Monday, 5 December 2011

Sab's Top Ten Magical Paris Metro Signs

POSTED IN:  ~ Places ~ Top 10 ~ Metro ~ Signs

Sab's Top Ten Magical Paris Metro Signs
by Sab Will,  wannabe offbeat Paris street guru

I don't know about you, but for me there's something utterly magical about all those wonderful Paris metro signs, be they the traditional ones we're all familiar with, or the rather more unusual sort we're quite surprised and rather pleased to stumble come across on our cross-city travels.

In fact the variety is far greater than you might expect and their 'form' is far from 'uni'.

I didn't realise that at first though, which is why I rarely paid them much attention; I thought they were all just variations on the good old Hector Guimard Flowy Joey Art Nouveau style. This is not the case.

In this spontaneous series I'll be bringing you ten (or so, I find restrictions so... restricting) of my all time favourite Paris metro signs, classic or otherwise. As I'm writing this introduction with only the first sign below in mind I'd be delighted to have suggestions for the other nine!

It's also a great excuse to have a bit of fun with my cameras, both fancy, and not, the pic directly below being an example of the latter. It's an iPhone shot, played around with afterwards, and the limitations of the camera sure tests the inventivity of the photographer, which is half the fun. I hope you enjoy reading my Top Ten Magical Paris Metro Signs articles as much as I do writing them, and I look forward to reading your comments sometime down the line!

Sab's Top Ten Magical Paris Metro Signs

No.1) "Sentier" ~ Line 3

McDonalds pulled off a massive marketing coup by sneakily merging their famous golden arches (the famous McDonalds' yellow 'M') into the urban landscape where it uncannily resembled the ubiquitous modern yellow Paris metro 'M'.

But not all Paris metros play McBall. At the one we see here, proudly announcing the presence of the...  Read more

No.2) "Bourse" ~ Line 3

Strangely just down the road from my Magical Paris Metro Sign No.1 is another unusual and somewhat remarkable one.

As you know (don't you), most Paris Metro signs are red. Sometimes you get a large yellow 'M' thrown in to keep the new owners of Paris, McDonalds (in partnership with... Read more

Apart from having a legendary set of toilets (oh yeah, that'll be another "Sab's Top Ten", for sure!), Madeleine has three of the cutest metro signs in the whole of Paris.

These unusual and oh-so evocative metro signs tucked away in the corner of Place de la Madeleine in the 8th arrondissement of the city are, for me, at least as charming as the more typical Guimard ones.

That's not to say that they're not art nouveau. Indeed...  Read more

At last, you are probably saying, we arrive at the sort of metro entrance which Paris is rightly famous for. Don't worry, I was never going to exclude the legendary art nouveau metro entrances from my top ten, and here's a prime example.

Designed by Hector Guimard, who was commissioned in 1899 to create the highly visible entrées/sorties for the... Read more

There are few Paris metro station entrances which can match the charm and originality of Vaneau on line 10.

It was constructed in 1923 as part of the first section between Invalides and Croix-Rouge. That's odd, you might be thinking, if you know a little of the Paris metro system.

You see, the line 10 doesn't actually go to Invalides, but carries on in a westerly direction to Duroc... Read more

No.6) "Châtelet" ~ Lines 1, 4, 7 11, 14

At first I didn’t think I was going to cover the big yellow ‘M’ signs you see here in my Top Ten Magical Paris Metro Signs series.

I didn’t consider them particularly magical and the reminded me irresistibly of… but wait, I'm getting ahead of myself. The more I thought about it the more I realised they did have a story to tell.

Of course, you might  have guessed that the big yellow ‘M’, well, isn’t it one of the most incredible coincidences that... Read more

No.7) "Place Monge" ~ Line 7

Number Seven already. Wow! I'm going to have to do some research to make sure I'm not missing any mega-gems before getting to No.10!

Although my Top 10's have this sneaky characteristic that they don't actually stop at ten. He he. They can go on as long as I want. Maybe I'll move some top ten members down the rank from time to time if I find an even more amazing example of the theme in question, but rest assured. As long as I'm finding amazing... Read more

No.8) # Coming Soon

Coming soon...

No.9) # Coming Soon

Coming soon...

No.10) # Coming Soon

Coming soon...



* Sab Will runs Photo and Curios Tours in Paris, and also manages a variety of Paris and photography-themed sites and blogs. He writes an illustrated Paris Chronicle every day, runs a Meetup group for Paris lovers, interviews Paris personalities and reviews Paris books (on this blog), and even contributes to the city's street art (shh), so feel free to browse some of the links below and in the right-hand column to find out more about what he gets up to out there...

© 2011 Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free - Suggestions, questions, requests and offers always welcome!

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