Friday, 9 September 2011

Sab's Top Ten Magical Paris Metro Signs: No.2 ~ "Bourse"

POSTED IN:  ~ PlacesTop 10 ~ Metro ~ Signs

Sab's Top Ten Magical Paris Metro Signs
 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.2 ~ "Bourse"

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 EuroDisney) happy, for good measure.

But black and white? Oh non, non, non Monsieur. Not in Paris, surely.

But yes, here is it for you to gaze upon in all its monochrome spleandour. The only black and white metro station sign I know of in the city (which is just a challenge for you to tell me that you've found another!).

Do I like it? Well, yes, I do. Both because it is unusual, and because it possesses a sort of sober aesthetic elegance in its restrained colour scheme.

Out with the brash, in-yer-face, gaudy Guimard globes and greenery (I know, I'll be lauding them in a future Top Ten entry, don't hold me to it); in with classic simplicity and clarity, and a touching touch of rust for authenticity.

It's interesting that they've kept the typical chopping up of letters here, as seen on the 'R', 'O', 'P' and 'A', typical of the more recognisable art nouveau versions, with the letter 'A' requiring a particularly inventive piece of metal sculpting in order to give the impression of the little triangular hole in the middle.

Bourse is also surprising for a central Paris station in that it only seems to have one entrance. There aren't that many that exhibit such frugality if I'm not mistaken. I say 'only seems' to protect me from the high possibility that there's another one down a side street that I'm not aware of and so as not to look completely stupid, but this is certainly the (only) one which stood out from where I was standing, and nestles right up to the Paris stock exchange, which gave the station its name.

I don't think much visible trading goes on there these days, since everything's been automated, but it's still a classic Paris landmark with a metro station to prove it, with a jolly nice black and white sign to boot, so there!



* 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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