If you have ever been to New York City, you have probably hopped a ride on our subway system at some point in your trip. NYC subways are old, dirty, smelly, crowded and extremely confusing. I never know if I am going uptown or downtown…from what point does up become down and down become up anyway????
So when I went to Paris, I was prepared for the worst when it came to taking to Metropolitain, or Le Metro as its referred to. But, to my surprise, not only are the trains and stations spic and span, they don’t smell, they are actually pretty to look at, and so much less confusing than NYC system.
First of all, instead of going up and down in a grid pattern like in NYC, many of the Paris Metros go diagonally across the city or zig-zag throughout, making it much easier and quicker to get to your final destination.
And talk about easy to spot your train! None of the uptown-downtown stuff! Each line is given a number and a color on the map. Once you determine your route, depending what stop you are leaving from you will have 2 choices for your train. Each train in labeled with the name of the last stop in each direction of the line. For example, Line 4 goes from Porte de Clignacourt to Porte D’Orleans. So if you were getting on at the Cite stop and wanted to get off at the Saint-Sulpice stop, you would get on the train that said Porte D’Orleans because that is the last stop in the direction on that line. Viola! It is that easy. Click here for an up close look.
I remember helping a German tourist who was having trouble in the Metro and after explaining these helpful tips, he asked, "How long have you lived in Paris?" (The ultimate complement) Which I of course responded, "I am just on vacation, this is my first time in Paris." But secretly, the voices in my head said…‘Wow, he thinks I live in Paris’