Saturday, 10 December 2011

Sab's Top Ten Magical Paris Metro Signs: No.7 ~ "Place Monge"

POSTED IN:  ~ PlacesTop 10 ~ Metro ~ Signs

Sab's Top Ten Magical Paris Metro Signs
No.7 ~ "Place Monge" ~ Introduction
 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.7 ~ "Place Monge"

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 Paris metro stations, I'll be sharing them with you here.

Place Monge. A strange name in fact. There is a place. And it's called Monge. As is the road. But the metro entrance which concerns us here isn't there. It's down the road a bit.

The metro entrance on the actual Place Monge is exceedingly boring, so thank goodness for this piece of Paris art deco magic.

Seemingly insignificant from a distance, the word 'Metro' actually takes up a fair chunk of the wall and lets you look down on the stairwell itself. The truncation 'Metro' is in itself somewhat telling, as it shows in no uncertain terms that even the po-faced officials had finally accepted back in the 1930s that 'Métropolitain' was far too much of a mouthful for most people to swallow.

The entrance is curiously tucked away in a side road on the edge of the Arenès de Lutèce, the old Roman arena used for fun entertainment such as gladiators gladiating and no doubt the odd man versus lion combat.

You can see them still. Now that they've been unearthed and saved for posterity. But I digress.

The juxtaposition of the somewhat stern but still sexy letters with the curvy green ironwork is quite simply eye-candy for the Paris street roamer's gaze.

Much to my regret there was a guy being filmed as I arrived wearing a cow's head (the guy, not me) chasing another guy going past this very same metro entrance, but you win some, you loooze some.

As you can see, I've had a bit of fun photographing this thing, both day (the top four pics) and night (the last one with the reclining gal), and all on my iPhone, so 'scuse the quality, but this series is about the subject more than the pics, well ok, it's about both, as usual, buy my little phone camera has proven its worth once again, as it shudders in its pixels as I consider what to replace it with.

I'm still limping on with pics around 1-2Mb, which is a bit laughable these days, but still, as long as the shots we're looking at are only about 400 pixels across max it's hanging on in there.

Now, I honestly don't have any more truly exceptional Paris metro signs in mind, so if you would be so kind as to tell me of the wonderful ones I'm missing, I'd be much obliged. See you for No.8, if it arrives!



* 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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