Paris Métro

Paris Métro
Paris region public transport
Métro lines
Paris m 1 jms.svg Line 1 Paris m 7bis jms.svg Line 7bis
Paris m 2 jms.svg Line 2 Paris m 8 jms.svg Line 8
Paris m 3 jms.svg Line 3 Paris m 9 jms.svg Line 9
Paris m 3bis jms.svg Line 3bis Paris m 10 jms.svg Line 10
Paris m 4 jms.svg Line 4 Paris m 11 jms.svg Line 11
Paris m 5 jms.svg Line 5 Paris m 12 jms.svg Line 12
Paris m 6 jms.svg Line 6 Paris m 13 jms.svg Line 13
Paris m 7 jms.svg Line 7 Paris m 14 jms.svg Line 14
RER lines
Paris rer A jms.svg Line A D Line D
B Line B E Line E
C Line C
Suburban rail (Transilien)
Paris logo banlieu jms.svg Saint-Lazare Paris logo banlieu jms.svg Nord
[T] J L [T] H K
Paris logo banlieu jms.svg La Défense Paris logo banlieu jms.svg Est
[T] U [T] P
Paris logo banlieu jms.svg Montparnasse Paris logo banlieu jms.svg Lyon
[T] N [T] R
Airport shuttles
Paris logo orlyval jms.svg CDGVAL Paris logo orlyval jms.svg Orlyval
Paris logo bus jms.svg Bus (RATP) Paris logo noctilien jms.svg Noctilien
  Bus (Optile)  
Paris tram 1 jms.svg Tramway T1 Paris tram 2 jms.svg Tramway T2
Paris tram 3 jms.svg Tramway T3 Paris tram 4 jms.svg Tramway T4
Montmartre funicular

The Paris Métro or Métropolitain (French: Métro de Paris) is the rapid transit metro system in Paris, France. It has become a symbol of the city, noted for its density within the city limits and its uniform architecture influenced by Art Nouveau. The network's sixteen lines are mostly underground and run to 214 km (133 mi) in length. There are 301 stations (384 stops), of which 62 facilitate transfer to another line.[1]

Paris has one of the densest metro networks in the world, with 245 stations within 86.9 km2 (34 sq mi) of the city of Paris. Lines are numbered 1 to 14, with two minor lines, 3bis and 7bis. The minor lines were originally part of lines 3 and 7 but became independent.

Lines are identified on maps by number and colour. Direction of travel is indicated by the destination terminus.

Paris is the second busiest metro system in Europe, after Moscow.[2] It carries 4.5 million passengers a day, and an annual total of 1.479 billion (2009).[3] Châtelet – Les Halles, with 5 Métro lines and three RER commuter rail lines, is the world's largest underground station.[4]

The first line opened without ceremony on 19 July 1900, during the World Fair (Exposition Universelle). The system expanded quickly until the First World War and the core was complete by the 1920s. Extensions into suburbs (together with Line 11) were built in the 1930s.

The network reached saturation after World War II. The Métro introduced newer trains to allow higher traffic. Further improvements are limited by the design of the network, such as short distances between stations. The solution was a second network, the RER commuter rail, developed from the 1960s.

In the late 1990s, the automated line 14 was built to relieve RER line A.



Line 5's crossing of the Seine on the Austerlitz viaduct

Métro is the abbreviated name of the company which originally operated most of the network: La Compagnie du chemin de fer métropolitain de Paris, shortened to "Le Métropolitain". That was quickly abbreviated to métro, which became a common word also used to designate all subway networks (or any public passenger transportation systems operated on autonomous ways) in France or elsewhere (a genericized trademark).

The Métro today is operated by the Régie autonome des transports parisiens (RATP), a public transport authority that also operates part of the RER network, bus services, light rail lines and many London bus routes. The name métro proved very popular and was adopted in many languages, making it the most used word for a (generally underground) urban transit system. It is also possible that "Compagnie du chemin de fer métropolitain" was copied from the name of London's pioneering underground railway company,[citation needed] the Metropolitan Railway, which had already been in business for almost 40 years prior to the inauguration of Paris's first line.


Since the Métro was built to comprehensively serve the city inside its walls the stations are very close: 548 metres apart on average, ranging down to 424 m on line 4[5] and up to one kilometre on the newer line 14, meaning Paris is heavily pockmarked with stations.[6] In contrast, the surrounding suburbs are only served by later line extensions, thus traffic from one suburb to another must pass through the city. The slow commercial speed effectively prohibits service to the greater Paris area.

The Paris Métro is mostly underground (197 km of 214 km). Surface runs consists of the viaduct sections within Paris (on lines 1, 2, 5 & 6) and the suburban ends of lines 1, 5, 8, and 13. The system's tunnels are relatively close to the surface due to the variable nature of Paris's earth which does not permit deep digging; exceptions include parts of line 12 under the hill of Montmartre and line 2 under Ménilmontant. Instead the tunnels follow the twisting lie of the streets, during construction in 1900 a minimum radius of curvature of 75 metres was imposed, though this low standard was not adhered to at Bastille and Notre-Dame-de-Lorette. Like the New York Subway, and in contrast with the London Underground the Paris Métro mostly uses two-way tunnels. As in most French métro and tramway systems, trains circulate on the right; though the SNCF's run in the opposite direction. The internal gauge of the rails is 1.435 metres, a metro standard. Electricity is supplied by a third rail which carries a constant tension of 750 volts.

The width of the carriages, 2.4 metres across, is relatively narrow (as opposed to 2.9m in Lyon)[7][8] and lines 1, 4 and 14 have capacities between six and seven hundred passengers; against two thousand six hundred on the Altéo MI 2N trains of RER A. In contrast to those of the New York and London metros, all of Paris's lines have the same dimensions. Five Parisian lines (1, 4, 6, 11 and 14) are capable of running on a pneumatic system developed by the RATP in the 1950s; it is not currently employed but was later exported for use on the Métros of Montréal, Santiago and Mexico City.

The number of cars in each train varies line by line from three to six; most have five and eight is possible on the new line 14. Just two lines, 7 and 13, have branches at the end, and trains serve every station on the line except when they are closed for renovations.

Opening hours

The Métro network

The first train leaves the terminus at either end of each line at 5:30 am, although, on some lines, additional trains may also start from an intermediate station. The last train, often called the "balai" (broom) because it sweeps up remaining passengers, arrives at the terminal station at 1:15 am, except on Fridays (since 7 December 2007[9]), Saturdays and on nights before a holiday, when the service ends at 2:15 am.

For New Year's Eve, Fête de la Musique, Nuit Blanche, and other events, some stations of lines 1, 4, 6, 9 and 14 remain open with service all night long.


Fares are sold at kiosks and at automated machines in the station foyer (see hereafter for details). Entrance to platforms is by automated gate, opened by smart cards as well as simple tickets. Gates return tickets for passengers to retain for the duration of the journey. Since there is normally no system to collect or check tickets at the end of the journey, tickets can be demanded for inspection at any point of the journey prior to final exit at the destination station. The exit from all stations is clearly marked as to the point beyond which possession of a ticket is no longer required.

Automated machine at Paris Métro with French, English and German.

The standard ticket is ticket "t+". It is valid for a multi-transfer journey within one and a half hours from the first validation. It can be used on the whole Métro network, on buses, trams and in zone 1 of the RER. The ticket allows unlimited transfers using the same mode of transport (i.e. Métro to Métro, bus to bus and tram to tram), between bus and tram, and between metro and RER zone 1. When transferring between the Metro and the RER, it is necessary to retain one's ticket. The RER requires a valid ticket for entry and exit, even if it is only a transfer. It costs €1.70 or in tens (a carnet) for €12.50.[10]

Other fares now exclusively use the Navigo pass, an RFID-based contactless smart card. Particular fares include:

  • daily (Mobilis; the Ticket Jeunes, for youth under 26 years on weekends and national holidays, comes for half the cost of a Mobilis pass[11]).
  • weekly or monthly (the former Carte orange, nowadays sold as the weekly Navigo ("hebdo"), and the monthly Navigo)
  • yearly (Navigo intégrale, or Imagine R for students)
  • The (Paris Visite) travel card is available for one, two, three or five days, for either zones 1–3 covering the centre of Paris, or zones 1–5 covering the whole of the network including the RER out to the airports, Versailles and Disneyland Paris. It was conceived mainly for visitors to Paris and it is available through RATP's distributors in the UK, Switzerland and Belgium. Interestingly enough if a traveler arrives on or near a Monday and stays for 5 days or more, it may be a better deal to buy a weekly card (up to €10 savings). However, the weekly card always runs from Monday to Monday (and is reset every Monday), irrespective of when it was purchased, whereas the Paris Visite card is valid for the number of days purchased.
Paris old standard carnet ticket "t".

Technical summary


Paris Métro
Locale Paris
Transit type Rapid transit
Number of lines 16
Number of stations 301
Daily ridership 4,500,000
Began operation 19 July 1900
Operator(s) RATP
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) (standard gauge)

The Métro has 213 km (roughly 132 mi) of track and 300 stations (384 stops), 62 connecting between lines.[1] These figures do not include the RER network. The average distance between stations is 562 m (1,845 ft). Trains stop at all stations.[12] Lines do not share tracks, even at interchange (transfer) stations.

Trains average 20 km/h (12.4 mph) with a maximum of 70 km/h (44 mph) on all but the automated, driverless trains of line 14, which average 40 km/h (25 mph)and reach 80 km/h. An average interstation trip takes 58 seconds.[citation needed] Trains travel on the right. The track is standard gauge but the loading gauge is smaller than on the mainline SNCF network. Power is from a lateral third rail, 750 V DC, except on the rubber-tyred lines where the current is from guide bars.

The loading gauge of Paris Metro trains is relatively small compared to those of other metro systems, with capacities between about 560 and 720 passengers per train on Lines 1–14. The minor lines use smaller trains. In comparison, other high-traffic metros use trains that can carry more than 1000 or even 2000 passengers. Unlike the networks in New York, London or Madrid, all lines are the same size in terms of tunnel cross-section. A feature of the Paris metro is the use of rubber-tired subway trains on five lines: this technique developed by RATP in 1950 was exported in some networks (Montreal, Mexico City, Santiago). So the 1, 4, 6, 11 and 14 have special adaptations to accommodate rubber-tyred trains. Trains are composed of 3 to 6 cars depending on the line, the most common being 5 cars (line 14 may have 8 cars in the future), but all trains on the same line have the same number of cars.

The Paris Metro is designed to provide local, point-to-point service in Paris proper and service into the city from some close suburbs. Stations within Paris are very close together to form a grid structure. This structure ensures that every point in the city is conveniently close to a metro station (less than 500 meters), but also keeps the speed of service at a relatively slow 20 km/h (12.4 mph), except on Line 14 where the stations are farther apart and the trains travel faster. The low speed virtually precludes feasible service to farther suburbs, which are instead serviced by the RER.

The Paris metro is mostly underground; surface sections include sections on viaduct in Paris (lines 1, 2, 5 and 6) and at the surface in the suburbs (lines 1, 5, 8 and 13). In most cases both tracks are laid in a single tunnel. Almost all lines follow roads, having been built by the cut-and-cover method near the surface (the earliest by hand). Hence line 1 follows the straight course of the Champs-Elysées and on other lines some stations (for example, Commerce) have platforms that do not align: the street above is too narrow to fit both platforms opposite each other. Furthermore, many lines have very sharp curves. The specifications established by the Paris Metro in 1900 required very low minimum curve radius by railway standards, but even this was often not fully respected, for example near Bastille and Notre Dame de Lorette stations. Parts of the network are built at depth, in particular a section of line 12 passing under Montmartre and all of the line 14.

Lines 7 and 13 have two terminal branches of different directions.

Rolling stock

Typical MP 59 train on line 4. Guide bars, steel tracks and the automatic piloting carpet are visible.

In contrast with many metro systems of Europe,[citation needed] train doors on most lines do not open automatically. It is necessary to lift a lever (on all train series built before 1977) or press a button on the door (later stock). Doors open automatically on the newest trains, on lines 1 and 14 (and increasingly lines 2, 5 and 9). Very high passenger numbers theoretically mean that passenger-operated doors cause inefficient dwell times, although Parisians are usually prompt at opening the doors and the driver enables them just before the train has come to a halt.

The rolling stock has steel-wheel ("MF" for matériel fer) and rubber-tyred trains ("MP", matériel pneu). The different versions of each kind are specified by year of design (not year of first use).

  • Rubber-tyred
    • MP 59: lines 4 and 11 (To be phased out of line 4 once transfer of MP 89 CC from line 1 is complete.)
    • MP 73: line 6
    • MP 89 CA: line 14
    • MP 89 CC: line 1 (To be transferred over to line 4)
    • MP 05: started service on line 1 on 2 November 2011 following complete automation of the line.
  • No longer in service
    • MA 51: in service on lines 10 and 13 until 1994.
    • Sprague-Thomson


Paris Métro lines

Paris Métro lines
Line name Opened Last
Length Average
Journeys made
(per annum)
Paris m 1 jms.svg Line 1 1900 1992 25 16.6 km / 10.3 miles 692 m 213,921,408 La Défense
Château de Vincennes
Paris m 2 jms.svg Line 2 1900 1903 25 12.3 km / 7.7 miles 513 m 95,945,503 Porte Dauphine
Paris m 3 jms.svg Line 3 1904 1971 25 11.7 km / 7.3 miles 488 m 91,655,659 Pont de Levallois
Paris m 3bis jms.svg Line 3bis 1971 1971 4 1.3 km / 0.8 miles 433 m Porte des Lilas
Paris m 4 jms.svg Line 4 1908 1910 26 10.6 km / 6.6 miles 424 m 155,348,608 Porte de Clignancourt
Porte d'Orléans
Paris m 5 jms.svg Line 5 1906 1985 22 14.6 km / 9.1 miles 695 m 92,778,870 Bobigny
Place d'Italie
Paris m 6 jms.svg Line 6 1909 1942 28 13.6 km / 8.5 miles 504 m 104,102,370 Charles de Gaulle - Étoile
Paris m 7 jms.svg Line 7 1910 1987 38 22.4 km / 13.9 miles 605 m 121,341,833 La Courneuve
Mairie d'Ivry
Paris m 7bis jms.svg Line 7bis 1967 1967 8 3.1 km / 1.9 miles 443 m Louis Blanc
Pré Saint-Gervais
Paris m 8 jms.svg Line 8 1913 1974 37 22.1 km / 13.8 miles 614 m 92,041,135 Balard
Paris m 9 jms.svg Line 9 1922 1937 37 19.6 km / 12.2 miles 544 m 119,885,878 Pont de Sèvres
Mairie de Montreuil
Paris m 10 jms.svg Line 10 1923 1981 23 11.7 km / 7.3 miles 532 m 40,411,341 Boulogne
Gare d'Austerlitz
Paris m 11 jms.svg Line 11 1935 1937 13 6.3 km / 3.9 miles 525 m 46,854,797 Châtelet
Mairie des Lilas
Paris m 12 jms.svg Line 12 1910[13] 1934 28 13.9 km / 8.6 miles 515 m 81,409,421 Porte de la Chapelle
Mairie d'Issy
Paris m 13 jms.svg Line 13 1911[13] 2008 32 24.3 km / 15.0 miles 776 m 114,821,166 Châtillon - Montrouge
Les Courtilles
Paris m 14 jms.svg Line 14 1998 2007 9 9 km / 5.6 miles 1,129 m 62,469,502 Saint-Lazare

The additional regional express network: the RER

Paris RER lines
Line name Opened Last
Length Average
Journeys made
(per annum)
Paris rer A jms.svg Line A 1977 1994 46 108.5 km / 67.5 miles 2,411 m 272,800,000
B Line B 1977 1981 47 80.0 km / 49.8 miles 1,739 m 165,100,000
C Line C 1979 2000 84 185.6 km / 115.5 miles 2,184 m 140,000,000
D Line D 1987 1995 59 160.0 km / 99.6 miles 2,807 m 145,000,000
E Line E 1999 2003 21 52.3 km / 32.5 miles 2,615 m 60,000,000


The typical Paris Métro station comprises two central tracks flanked by two 4‑m-wide platforms. About 50 stations, generally current or former line termini, are exceptions; most have three tracks and two platforms (Porte d'Orléans), or two tracks and a central platform (Porte Dauphine). Some stations are single-track, either due to difficult terrain (Saint-Georges), a narrow street above (Liège) or track loops (Église d'Auteuil).

Station length was originally 75 m. This was extended to 90 m on high-traffic lines (1 and 4), with certain stations at 105 m (the difference as yet unused).

In general stations were built near the surface by the cut-and-cover method, and are vaulted. Stations of the former Nord-Sud network (lines 12 and 13) have higher ceilings, due to the former presence of catenary. There are exceptions to the rule of near-surface vaulting:

  • Certain stations particularly close to the surface, generally on line 1 (Champs-Elysées – Clémenceau), have flat metal ceilings.
  • Elevated (above-street) stations, in particular on peripheric lines 2 and 6, are built in brick and covered by platform awnings (line 2) or glass canopies (line 6).
  • Stations on the newest line (14), built at depth, comprise 120 m platforms, high ceilings and double-width platforms. Since the trains on this line are driverless, the stations have platform screen doors.

Several ghost stations on the Paris Métro are no longer served by trains. Haxo, built on an unused section of track, is often used as a backdrop in films.

Interior decoration

Paris Métro train halls are decorated in a style defined at the Métro's opening in 1900. The spirit of this aesthetic has generally been respected in the various renovations since then.

Standard vaulted stations are lined by small white earthenware tiles, chosen because of the poor efficiency of early twentieth century electric lighting. From the outset walls have been used for advertising; posters in early stations are framed by coloured tiles with the name of the original network operator (CMP or Nord Sud). Stations of the former Nord Sud (lines 12 and 13) generally have more meticulous decoration. Station names are usually inscribed in white onto blue metallic plaques (CMP) or in white tiles on a background of blue tiles (Nord Sud).

The first renovations took place after the Second World War, when the installation of fluorescent lighting revealed the poor state of the original tiling. Three main styles of redecoration followed in succession.

  • Between 1948 and 1967 the RATP installed standardised coloured metallic wall casings in 73 stations (École Militaire).
  • From the end of the 1960s a new style was rolled out in around 20 stations, known as Mouton-Duvernet after the first station concerned. The original white tiles were replaced to a height of 2 m with non-bevelled tiles in various shades of orange. Intended to be warm and dynamic, the renovations proved unpopular. The decoration has been undone as part of the "Renouveau du métro" programme.
  • From 1975 certain stations were redecorated in the Motte style, which emphasised original white tiling but brought touches of colour to light fixtures, seating and the walls of connecting tunnels. The subsequent Ouï Dire style features audaciously shaped seats and light housings with complementary multi-coloured uplighting.

A number of stations have original decorations to reflect the cultural significance of their locations. The first to receive this treatment was Louvre – Rivoli on line 1, which contains copies of the masterpieces on display at the museum above. Other notable examples of theme-decorated stations include Bastille (line 1), Saint-Germain-des-Prés (line 4), Cluny – La Sorbonne (line 10) and Arts et Métiers (line 11).

Exterior decoration

The Métro's original art nouveau entrances are iconic symbols of Paris, and 83 survive. Designed by Hector Guimard in a style that caused some surprise and controversy in 1900, there are two main variants:

  • The most elaborate feature glass canopies. Three still exist, at Porte Dauphine, Abbesses, and at the intersection of Rue des Halles and Rue Sainte-Opportune.
  • The rest have a cast-iron balustrade decorated in plant-like motifs, accompanied by a "Métropolitain" sign supported by two orange globes atop ornate cast-iron supports in the form of plant stems.
    • Several of the iconic Guimard entrances have been given to other cities. The only original one on a metro station outside Paris is the one at Square-Victoria station in Montreal, as a monument to the collaboration of RATP engineers. Replicas cast from the original molds have been given to the Lisbon Metro (Picoas station); the Mexico City Metro (Metro Bellas Artes, with a "Metro" sign), offered as a gift in return for a Huichol mural currently displayed at Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre station; and Chicago Metra (Van Buren Street, at South Michigan Avenue and East Van Buren Street, with a "Metra" sign), given in 2001. Also, there is an entrance on display at the Sculpture Garden in Downtown Washington D.C. This does not actually lead to an actual D.C. metro station, it is just for pleasure.

Later stations and redecorations have brought increasingly simple styles to Métro entrances.

  • Classical stone balustrades were chosen for certain early stations in prestigious locations (Franklin D. Roosevelt, République).
  • Simpler metal balustrades accompany a "Métro" sign crowned by a spherical lamp in other early stations (Saint-Placide).
  • Minimalist stainless-steel balustrades (Havre – Caumartin) appeared from the 1970s and signposts with just an "M" have been the norm since the war (Olympiades, opened 2007).

A handful of station entrances have entirely original architecture (Saint-Lazare), and a number are integrated into residential or standalone buildings (Pelleport).


During the initial development of the Paris Métro, the tracks were dug at street level in the open air and covered over later.

Paris and the existing railway companies were already thinking by 1845 about an urban railway system to link inner districts of the city. The railway companies wanted to extend their existing lines to a new underground network, whereas the Parisians favoured a new and independent network. The disagreement lasted from 1856 to 1890. Meanwhile, the population became more dense and traffic congestion grew massively. The deadlock put pressure on the authorities and gave the city the chance to enforce its vision.

Fulgence Bienvenüe project

On 20 April 1896, Paris adopted the Fulgence Bienvenüe project, which was to serve only the city proper of Paris. Many Parisians worried that extending lines to industrial suburbs would reduce the safety of the city. Paris forbade lines to the inner suburbs and, as a guarantee, Métro trains were to run on the right, as opposed to existing suburban lines, which ran on the left.

The first line, Porte MaillotPorte de Vincennes, was inaugurated on 19 July 1900 during the Paris World's Fair. Entrances to stations were designed in art nouveau style by Hector Guimard. Eighty-six of his entrances are still in existence.

Fulgence Bienvenüe's project consisted of 10 lines, which correspond to today's lines 1 to 9. Construction was so intense that by 1920, despite a few changes from schedule, most lines had been completed.

Lines 1 and 4 were conceived as central east-west and central north-south lines. Two circular lines, ligne 2 Nord (line 2 North) and ligne 2 Sud (line 2 South), were also planned but line 2 South was merged with line 5 in 1906.

Line 3 was an additional east-west line to the north of line 1 and line 5 an additional north-south line to the east of line 4. Line 6 would run from Nation to Place d'Italie. Lines 7, 8 and 9 would connect commercial and office districts around the Opéra to residential areas in the north-east and the south-west.

Bienvenüe also planned a circular line, the ligne circulaire intérieure, to connect the six main-line stations. A section opened in 1923 between Invalides and the Boulevard Saint-Germain before the plan was abandoned.

Nord-Sud: the competing network

A Nord-Sud Sprague-Thomson with blue 2nd class and yellow 1st class cars

On 31 January 1904, a second concession was granted to a company called the Société du chemin de fer électrique souterrain Nord-Sud de Paris (Paris North-South underground electrical railway company) and abbreviated to the Nord-Sud (North-South) company. It was responsible for building three proposed lines:

  • line A would join Montmartre to Montparnasse as an additional north-south line to the west of line 4
  • line B would serve the north-west of Paris only by connecting Saint-Lazare station to Porte de Clichy and Porte de Saint-Ouen
  • line C would serve the south-west only by connecting Montparnasse station to Porte de Vanves. The aim was to connect B with C, but CMP bought before: B renamed as 13 and C renamed as 14. Both were connected by RATP being current line 13.

Line A was finally inaugurated on 4 November 1910, after being postponed because of the flood Paris experienced in January of that year. Line B was inaugurated on 26 February 1911. Because of the high construction costs, the construction of line C was postponed. The Nord-Sud company and the C.M.P. company used compatible trains which could be used on both networks. But CMP trains catches current from + 600 volts at the third rail, and NS from the differential between − 600 volts on the aerial and + 600 volts on third rail. This was necessary due the high slope to climb on NS lines. Moreover, the Nord-Sud network distinguished itself from its competitor with the high-quality decoration of its stations, the train's extreme comfort and its pretty lighting.

Nord-Sud did not become profitable and bankruptcy became unavoidable. By the end of 1930, the C.M.P. bought Nord-Sud. Line A became line 12 and line B line 13. Line C was built and renamed line 14, that line was reorganized in 1937 with line 8 and 10. This partial line is now the south part of line 13.

The last Nord-Sud train set was decommissioned on 15 May 1972.[14]

1930–1950: The first inner suburbs are reached

Anatole France station on line 3, inaugurated in 1937 in the inner suburb of Levallois-Perret

Fulgence Bienvenüe's project was nearly completed during the 1920s. Paris planned three new lines and extensions of most lines to the inner suburbs, despite the reluctance of Parisians. Bienvenüe's inner circular line having been abandoned, the already built portion between Duroc and Odéon for the creation of a new east-west line which would become today's line 10 and it would be extended west to Porte de Saint-Cloud and the inner suburbs of Boulogne.

The line C planned by Nord-Sud between Montparnasse station and Porte de Vanves would be built as an initial line 14 (different from present line 14). It would also extend north in encompassing the already built portion between Invalides and Duroc which was initially planned as part of the inner circular.

The over-busy Belleville funicular tramway would be replaced by a new line, line 11, which would be extended to Châtelet. Lines 10, 11 and 14 were thus the three new lines envisaged under this plan.

In addition, most existing lines would be extended to the inner suburbs. The first to leave the city proper was line 9, extended in 1934 to Boulogne-Billancourt; more would follow it in the 1930s. World War II forced authorities to abandon projects such as the extension of lines 4 or 12 to the northern suburbs. By 1949, eight lines had been extended: line 1 to Neuilly and Vincennes, line 3 to Levallois-Perret, line 5 to Pantin, line 7 to Ivry, line 8 to Charenton, line 9 to Boulogne-Billancourt, line 11 to Les Lilas and line 12 to Issy-les-Moulineaux.

World War II had a massive impact on the Métro. Services were limited and many stations closed. The risk of bombing meant the service between Place d'Italie and Étoile was transferred from line 5 to line 6, so that most of the elevated portions of the Métro would be on a single line: line 6. As a result, lines 2 and 6 together now form a circle.

It took a long time to recover after liberation in 1944. Many stations had not reopened by the 1960s and some closed for good. On 23 March 1948, the C.M.P (the underground) and the STCRP (bus and tramways) merged to form the RATP, which still operates the Métro.

1960–1990: the development of the RER

Charles de Gaulle – Étoile station on the RER A, inaugurated in 1970

The network grew saturated during the 1950s. Outdated technology limited the number of trains. That led the RATP to stop extending lines and to concentrate instead on modernisation. The MP 51 prototype was built, testing both rubber-tyred metro and basic automatic piloting on the voie navette. The first replacements of the older Sprague trains began with experimental articulated train units and then with mainstream rubber-tyred metro MP 55 and MP 59, some of the latter are still in service today (line 4 and 11). Thanks to newer trains and better signalling, trains ran more frequently.

The population of Paris boomed from 1950 to 1980. Cars became more popular and suburbs grew further from the city. Paris' main railway stations, ere the termini of the suburban rail lines, were overcrowded during rush hour. The short distance between metro stations slowed the network and made it unprofitable to build extensions.

The solution in the 1960s was to revive a project abandoned at the end of the 19th century: joining suburban lines to new underground portions in the city centre. The system would be known as the réseau express régional (regional express network) (RER).

Metro escalators

The RER plan initially included one east-west line and two north-south lines. RATP bought two unprofitable SNCF lines—the Ligne de Saint-Germain (westbound) and the Ligne de Vincennes (eastbound) with the intention of joining them and to serve multiple districts of central Paris with new underground stations. The new line created by this merger became line A. The Ligne de Sceaux, which served the southern suburbs and was bought by the CMP in the 1930s, would be extended north to merge with a line of the SNCF and reach the new Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport in Roissy. This became line B. These new lines were inaugurated in 1977 and their wild success outperformed all the most optimistic forecasts to the extent that line A is the most used urban rail line in the world with nearly 300 million journeys a year.

Because of the enormous cost of these two lines, the third planned line was abandoned and the French authorities decided that later developments of the RER network would be more cheaply developed by the SNCF company, alongside its continued management of other suburban lines. However, the RER developed by the SNCF company would never match the success of the RATP's two RER lines. In 1979, SNCF developed line C in joining the suburban lines of Gare d'Austerlitz and Gare d'Orsay, the latter being converted into a museum dedicated to impressionist paintings. During the 1980s, it would also develop line D, which was the second line planned by the initial RER schedule, but would serve Châtelet instead of République to reduce costs. A huge Métro-RER hub was created at the Châtelet-Les Halles station, the world's largest underground station.[citation needed]

The same project of the 1960s also decided to merge lines 13 and 14 to create a quick connection between Saint-Lazare and Montparnasse thanks to a new full north-south line. Distances between stations on the lengthened line 13 differ from that on other lines in order to make it more "express" and hence to extend it farther in the suburbs. The new Line 13 was inaugurated on 9 November 1976.

1990–2010: Eole and Météor

Châtelet station on line 14, inaugurated in 1998

In October 1998, Line 14 was inaugurated. It was the first fully new Métro (not RER) line in 63 years. The project, which was known during its conception as Météor (Métro Est-Ouest Rapide), is still the only fully automatic line within the network. It was also the first to feature platform screen doors to prevent suicides and accidents.

It was conceived with extensions to the suburbs in mind, similar to the extensions of the line 13 built during the 1970s. As a result, most of the stations are at least a kilometre apart. Like the RER lines designed by the RATP, nearly all stations of line 14 offer connections with multiple Métro lines. The line currently runs between Saint-Lazare and Olympiades. Lines 7 and 13 are the only two on the network to be split in branches. The RATP would like to get rid of those saturated branches in order to improve the network's efficiency. As such, a project consists in attributing to the line 14 one branch of each line, and to extend them further into the suburbs. This project has not yet been approved.

In 1999, the RER line E was inaugurated as the latest extension of the network. Known during its conception as Eole (Est-Ouest Liaison Express), it is the fifth RER line serving Paris. Currently, the RER E terminates at Haussmann – Saint-Lazare, but a new project, financed by EPAD, the public authority managing the La Défense business district, should extend the line west into La Défense – Grande Arche and the suburbs beyond.

Under construction

There are currently three extensions to the Métro network being built.

Line 4 is having a 3.2 km southern extension from Porte d'Orléans to Bagneux with two intermediary stations. Due to open in 2012[15][16]

Line 8 is being extended to a new depot via one new station at Créteil Parc des Sports.[17][18]

Line 12 is undergoing construction of its long talked about northern extension[19][20]


There are many proposals on the drawing board:

  • An extension of Line 14 at both ends (using part of Line 13 at the north end and part of Line 7 at the southern end).
  • Line 11 will also benefit from extension by 2017.

There have also been proposals for:

  • An extension at both ends of Line 1.
  • A new station on Line 5.
  • A southern extension to Line 7.
  • A two-stop extension of Line 9.
  • Several studies for the future of Line 10.
  • There is also the very long term distant possibility that Line 3bis may be merged with Line 7bis to form a new line.
  • In addition to all these there is also the prospect of a 50 km outer Paris automated orbital Metro line (sometimes called the 'Arc Express').


  • 10 August 1903: The Couronnes Disaster (fire), 84 killed.
  • 30 August 2000: an MF 67 rolling stock derailled due to excessive speed and unavailable automatic cruising at the Notre-Dame-de-Lorette station, 24 slightly injured.
  • 6 August 2005: fire broke out on a train at the Simplon station. The fire injured at least 19 people before it was extinguished. Early reports blamed an electrical short circuit as the cause.
  • 29 July 2007: a fire started on a train between Varenne and Invalides stations. Fifteen people were injured.

See also


  1. ^ a b Statistiques Syndicat des transports d'Île-de-France rapport 2005 (French) states 297 stations + Olympiades + Les Agnettes + Les Courtilles
  2. ^ « Metro Features List » on
  3. ^ "2009 STIF Annual report" (PDF). 2009. p. 11. Retrieved 20 April 2011. 
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ Jean Tricoire, Un siècle de métro en 14 lignes, p. 188
  6. ^ Jean Tricoire, op. cit., p. 330
  7. ^ Jean Tricoire. Un siècle de métro en 14 lignes. De Bienvenüe à Météor. 
  8. ^ Clive Lamming, Métro insolite
  9. ^ Press statement from RATP 2 October 2007[dead link]
  10. ^ "Accueil – Ticket "t"". Retrieved 20 April 2011. 
  11. ^ "Accueil –Ticket jeune". RATP. Retrieved 20 April 2011. 
  12. ^ On 1 January 2006, a test was done with few lines opening at night on main stops only.
  13. ^ a b Lines 12 and 13 has originally been inaugurated as part of the Nord-Sud network (respectively as lines A and B).
  14. ^ "1968 – 1983 : le RER et la modernisation du réseau parisien [1968 – 1983: The RER and the modernisation of the parisian netwrok]" (in French). Musée des Transports – Histoire du Métropolitain de Paris. Retrieved 6 February 2011. 
  15. ^ Paris Métro Line 4#Future
  16. ^ (French)
  17. ^ Paris Métro Line 8#Extension towards South-East
  18. ^ (French)
  19. ^ Paris Métro Line 12#Future
  20. ^ (French)


  • Bindi, A., & Lefeuvre, D. (1990). Le Métro de Paris : Histoire d'hier à demain, Rennes : Ouest-France. ISBN 2737302048. (French)
  • Descouturelle, Frédéric, et al. (2003). Le métropolitain d'Hector Guimard. Somogy. ISBN 2850568155. (French)
  • Gaillard, M. (1991). Du Madeleine-Bastille à Météor : Histoire des transports Parisiens, Amiens : Martelle. ISBN 2878900138. (French)
  • Hovey, Tamara. Paris Underground, New York: Orchard Books, 1991. ISBN 0531059316.
  • Lamming, C.(2001) Métro insolite, Paris : Parigramme, ISBN 2840961903.
  • Ovenden, Mark. Paris Metro Style in map and station design, London: Capital Transport, 2008. ISBN 9781854143228.

External links


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