Friday, October 20, 2006

Paris Metro (twice this week!)


I do not take the metro very often because I really dislike it, but since my motorbike is now officially dead I have no other choice. The only positive aspect is that I can read more and... take unusual photos. At least some good news: it's Friday in Paris.

41 comments:

  1. Bicyle is what keeps me out of the tube and the rush hour - I get high miles per gallon out of it, too ;-)

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  2. Sorry about the bike. Really.

    But of course "le malheur des uns fait le bonheur des autres" n'est-ce pas and this picture of a classic Parisian sight should make many homesick expats and francofiles happy.

    Be careful in the crowded subway with your camera, though... "They" are fast!!

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  3. happy Friday there. and here its friday morning already!!!
    :D
    and here,the Metro = the crowded.

    really unusual beautiful photo~~:P
    ...Jing
    have the nice day~~

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  4. What?!!!? The motorbike is dead? Are you going to replace it, Eric?

    Anyway, in the meantime, take lots of pictures in the Paris metro.

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  5. I am sorry about your motorbike...we get so dependent...but look at these wonderful metro pictures! You're becoming even more creative! I know the rails can be no fun (I lived in Atlanta for 12 years), but at least you have them. Where I live, if the SUV goes out in the winter, you walk down the mountain, and then up and down the mountain, and then down and up the mountain (because the mountain, of course, doesn't go straight down - that would be too easy)...and then when you're finally all the way down the mountain, you just pray some kind neighborly soul helps takes pity on you when trudging back up with your sled (which invariably happens)...but I look at it like, hey, who needs a Stairmaster? :) Have a wonderful weekend! Keep safe!

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  6. I see the girl looking at you through the window saying, "Who is that crazy man?"

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  7. Blondetown, you sound as though you have children and you tell them, "I remember when I was your age I had to walk up the mountain, backwards, through the snow, etc..." LOL

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  8. i LOVE taking the metro and the bus in washington DC! (and in Paris for that matter)

    when i go home, there is no public transportation and you have to drive everywhere. i love how independent i feel when i take public transportation...also i enjoy reading and watching people, like that woman is doing....

    i like how you almost feel like you are there with the motion of the shot.

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  9. Blonde....I wonder if we ever met? I've been here for 17 years. Where did you live?

    The train here is not near as convenient as is the Metro in Paris. You can go practically anywhere on the metro. Here, everyone has cars and only the people without cars ride the train regularly (it's very limited).

    Anyway, hope you get your bike repaired or replaced soon Eric!

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  10. I love the metro in Paris. I just wish we had such a wonderful train system like yours here in Melbourne , Australia.

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  11. I had several unpleasant encounters while using the Paris Metro this mid-September while on tour. First, there were several musicians who after their amateur performance moved through the coaches with their caps off for tokens of appreciation. Second, a rather helpful guy at the Guard Du Nord station bought tickets for us but not wanting to accept our fare. I managed to put extra Euro dollars into his pocket for offering his benevolent guidance to our destination too. Third, two young men tried to unfasten my friend’s back pocket button to retrieve a wallet. My friend warded off their desperate pickpocket attempt. Forth, my lady friend was brush against by a teenager, a girl. The kid tried to unzip our lady friend’s bag but the attempt was also unsuccessful because our lady herself had been to Paris many times.

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  12. I can well understand why a Parisian (especially one whose motorbike has recently given up the ghost) may not like (or want) to travel on the Metro. On the other hand, we who have visited Paris but must now content ourselves with loving her from a distance are inclined to be a little more romantic about the Metro’s subterranean charms. For us, the place names - some familiar, some exotic and mysterious - are poetic pearls strung on threads of steel. They evoke all the ages and faces of Paris - the archaeology of her soul, as it were.

    Actually, your post of two days ago made me wonder why some enterprising artist hasn't thought of creating a fake metro line (as the RATP has in response to bad behaviour) modelled on the work of a writer such as Borges. Had he been given the opportunity, he might well have offered travellers the following surreal destinations: (a) Rimbaud’s Rusty Guillotine, (b) Les Enfants d’Enfer, (c) Cocteau’s Point of Eternal Return, (d) Where Picasso Never Left Or Entered The Train, (e) Please Remain In Your Seats, Only Sartre Can Exit, (f) Godard Doesn't Live Here Anymore. Just a thought.

    I hope it isn't too long before you get yourself a new set of wheels, Eric.

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  13. May it rest in peace. . .I'm picturing you on a zippy green Vespa next. :-) We loved riding the Metro. After many years of daily BART ridership in SF, it was second nature to get around that way. I'm sorry for the hassle of your being "wheeless," and am glad you have excellent and exquisite public transit available while you sort out your personal transport options. Best wishes,
    -Kim

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  14. Sorry for the non french speaker, but this dead motorbike thing couldn't-help but reminding me about Molière's L'Ecole des femmes. So I wanted to share it with you (as we say in French : Culture is just like marmelade, the less you have, the more you spread !).

    Acte II Scène 5: ARNOLPHE, AGNES.
    ARNOLPHE :
    La promenade est belle.
    AGNES :
    Fort belle.
    ARNOLPHE :
    Le beau jour!
    AGNES
    Fort beau.
    ARNOLPHE
    Quelle nouvelle?
    AGNES
    Le petit chat est mort.
    ARNOLPHE
    C'est dommage; mais quoi!
    Nous sommes tous mortels, et chacun est pour soi.
    Lorsque j'étais aux champs, n'a-t-il point fait de pluie?
    AGNES
    Non.
    ARNOLPHE
    Vous ennuyait-il?
    AGNES
    Jamais je ne m'ennuie.
    ARNOLPHE
    Qu'avez-vous fait encor ces neuf ou dix jours-ci?
    AGNES
    Six chemises, je pense, et six coiffes aussi.

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  15. I don't regret using the Metro. However, about the third week in Paris we opted for the buses. The bad experiences were too many to enumerate below ground. I loved the way some of the stations were appointed but the hussle and bustle wore me out. There were times we had no alternative but to use the Metro. I think my biggest concern was the crowding. We all know, as studies have shown, that Americans need their space.

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  16. At first I like the metro, but after a while it gets tiresome. I envie all the people on scooters. I wonder if you can rent them somewhere for a week.

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  17. the metro is quite good in Paris. it brought me around in Paris when I visited your beautiful city :-)

    most people in Singapore take the metro (called MRT here) and the bus to get around.

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  18. Like this photo Eric! I for some reason leave my little scooter a while and take public transport for work recently too! but i head for the bus. It takes much longer time but the travel is more interesting... though the routing is the same every morning but i can discover new scenery each ride ! There are so many things to see on the street that I feel like reading a living book in a terrasse ;)

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  19. I love the photo! Initially you are not sure if the face in the window is a reflection of the photographer, or another looking through the reflection. However, tt must be a person looking through since there is no camera :)

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  20. Buy a bicycle. :-)

    Metro is always interesting. I have posted some nice metro pics. Now that you are frequent user you will see how many photo ops you got.

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  21. I'm not sure if it's well known outside of France, but the often used expression, "metro, bulot, dodo" (metro, work, sleep) refers to the exhaustion of the day-to-day experience. Somehow, "scooter" doesn't sound right in this expression!

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  22. I hope Eric your motorbike will be alive again soon:)

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  23. Great perspective, Eric. Your photos capture the visual aspects of mass transport, but unfortunately can't capture the more ephemeral aspects of mass transit - the aromas. My teenage kids were amazed at some of the more aromatic stations during our last visit (I believe it was the Madeleine station that lingers in our memory). Here is an an interseting website that maps the smells of the New York subway (http://gawker.com/maps/smell/). I wonder if there is an equivalent map for the Metro?

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  24. Michael,
    The expression brings back memories of my first class in French at University of Kentucky. The prof was a lovely lady from Romania who spent most of her life, until Kentucky, in wonderful Paris. That was the first expression that she planted in our eager little minds.
    Erik H. must have had better luck than I with aromas. The body odor was often overpowering. I must say that those emitting the odors were not Parisians and from the various languages heard, not French either.

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  25. Ne serait-ce pas la ligne numero 1? Je la prends tous les jours et je ne peux pas dire que je la déteste...Le métro est tellement pratique ...

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  26. Johnnyparsons,
    Not so lucky - the aromas I was referring to are the same ones you are remembering and at times were overpowering, and that's why they remain etched in our memory.

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  27. Kim: the BART and the Metro are 2 different things because in BART, no matter how crowded it gets, you can still move! :-) Imagine the No. 1 California Muni Bus underground, or maybe the Muni Street Car during its underground portion, at peak hour. Add to it smells of urine and what not and a lot of noise, and a few more people per square inch, and you got the Parisian Metro!

    However, especially seen from California, and as Louis pointed out so gracefully, the Metro has also an incredible amount of charm. The little white tiles dating back who knows when, possibly 100 years ago! The names of some of the stations. The new modern design at some of the stations (there is one near the CNAM that Eric showed us once, that looks like a submarine, forgot the name, among others). The wonderful cast-iron (?) art-deco entrances like the beautiful one between Chatelet and Les Halles. And of course, let's not forget the "metro aerien", when the metro comes above ground for a little while (a couple of lines do that, one going to Gare de Lyon, another one near Eiffel Tower, and another one between Barbes and Pigalle). Sigh.....

    However, I cannot say it enough to American people and tourists all over the world: in the Metro, always be ware of the pickpockets, gypsies, and generally anybody who looks suspicious ; if you think they are, they probably are.

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  28. lol! She IS looking at you like you're crazy! She also looks like someone who has hated me for many a year!

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  29. Tomate, have you had a bad experience in the metro that gives us bold warnings? I'm just curious. There are many a pickpocket it's true, but I don't think it's as bad as you say. Also, are you referring to the Arts et Metiers station that looks like a submarine?

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  30. Eric, you must have been looking for me - sorry I missed you (c: but it is hard imagining people in Paris not using the metro - I found it invaluable for seeing as much of Paris as possible in a couple of days. You probably know about the Doisneau exhibition already but I have a nice photo here: http://wind-sand-and-stars.blogspot.com/2006/10/robert-doisneaus-paris-en-libert.html
    which I think is really worth a look, and all I can say about the exhibition is Don't miss it

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  31. Just a little comment, I lust go out, I'll come back to all your comments tomorrow.

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  32. You "lust" go out? Is that for real or just a Freudian slip?

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  33. Tomate Farcie,

    I wonder what happened to you in the Métro.
    In more than 40 years, i personnally never had any problem in the Métro, neither anybody in my family.

    Troubles exist of course, one has to take care (without turning paranoiac): don't wear apparent jewels, don't show your money, pay attention to things you carry. Some areas should better be avoided at night (metro or not in fact).

    About suspicious people you might see, well, Parisians are suspicious people basically...lol

    It would be a pity for a tourist to visit Paris without knowing the Métro.

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  34. I loved riding the Metro, the Underground in London, the NYC subway and other undergrounds I've used. The crowding didn't bother me as I've ridden our subway most years of my working life. Guess I'm not one of those Americans that need space.
    The only time I was pickpocketed in Paris was in Notre Dame Cathedral. Not to say that there aren't pickpockets in the Metro and other places, but that was my experience.

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  35. Sorry, but I think the warnings are in order.

    Well, Michael / Haxo, since you asekd: my mother was mugged (granted it took 60 years, but it eventually happened), my sister, too (they ran off with her purse) me too (2 or 3 times in 20 years and once during a subsequent visit in Paris - although they didn't get anything because damn it, I fought it!!); anyway, I alwo know a number of tourists who had some incidents, usually around areas that are known to be frequented by tourists (Louvre, Tour Eiffel, I forget what the other one was) or people in transit (Gare du Nord, Gare de Lyon...)

    True, the probablility of it happening when you are visiting is not great if you pay attention, but you DO have to pay attention, just like Haxo say; you have to be discret about jewelery, etc... and not just in the subway but in any crowded place.

    Sorry, guys, but the warning stands as far as I'm concerned.

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  36. I totally respect your interesting account, Tomate Farcie.

    One practical information: remember pickpockets are often operating when you are about to climb in the train (like the guy on Eric's pic), or in the train, when the doors are about to close.

    But for sure, take care all the time.

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  37. > Ham. Yes, you're right but I am too lazy to drive a bike!

    > Tomate. It's alright, it was old... And I can cope with the Metro for a while.

    > Jing. Same here, it's terribly crowded in the morning. I may buy a Chinese scooter by the way!

    > Elisabeth. Yes, like I said probably with a scooter to start with. Than I'll see what I need exactly. ANd, yes, I will take pics of the Metro !

    >Blondetown. Who needs a stair master? Good question! Certainly not me, even without mountains!

    > Michael. True I was actually on my knees, on the edge of the platform!

    > Nanajoon. I don't like to drive a car in Paris either, but a motorbike is OK cause you can drive virtually everywhere.

    > Susan. That would be a funny coincidence, wouldn't?!

    > Ladyjicky. Don't get me wrong. I like it too (and for that matter, for once I think public transportation is something the French are very good at) but I hate it when it's crowded and too hot.

    > Richard. I do not like it when musicians get on board the trains either. I don't understand why you consider this guy no wanting you to pay as a bad experience??

    > Louis. I think I already say a piece of art that was made of a fake metro line in an exhibit once (a long time ago). The stations were not surreal as you cleverly suggest it but were big capital cities. I remember I loved it.

    > Kim. Yes, you're right I might buy a scooter now, after all that is all I need. Thank you for your wishes...

    > GG. What is that supposed to mean???

    > Johnny. Yes, that is what I dislike the most, especially in the morning. It's really crowded. In some stations you cannot even board the trains...

    > Luggi. Yes you can rent them, but I think it's pretty expensive.

    > Michelle. True, kinda like "the theater of the world" as we say.

    > Bill. Yes it's a real person! Probably thinking "what is this guy doing kneeling on the Metro floor!

    > Ovelikios. Yeah yeah... LOL

    > Michael. So true! Scooter rimes with Danger though...

    > Zsolt72. It won't but I will buy a new one, believe me.

    > Erik. "some of the more aromatic stations during our last visit", are you kidding? The only aromas I know in the Metro are not exactly like perfume!

    > Johnny. I could not agree more (on the aromas part!)

    > Aquarious. Non c'est la 8. Je reconnais que c'est très pratique, mais il fait très chaud et il y a vraiment bcp de monde aux heures de pointe.

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  38. very nice, capturing motion in a still transforms it to yell you a little story...more than that moment!

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  39. Eric : no particular "meaning" of course, juste une association d'idée between the dead motorbike and "le petit chat est mort". Let's call it a "bide" !!!
    ;o)

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