The Most Beautiful Metro Stations in Paris

by Jessica on February 16, 2009

by Jessica | February 16th, 2009  

Paris is an art lover’s city. But I’m talking here about more than just the impressive collections of art found in the city’s famous museums and galleries. This time, I’m talking about the beautiful Metro stations all over Paris.

Even a casual observer will probably notice that many of the Paris Metro stations look similar – the city is well-known for its art nouveau-styled Metro entrances. But some of the beauty of the stations isn’t on the outside. For some of them, you have to actually buy a transit ticket (still, way cheaper than a museum entry fee) and go underground.

Here are a few of the most beautiful Metro stations in Paris.

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.



photos by dierk schaefer and soumit

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

{ 41 comments }

VN February 16, 2009 at 2:23 pm
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Cool pics – I love the Paris Metro art deco entrances.

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Lanora February 16, 2009 at 8:33 pm
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Great collection of images. Next time I’m in Paris, I’ll be sure to catch some of these I’ve missed, like the beaded metro entrance at Place Colette. The metro is great for zipping around Paris, but it’s good to emerge from the underground once in a while to look around.

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TT February 16, 2009 at 11:34 pm
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if you like beautiful architecture combined with the opportunity for rail travel, then Istanbul’s Haydarpaşa railway station is without equal, also it is on the coast literally you can walk outside and get a sea bus……nice blog!

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Needles February 17, 2009 at 3:54 am
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Wow. Love these photos. Didn’t see enough of Paris while I was there!

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Joe February 17, 2009 at 10:14 pm
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Arts et Métiers is my favorite

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Pat February 19, 2009 at 6:24 am
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Arts et Métiers station is beautiful, but wich is the station you can get beat up by roving muslim gangs in?

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Tom Dunne February 20, 2009 at 9:30 am
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Paris is a dump. It’s metro stations are about as beautiful as your local prison. They’re a haven for scumbags.

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Susie February 20, 2009 at 11:23 pm
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Tom Dunne: Are you writing from your local prison?

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Bella February 21, 2009 at 3:43 pm
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Ahhh, Paris, my home and its Metro is the best in the world. Dependable, clean and efficient. Totally agree with all your pics except the new Franklin Roosevelt station on the line 1 is pretty awesome now too…

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Martin February 22, 2009 at 8:57 am
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whats wrong with Tom..Paris is a stunning city. the metro in places is stunning (as well as efficient and reasonable clean for the volume who use it). Some scumbags can be found at some. though having said that my prison is quite attractive from the outside.

The article did not mention the new line 13 stations which are great or the lacework on a number of stations esp the elevated ones.

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Martin February 22, 2009 at 9:07 am
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oh and Pat…. The threat of being bashed on a metro station by any gang is not high. It does happen but the crime rate in paris is a quarter of the rate in San Francisco and Boston, one fifth of the rate of chicago. It is slightly higher than Londons.

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Rach February 23, 2009 at 1:45 am
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WOW! They don’t know how lucky they are in France. In Melbourne, your underground train network or “the city loop” is drab, with no real style or imagination. I would love to catch the train to this every day!

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Kuertzal February 23, 2009 at 11:52 am
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had a bad experience in paris, but I never caught the train. I really love metro stations, so now I think i should!

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jimbo February 23, 2009 at 6:14 pm
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lovely! wish the London underground were as beautiful. There are some fantastic stations though – check out Kings Cross St Pancras

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YXH February 23, 2009 at 10:30 pm
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I had the opportunity to use the Paris metro. It looks cool on the pics, but in reality it is a loo and a most disgusting place I’ve been. It relly grossed me out. The buildings are nice, but so filthy and stinky it is unbelievable. No more for me.

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Marcos/Brasilia February 26, 2009 at 4:35 pm
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I think if one want to go to Europe just to see metro stations, he or she might to go to Moscow not Paris.

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Dutchie2009 February 26, 2009 at 5:25 pm
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I (we) will nefer visit the Paris Metro again.
It’s unsafe, in the evening it’s a place for pocketlifters and other scumbugs.
Go to Moskow instead. Beautifull and seve!

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Charles February 27, 2009 at 4:42 pm
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The Paris metro looks amazing in pictures, but there are so many other metro systems around the world that I would rather use.

The Paris metro smells like a toilet, and it has to be one of the dirtiest places I’ve ever been. It made me want to gag.

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andrew March 1, 2009 at 6:16 pm
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I agree with marco and dutchie, Moscow’s metro stations are unrivaled in Europe. they are a palace for the people.

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Melanie@TravelsWithTwo March 31, 2009 at 4:54 pm
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It’s been 5 years since I was last in Paris, and this article makes me want to spend the whole month of April there, just riding the subway. (Well, with stops for Champagne, of course.)

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Rachelle Allouche April 3, 2009 at 4:19 pm
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Makes me want to hop a plane to Charles de Gaulle airport. C’est un poste formidable.

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schein May 31, 2009 at 3:10 pm
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les mots à la Concorde ne sont pas ceux de la Constitution Française mais ceux de la Déclaration des Droits de l’Homme de la Révolution Française de 1789….
Thank you

Françoise Schein ,
author of this artwork ( thank you for mentionning my name as well as correcting the text)

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Christine Hardy Leaf August 8, 2009 at 12:58 pm
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I am in a Jules Verne world when at Arts et Metiers Station . I love it so.

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sunil ganu August 8, 2009 at 8:29 pm
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Merci de ce petit joyaux : c’est un aide précieux pour tous les enseignants de français à l’étranger!

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Sue August 8, 2009 at 8:34 pm
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I don’t remember the metro stations being this beautiful. I remember them as very dirty and stinky. I also remember having my passport stolen on the Metro. I also remember 13 other people at the US Embassy obtaining replacement passports and all of us had them stolen on the Metro. Watch out for the dog poop on the streets when you go to Paris.

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Loretta August 9, 2009 at 8:48 am
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I went to Paris twice in 2009, once with a group (college students) and once by myself. I used the Paris Metro – it is the easiest way to get around. Neither time did I or anyone else that was with me have anything stolen. However, if you are not careful (anywhere in the world) you can be taken advantage of… especially if you are distracted and not paying attention to your belongings. Yes, the Metro can smell bad… but I’ve smelled worse in stairways of parking garages here in the U.S.! I rode the Metro right up until Midnight (alone) and first thing in the morning, around 5 AM (alone again)… I did not feel unsafe. I missed some of the stations mentioned in this article, it makes me want to go back just to take it all in again. It is a beautiful city with so much to do… you could stay a few weeks and still not see/do/experience it all. I would go back in a hearbeat because my heart resides in Paris…

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Diane August 12, 2009 at 4:03 pm
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You have all my favs (Concorde, and now I know what the words are! and Art & Metiers…love the copper), but a few I have not seen, like the money! Must return! Nice article :-) Diane

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William Wallace September 6, 2009 at 12:18 pm
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I love it dumb Yanks losing there passports on the metro system, WTF don’t you leave them in the hotel safe instead of walking everywhere with them……..

The Metro sure beats taking a bus……..

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richard September 7, 2009 at 10:28 am
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i have a paris blog ad I do a feature called the metro station of the month. I have featured many of these and other interesting metro stations. check it out at
http://www.ipreferparis.net/mtro_station_of_the_month/

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joel montague September 22, 2009 at 1:20 pm
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Greetings ,
I lived in Paris for 4 years in the 1980s . In those days the Metro was infested with gypsies .. I was witness to two robberies in broad daylight in the Metro by these groups of teen agers in those days . In both cases I pulled the Emergency cord and screamed bloody murder out the train windows as the thieves escaped . Fast forward to Sptember this year . This time they got my wife’s purse . Nothing has changed . A. The public sits in the train sit passively … they know better . We are tourists …. why should they intervene … thats the job of the police .. B. The police say :1. The Gypsies are minors and their hands are tied 2. ” faites attention ” .. in other words its your fault for not being carefull 3. No sign of a single uniformed policeman in a full week of multiple trips on the Metro Each day … at the Police Headquarters they say they do not have enough police to protect the Metro . 4. People still leap over the turnstyles . I sat outside the Franklin Roosevelt Metro for an hour while a older man and his somn were selling bogus tickets to the unwary tourists .. footnote police were in a van 100 yards away . I could have taken photographs easily but had no camera . So could the police who claim they have no ” mug Shots ” … though I got a good luck at our robber . ..
In short . it’s today just the petty thieves ( my advice is do not change money at the Opera .. they are watching ) tomorrow who knows … others with even more sinister ideas will take advantage of the vacuum in the Metro ..

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rbricahrd October 20, 2009 at 5:24 pm
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That looks beautiful. I would love to travel to Paris.

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Paige October 27, 2009 at 12:40 pm
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The Concorde Metro is my favorite! I took at least a dozen pictures here. Can anyone explain the multiple tiles with the numbers on them?

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Roma November 7, 2009 at 10:49 am
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What lovely pictures…The funny thing is that I have been to everyone of these stations and never really see the beauty of them. Maybe because I’m so stressed out when I’m in the city.

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sabrina November 20, 2009 at 1:08 am
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Sorry but I have to agree with William Wallace here. I bet the people who were robbed were all americans…They never leave their country and when they do, they come back with stories like this that ‘assure’ them the States is the safest place in the world. Go to east LA with your passport in your pocket like you do in Paris and let’s see what embassy you’re gonna go to to recover your pants…!

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sabrina November 20, 2009 at 1:15 am
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BTW, Jessica…beautiful article!

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rachel December 9, 2009 at 5:43 pm
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I’m doing a presentation on the art in the Paris metro and was desperate for sources until I came across this article. Thank you so much! (and yes, I did cite it).

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putude December 20, 2009 at 12:36 pm
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The Museum of Money interest me much. I am curious.

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marta January 5, 2010 at 6:07 pm
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i loved the article about paris metro.

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Joe Miller January 19, 2010 at 4:34 pm
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Well done – I lived in Paris years ago – all this art in most metro-stations weren’t there – Good job
Voltarian

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Jeff February 19, 2010 at 9:12 pm
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Very interesting and excellent photos. I would love to visit Paris.

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prince dollar March 25, 2010 at 4:20 pm
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I don’t understand what it is with people, holding on to myths. Paris is a big dump. An utter disappointment. All my life I heard “See Paris and die”. One will die all right. Die of shame. I went the first time to East Paris, Voltaire. Plenty of eatries but virtually all the stations in central Paris were leaking water, and filled with peeling paint. London’s underground is much much better. I thought I made a mistake, so I went a second time, this time to the West. A bit better but not much. The best part of Paris is the far outskirts. The whole place is full of decadent buildings and graffiti right from the airport all the way to the city. I’ve been four or five times. Nothing spectacular except the main areas in the city center. And peope are such hypocrites–the number of proposals going on on top of the Eiffel Tower–it’s as if westerners have been brainwashed that if you don’t propose there, it’s not romantic.

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