The Paris Métro is the metro (underground) system in Paris, France. It was originally known as the “Chemin de Fer Métropolitain” (“Metropolitan railway”), then “Métropolitain,” quickly abbreviated to “Métro”. Speakers of verlan call it “le tromé.”
The system consists of 16 lines, identified by numbers from 1 to 14, with two minor lines 3b and 7b, numbered thus because they are branch lines split off from the original lines 3 and 7.
Brief technical points:
over 200 km of track, over 300 stations
circulation is on the right
track gauge of 1.435 meters (standard gauge, like the French main lines) — but trains are narrower than mainlines, so the Metro can run on mainlines but not vice versa
power collection: third rail
average distance between stations is approx 300 m
lines 1, 4, 6, 11, and 14 are rubber-tired
line 14 is driverless (fully automatic)
One single ticket price for any journey, unlimited connections, but limited to a 2-hour ride.
A second network of regional express lines, the RER (Réseau Express Régional) complements the network since the 1970s
1: La Défense – Château de Vincennes
First section opened July 19, 1900
Converted to rubber-tired operation 1964
2: Porte Dauphine – Nation
First section opened December 13, 1900
3: Pont de Levallois-Bécon – Gallieni
First section opened October 19, 1904
3bis: Gambetta – Porte des Lilas
Opened November 27, 1921 (then part of line 3)
Detached from line 3 April 2, 1971
4: Porte de Clignancourt – Porte d’Orléans
First section opened April 21, 1908
Converted to rubber-tired operation 1967
5: Place d’Italie – Bobigny-Pablo Picasso
First section opened June 2, 1906 (some sections opened earlier are now part of line 6)
6: Charles de Gaulle-Étoile – Nation
First section opened October 2, 1900 (then part of line 5)
Converted to rubber-tired operation 1974
7: Villejuif-Louis Aragon/Mairie d’Ivry – La Courneuve-8 Mai 1945
First section opened November 5, 1910
7bis: Louis Blanc – Pré-Saint-Gervais
Opened January 18, 1911 (then part of line 7)
Detached from line 7 December 3, 1967
8: Balard – Créteil-Préfecture
First section opened July 13, 1913
9: Pont de Sèvres – Mairie de Montreuil
First section opened November 8, 1922
10: Boulogne-Pont de Saint-Cloud – Gare d’Austerlitz
First section opened July 13, 1913 (then part of line 8)
11: Châtelet – Mairie des Lilas
First section opened April 28, 1935
Converted to rubber-tired operation November 8, 1956
12: Mairie d’Issy – Porte de La Chapelle
First section opened November 5, 1910 (as part of Nord-Sud line A)
13: Châtillon-Montrouge – Gabriel Péri-Asnières-Gennevilliers/Saint Denis-Université
First section opened February 26, 1911 (as part of Nord-Sud line B)
First section opened by CMP December 30, 1923 (then part of line 10)
14: Saint-Lazare – Bibliothèque François Mitterrand
First section (Madeleine – Bibliothèque François Mitterrand) opened October 15, 1998
Saint-Lazare terminus opened December 16, 2003
Line 14 is fully automated. There are no drivers in trains. The platforms are separated from the tracks by transparents walls, and both the trains and platforms have doors that open automatically when the train is stopped, perfectly aligned with the doors.
An earlier line 14 Invalides-Porte de Vanves existed from July 29, 1937, when it was detached from line 10, to November 9, 1976, when it was incorporated into line 13.
Abbesses station – one of the art nouveau metro station entrances designed by Hector Guimard
One of the most famous aspects of the Paris metro are its wrought-iron art nouveau entrances by Hector Guimard, which have come to symbolize Paris although not very many remain in use (86 entrances by Guimard still exist).
Line 1 was inaugurated on July 19, 1900, after decades of political wrangling over routes and construction. Short sections of the present lines 2 and 6 (then numbered 5) were completed in the same year to serve the world’s fair.
The lines 1 through 10 where built by the Ville de Paris (city of Paris) and run by the CMP (Compagnie du Chemin de Fer Métropolitain de Paris).
A second company, “Nord-Sud” (Société du Chemin de Fer Electrique Nord-Sud de Paris) started up in 1910 and built two lines named A and B (now part of lines 12 and 13). “Nord-Sud” merged in 1930 with the CMP (line 11 and the “first” line 14 were completed after the merger). CMP became state-owned in 1948 and renamed RATP (Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens).