What do you do with public places filled with human traffic and the crowds are often found waiting? No, placing advertisements is not the answer.
We’re referring to train stations. More specifically, these beautiful metro stations all over Paris , which have been splashed with inspiration and creativity. These man-made wonderlands are really something. If the walls don’t grab your attention, the gothic and surreal structures above ground will.
Louvre-Rivoli Station on Metro Line 1
This is one of the many stations that’s been decorated to reflect one of the monuments or attractions that’s served from that station. In this case, there are replicas of many of the works of art found in the Louvre Museum on display in the Louvre-Rivoli station. Unfortunately, when the Louvre Pyramid was built in 1989, direct access from the Metro to the museum moved from this station to the Palais-Royal station. The artwork remains, however.
photos by anindha and Christabelle
Abbesses Station on Metro Line 12
The Abbesses station is one of the few art nouveau stations which still has its glass canopy at the entrance. In fact, it’s one of only two Metro entrances designed by Hector Guimard, who was responsible for the art nouveau stations all over the city. But the other artistic aspect of the Abbesses station is the graffiti-covered walls of the staircase to the platforms below. What probably started as an act of vandalism has become one of the more beautiful features of this Metro station.
photos by stevecadman and Anders B.
Cite Station on Metro Line 4
Not only does the Cité station – the only one on the Île de la Cité – have a beautiful art nouveau entrance, it also has pretty globe lighting along the track itself, reminiscent of old fashioned street lights.
photos by Panoramas and Omar Omar
Concorde Station on Metro Line 12
The walls along the tracks of most Metro stations in Paris are tiled, and many of them are decorative tiles. But the walls of the Concorde station on the platform for line 12 might look like one gigantic word search puzzle. Each tile has a letter, and together they’re the words to the Declaration of the Rights of Man from the French Revolution of 1789. (Thanks for the correction on what the words are, from the “author of the artwork,” Françoise Schein!)
photos by smaedli and Olivier Bruchez
Varenne Station on Metro Line 13
Like the Louvre station, the Varenne station serves an art museum. This time it’s the Rodin Museum, so naturally you’ll find a replica of Rodin’s famous “The Thinker” among other pieces.
photos by AC Lorrain and gabrilu
Porte Dauphine Station on Metro Line 2
The other surviving Guimard-designed art nouveau station in addition to Abbesses is Porte Dauphine, and this one’s even older. It was inaugurated in 1900, as opposed to Abbesses’ birthdate of 1912.
photos by Phil Beard and designwallah
Pont Neuf Station on Metro Line 7
While the Louvre station and Varenne station have local art museums’ wares on display, the Pont Neuf station also gives you a peek at something you might see in a nearby attraction. It’s the Museum of Money, and on parts of the station’s walls and ceiling you’ll find big replica coins.
Saint-Michel Station on Metro Line 4
Saint-Michel, located in the Latin Quarter, is another station with lovely art nouveau entrances.
photos by Phil Beard and carlosfpardo
Palais Royal Station on Metro Line 1 & 7
After looking at so many lovely art nouveau station entrances, you might be getting a little bored. So for something a little different – but no less beautiful – check out the Place Colette entrance to the Palais Royal-Musee du Louvre station. It was redesigned in 2000 with arches of big glass beads.
photos by austinevan and Christian et Cie
Bastille Station on Metro Line 1
The Bastille station pays homage to French history with a nod to the events which took place not far from the station – you can see some of what’s left of the Bastille from the line 5 platforms – with Bastille-inspired artwork on the walls of the line 1 platform.
photos by betta design and theCarol
Arts et Metiers Station on Metro Lines 3 & 11
Prior to 1994, the Arts et Métiers station was nothing notable. But in 1994 it was redesigned in honor of the Conservatory of Arts & Crafts (Arts et Métiers) which is located above the station, and it now resembles the inside of a submarine (complete with portholes). The museum houses many items of historic significance in science, so the artist who redesigned the station took inspiration from Jules Verne’s writing.
photos by pterjan and mimmyg