't find - maybe it'll turn up - that says "Metro" in red.

Ah, here it is - (borrowed this off of a Paris tourist site)

But my favorite are the old art deco Metropolitain signs. Isn't it gorgeous!? Here's one up in Montmarte.

And another in Montparnasse. Even the poles and fences are graceful artwork.

I kept meaning to take photos underground as well, but for some reason never did. I am getting better about it but still haven't completely learned that you always have to snap the photos when you first think about it and never ever let yourself agree with the thoughts in your head that argue "Oh, I'll do it later" or "I'll do it when we come through on our way back" or "Next time, we're in a hurry now" because 95% of the time, you forget or come back another way or it's dark by the time you return. Sigh.

But, even in the dark....

You can find your way home in Paris. Just look for the "M".




Blogger Janet said...

I just went back and looked at more of your Paris photos....they're so beautiful. If I could just snap my fingers and be there I'd do it in an instant but since I don't fly I guess I'll have to be content with viewing other people's adventures.

6:08 AM  
Anonymous KayEllen said...

Oh my!!!! I just love all the Metro Signs...really great!!!



8:48 PM  

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