Stories of line 4, Metro de Paris

After having worked in Paris, and living nearby for 8 years, I am amaze at the number of people coming from places where there is no subway.metro:tube and gladly jump in into the Paris metro and rave about it back home. Like it was a tourist attractions; well I like to tell some historical stories of the Paris metro, (check back in the blog for some other stories written before). I will try to write a bit on each line ,sort of like an historical anecdote rather than photos, maybe one if can find it. The story is the important thing here.

Paris has 14 metro lines so far, and it was not the first one to have one. It all started with the idea of hosting the Universal Expo of 1900, so to be ready work on the metro began in 1897. Tonite I will talk about line 4 of the Paris metro.

It links the north and the south of Paris, the line was progressively built starting in 1908 and not all station connected until 1910. Not before complaint from the scholars at the Institut de France of the noise, and the line diverted to chatelet and ile de la cité. the line was enlarged in 1977 with the station Les Halles ,dug 30 meters deep to accommodate the RER train line. It is expected to be enlarge again this year with the extention to mairie de montrouge.

I pick to begin the porte de Clignancourt, ,this village was ,also, annexed to Paris in 1860. It belongs to the abbey Saint Denis and eventually abbey of Montmartre,the flea market came to be by the walls of the old fortified walls of Thiers. You have a small cementary St Ouen at 69 ave Michelet where lies Alphonse Allais and Suzanne Valadon. then we move on to the flea market, its huge, the marché aux puces de Saint Ouen; it is really a flea market amongst a flea market counting about 16 different venues. Easy on to porte de clignancourt.  The fame resto Le Picolo 58 rue jules vallés is very nice to drink a small glass of white wine or picolo since 1919! My favorites markets marché malik,marché Biron,Marché Vernaison,,and marché Dauphine.  We go inside Paris to Etienne Marcel, line open in 1908 named after the prevost of merchants: You can see the vertiges of the middle ages at the Arbre à liége, 10 rue Tiquetonne. See the wonderful tour de Jean-Sans-Peur ,duke of Burgundy that remains of the hotel de bourgogne, at 20 rue Etienne Marcel. See another Passage du Bourg-l’abbé open from 1827, see at 120 rue Saint Denis. And insist to go to the passage Grand-Cerf at 145 rue Saint Denis, 113 meters long with 12metershigh full of elegant boutiques, and it was here that the carriages coming from the east of France had its terminal. Grand is the Patisserie stôhrer with the best baba rhum in Paris since 1730! the pastry maker to the king of Poland for which the famous cake was invented.

Moving on to Les Halles, the belly of Paris, the food market of the city since Philippe Auguste times!!!In 1851 Napoleon III ask Baltard to dothem in metal, finally the market moves to Rungis, and here it becomes the Forum des Halles ,again renovated and enlarge today. See the wonderful eglise or church of Saint Eustache built from 1532 to 1667AD, and the patron saint of the hunters,and after having an encounter with the deer Louis XIV had his first communion here.2 impasse saint eustache ,nearby the nice fountaine des innocents at the corner of rue saint denis and rue berger,, serve as model for the famous Wallace fountains. Have a drink at the Le Saint Eustache, 14 rue de montmartre, ,and of course the Forum des Halles for its many stores,  see at

You come now to the center, Cité ,the line was open first, then the station open in 1910.It was with republique the first station dotted with elevators! in 1911; the frozen of the seine to -25c wa needed  so we can pass the stones here very sturdy, work was slow, and the stairs needed to bileveled them 13 meters! An architectural marvel underground. You have the magnificient Cathedrale de Notre Dame, built bet the 12-14C, beautiful decoration and a front portal showing the hell entrance to the left and the heaven entrance to the right. There is a rosace of 10 meters in diameter under the galeries des rois, and do not miss the Trésor or treasure room. Parvis de Notre Dame,pl Jean Paul II as it is now call. Here is the point zero of distances in France done from 1924. The marvelous Sainte Chapelle, tohost the relics of Christ, a must to see at 4 blvd du Palais. The Conciergerie, old palace of the Cité, the wonderful tour de horloge, the first public clock in France,inside the biggest gothic room in Europe! not to mention last living place of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. See the wonderful palais de justice,the old section of the royal palace of the cité, built around the year 1000AD It has 4 hectares in land, 24 kms of hallways,7000 doors, and 3150 windows ! See it all at blvd du palais. Not to missed the side streets such as 10 rue Chanoinesse, two lovers met here Heloise and Abélard in the house of uncle Fubert. and at 1 rue des Ursins see the pastiche of medieval houses done in 1960. Have a glass and see the world go by at Brasserie Les Deux Palais, 3 blvd du Palais, take a look at the librarie Shakespeare and Co.37 rue de la Bucherie. A wonderful old section of Paris even if heavily touristic.

We come now to Saint Michel , he is shown facing the devil or satan in the fountain statue at the crossing of place saint michel quai grands augustins, quai et blvd Saint MIchel; the station open in 1910. Of course see the fountain built in 1860; see the wonderful library ,one of my favorites Gibert Jeune at the pl saint michel and the other at 26-34 blvd saint michel. Have a drink at the Le rive Gauche, in the plaza or Saint severin at   see since 1957 great musicals at Théatre de la Huchette at 23 rue de la Huchette  Move over to Odéon, station open in 1910. the site of the théatre français in 1779 and takes the current name in 1797, you can see in the station, at the platform direction porte de clignacourt a bust of Danton, marking the site where he live during the French revolution. A nice building here full of fish decor is Fish La Boissonnerie, at 69 rue de Seine. The wonderful court de Rohan by the rue du Jardinet or the cour du Commerce Saint-André, Rohan for Rouen the building of the bishop of Rouen,here Henri II had stayed his favorite Diane de Poitiers, and find a tower of the time of Philippe Auguste. Going over to the cour du Commerce Saint André, see houses from the 18C at No 9 lived M Guillotin the inventor of the deadly headless machine, go in by blvd Saint Germain. a nice old walking tour is to take on rue Séguier, git-le-coeur and rue suger, narrow street and low hanging houses as like time has not change them at all. The frightful Musée Dupuytren, 15 rue de l’Ecole de Médécine, done in 1835 at the old convent of cordeliers the pathological examples of medicine and pieces of corps in jars!!! moving right along see the Musée d’Histoire de la Médecine at 12 rue de l’Ecole de la Médécine. Do not missed the Odéon Théatre de l’Europe at pl de l’Odéon and see the holes of bullets from WWII during the liberation of Paris. See the erotic gestures in front of you in the rive gauche de Paris: at Théatre érotique Chochotte, 34 rue Saint andré-des-arts. Have a glass at Le Danton, 103 blvd Saint Germain, Café de l’Odéon, and my favorite the Le Comptoir du Relais,  carrefour de l’odéon. Do not missed the chocolates of Georges Larnicol for a taste of Bretagne in Quimper at 132 blvd Saint GErmain.
We arrive at Saint-Germain-des-Prés,  from 555AD St GErmain built the first abbey here.The relics of king Childebert the son of  Clovis are kept here.See the wonderful Pont des Arts, the first bridge in Paris done in iron from 1801. See the wonderful library La Hune, 170 blvd st germain, L’ecume des pages at 174 blvd saint germain its one of the most respected in Paris the reference of librarians. The fame and prestigious Institut de France, 23 quai Conti, done from 1663 by Le Vau, see the spectacular dome of Quatre Nations, and like me that went in and had meeting at the famous salon Victor Hugo, where he gave lectures. many famous here and by me very touristic price are the Café de Flore,Les Deux Magots,and Chez LIpp, I rather sip a coffee at Emporio Caffé, 149 blvd Saint Germain. Moving on to another oldie at Saint Sulpice , built the church from 1211AD and the famous Da Vinci code was done here, the station open in 1910.  There is a nice theater here, Théatre du Vieux Colombier from 1913 at 21 rue du vieux colombier, it is an annex of the Comédie Française; have a nice pizza and drink at Pizza Chic, 13 rue de Méziéres or enjoy a drink at Café Saint Sulpice at 127 rue de Rennes.
We arrive at my meeting place and entry point into Paris today, Montparnasse-Bienvenue station.  The mont parnasse was a small hill, the station was first call Maine on line 5, then add the name of Bienvenue in 1933 to that of the train station it is today montparnasse. You have the museum of the post office here, 34 blvd du Vaugirard, and the better musée Bourdelle at 18 rue Antoine Bourdelle a disciple of Rodin. See high up the train station the jardin de l’Atlantique done in 1995 in the form of a great cruise ship. Go up to another look of Paris from above, the Tour Montparnasse done in 1973 with 59 floors and 25 elevators, the one from ground floor to the 56 platform can do in 38 seconds! The Cafe Montparnasse at pl 18 juin 1940 is great for a drink, the Pizza Pino, and the Le Plom du Cantal at 3 rue de la Gaité is wonderful.  Move on to Vavin,  station open in 1910. See La Coupole an old burnwood depot turn into Brasserie in 1927,and the rest is history. Le Select at 99 bvld Montparnasse, La Rotonde, 105 bd montparnasse, and Cubana Cafe for Cuban food,and Hacienda del Sol for Mexican food the real one in Paris.
We continue on to Raspail ,line open in 1906. here you have the fondation Cartier at 261 blvd Raspail, and the equally famous cementary of Montparnasse there since 1924 with great names such as Sartre,de Bouvoir,Gainsbourg,Baudelaire, Kessel, etc entry 3 blvd Edgar Quinet. See the wonderful La Closerie des Lilas at 171 blvd du montparnasse. We arrive at Denfert-Rochereau, it marked the distance between the via superior (today rue st jacques) and  it via inferior (as the barrier to hell), name after a resistance fighter n the war of 1870 at the Belfort where the lion symbol represent the heroisme shown there. The station is one of the first ones tohave mechanical stairs.  See the Villa Adrienne English style by 19 ave du General Leclerc, Villa Hallé, like been in the country, by rue hallé. See the Lion of Belfort statue, a reproduction to the one found in the citadelle at Belfort done by Bartholdi in 1879 (same as he who did the statue of liberty for NYC) see at pl denfert-rochereau. A souvenir of the barrier of hell is the Pavillons Ledoux, here we pay to get into the city,and today is the entrance to the catacombes, to do a bone resting place since the 18C with 130 steps down Paris, about 6 million dead are here,by 1 avenue d Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy. Finally see the Observatoire founded by Colbert in 1167AD and today the heart of French astronomy research at 77 avenue Denfert-Rochereau. I have stop for a cafe and drink at Café le Paris Orléans at 129 ave du gen leclerc.
Hope you enjoy the trip.

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