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Riding the Metro in Paris, France

Musee d'Orsay; Metro Line 12- Solferino

"The restored railway station now is home to some of the world's most treasured art"

"The restored railway station now is home to some of the world's most treasured art"

"Be Sure to Keep your Ticket"

I was finishing up the school year and would be moving on to a new assignment in the fall. I was talking with my administrators and as the meeting was coming to a close, she asked me what I would be doing over the summer. I looked at her with a rather smug smile on my face as I stood up ready to leave and said, "I'm going to Paris, France." She looked at me and made a few remarks about how charming it is and said, "be sure to keep your ticket if you ride the Metro. You will need it. Bon voyage!"

Map of Paris Metro

click on image to enlarge

click on image to enlarge

The first time I rode the Metro a very nice man who was helping my friend renovate his home walked me to the Sceaux metro station and showed me exactly what to do as I had not done it before. He also said, "keep your ticket."  So now it was confirmed. As I walked out to the loading area, I noticed a group of young Americans who were laughing and having a great time. I greeted them and we started talking and they invited me to a picnic that night along the Seine. I already had plans but thought how nice of them! We climbed on board.

It was not like riding the metro in NYC. There was room to sit and people generally don't look at each other. I noticed an older woman who half smiled at me, but it was obligatory on her part because I smiled at her. Parisians do not smile at strangers, so to initiate a half-smile was rather celebratory on my part. It's part of the culture, so don't let it offend you. I noticed the other people not really looking at anything, no expression.

It is the oddest feeling to be looked at and have no idea what they are thinking. There was a young man standing, playing the guitar. It was nice. He sang a beautiful song and then he walked the aisle with a small change bag, so I threw in a coin, not sure what I threw in!

Paris Metro Politeness Manual

A few of the 12 new rules for riding the metro while in Paris~~

Greet the driver~

Don't stare at beautiful women~

Hold the door open for passengers behind you~

Do not play music loudly~

Sneeze into a handkerchief~

Towering Over the City

Montparnasse Tower

Montparnasse Tower

Galeries Lafayette

Gorgeous interior of Galeries Lafayette

Gorgeous interior of Galeries Lafayette

Heart of Paris

Twenty minutes later, I was in the heart of Paris. (It would have taken at least 45 minutes to drive from Sceaux into Paris) I exited the station and waited to meet a French friend. Martine arrived and we were so happy to meet each other and she took me to a delightful crepes cafe named Creperie Plougastel at 47 Rue de Montparnasse. We lunched for a couple of delightful hours. I had a delicious cheese crepe with mushrooms and then a dessert crepe and then the coffee, it is always served last. We had such a wonderful time talking about the similarities and differences in our culture, everything from men to politics. I'll always remember that wonderful afternoon.

She had to return to work so I walked towards the Montparnasse Tower which is a towering building in this quaint arrondissement of Paris. One can take the fastest (38 seconds) elevator in Europe to the 56th floor and see the most amazing view of Paris surrounded by windows. One can then walk up to the 59th floor which is the top of the building and walk around in the open, peaceful court at the tip top.

Galeries Lafayette is a huge department store unlike any I've ever seen in the US. It has a beautiful dome and the building itself is a historical monument. If you like to shop, this must be on your places to visit! It is gorgeous and has everything you could possibly desire, and it's another great place to people watch!

On the ride back to Sceaux, I felt just a little more Parisian and felt completely at ease riding the metro. (Remember to keep your wallet in a front pocket and your handbag tightly closed.) It is a fast, efficient way to travel both in and out of the city and throughout Paris, but don't put away those walking shoes! If you want to truly see Paris, you're going to be walking a lot, and there are metro stations throughout the city and surrounding area for your convenience. Just be sure to keep your ticket as you will need it when you reach your final destination! I have included a link to the very best video I have seen about exactly how to ride the Paris metro, giving clear step by step directions. I highly recommend watching it if you are planning a trip to Paris! Please see below in Paris Metro Information. Enjoy!

If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a

young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your

life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast

— Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961), U.S. author.

— Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) American author

Paris Locations

Bon Voyage!

Paris Metro Sign

Paris Metro Sign


peachy from Home Sweet Home on April 03, 2015:

wow, a nice place to visit if I have the chance to buy the plane ticket!

rebekahELLE (author) from Tampa Bay on June 07, 2013:

Thanks FlourishAnyway. I'm sure you're going to enjoy your trip and will most likely want to hub about your trip to Paris! The metro is so easy to use, and fast. Enjoy the gardens of Giverny! You're going at a great time of the year. Bon voyage!

FlourishAnyway from USA on June 07, 2013:

I needed this information for my upcoming Paris trip! Thanks so much for sharing!

gryphin423 from Florida on February 04, 2012:

I enjoyed your hub, good advice! I love Paris and can't wait to return!

GreenTieCommando from USA on June 11, 2010:

I loved the Paris metro, especially because directions are so easy to follow, even when knowing none of French! It's the station name + the end station name. Plus was it the line number? Both NYC subway and London Underground are so much more confusing!

rebekahELLE (author) from Tampa Bay on June 03, 2010:

thanks truster and shinkicker! an underground adventure sounds rather amazing! have you written about your adventures?? that would be so interesting to read. did you walk through the catacombs? spooky.... :] it certainly is a city like non other that I have visited.

Shinkicker from Scotland on June 03, 2010:

Enjoyed your Hub rebekahElle

I travelled all over Paris underground once trying to get to a campsite. That was an adventure :-)

Great city though

truster from A Bed of Roses on May 03, 2010:

Very interesting!

rebekahELLE (author) from Tampa Bay on December 29, 2009:

It's nice to read your comments from someone who has been there and lived in the culture. It is most certainly different from the American culture. the musee d'orsay was much more than I ever could imagine. it deserves it's own hub. the metro experience was fascinating, as I'm a huge people watcher... studying human behavior anywhere can be entertaining, but it was particularly interesting being my first time in another country. thanks, JM. :]

James Mark from York, England on December 29, 2009:

Hi Rebekah,

The Musée d'Orsay is indeed a worthwhile visit (British understatement). We often find the African and Caribbean French more open on the underground; we've seen them move around to allow folk to sit together. French culture is changing, as is British; I'm of the understatement generation, but the trend has been towards an increasing use of superlatives.

rebekahELLE (author) from Tampa Bay on October 05, 2009:

thank you for the comment. I loved the museums, especially this one, it was so beautiful and the art was incredible. it was certainly a highlight of my trip!

Living In Paris on October 03, 2009:

Hi Rebekah. Your info is very helpful to Paris visitors. Thanks for sharing your stories. The Musee d'Orsay is awesome -- cool pic.

Rebekah on August 21, 2009:

Hi Elvia,

I'm new here also, just today. I read through the basic instructions and just started playing around. I still have a lot to learn.

I visited Paris a few years ago and kept an extensive journal because I wanted to write about it some day.

I found this site today and thought it would be a great way to share my journeys. So I will be writing more. Yes, I'd love to live there one day also!

As they say in France, enchante.


Elvia Francis from Houston, TX on August 21, 2009:

Thanks for this hub.

I'm new to this - any advice/suggestions?

Also, are you traveling/visiting/living in Paris or just hope to one day? I'm just curious.

Paris is a dream to me. I'd love to live there one day because it's the fashion capital of the world! x.

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