Archive for February 27th, 2012

February 27, 2012

Stories of line 5, 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 5 of the Metro de Paris.

It was the first north south axis of Paris well before line 4. Linking Seine Saint Denis with place d’Italie, the viaduc d’Austerlitz was built between 1903-1904 but it was the viaduc du Quai de la Rapée that took the most work built between 1903-1906. It took the line 2 Sud in 1907, and enlarge to the gare du NOrd, in 1942 it becames too long so it was divided to line 6, and on 1985 the new stop at Bobigny is done.

First we take flight at Porte de Pantin, my old stopping point into Paris ,I used to come by car from Meaux and parked by the church there then took the metro into Paris proper from 1990!  The station only openned in 1942!!! Here is the famous Parc de la Villette, 55 hectares of unique places and acts, in an old slaugherhouse last done so in 1977,you can entereed at 211 avenue Jean Jaurés; see the Grande Halle, the main slaughterhouse  where today great expo are held. See the Fontaine aux lions de Nubie, done in 1811 ; the cows used to refresh themselves here and today its the people who does in front of the Grande Halles, the magnificent Cité des sciences et de l’universe, activities for all at 30 avenue Corentin Cariou, You go on to la Geode with a screen of 1000 meters to see films at 180° at 26 avenue Corentin Cariou, ; move on to the cité de la musique, all kinds of music at 221 avenue jean Jaurés , and see the Musée de la musique inside the Cité. You should have a glass at Cafe de la Musique inside the Cité, or go to a concert at the famous Zenith, and the wonderful nightclub le Cabaret Sauvage at  One of my favorites eateries is Le Boeuf Couronné at 188 avenue Jean Jaurés.

We moved on to Ourq, yes the famous canal de l’Ourq built in the 19C and finish n 1821! for more than 110 kms, the metro station was opened in 1947. See the Canal by the Bassin de la Villette,21 quai de la Loire,  that takes you all the way to Meaux (the town of my wife). See the unique protestant church of Saint Serge de Radogéne ,built in 1861 , that in 1924 became a Russian orthodox church at 93 rue de Crimée.  the old night L’Escale at 133 avenue Jean Jaurés is tops. Continue our trip to Jaurés, open in 1903 named rue d’Allemagne ,when the war was declared in 1914 it was change to a young mane Jean Jaurés that was just assassinated by a student, his newspaper L’humanité founded in 1904, so the station took his name.  See here the Rotonde de Ledoux, one of several built to charge the tax to enter merchandise into paris from 1784, see it at place de la bataille de stalingrad. Bassin de la Villette, done to link the canal de l’Ourq to Canal Saint Martin in 1808, see it by quai de Seine and quai de la Loire.  see the historic place of charcoal mariners at Au Rendez-vous de la marine, 14 quai de la Loire.

We go now to the ever popular Gare du Nord, building started in 1842 and was finally done in 1965!!!;  The trains were going since 1846, it was the first railroad network in France. From 1994, it houses the Eurostar coming from England, the metro was opened in 1907.  See the magnificent hospital of Hôpital Lariboissiére done in 1846 to stop the sickness of the time cholera, at 2 rue Ambroise, then move on to La Goutte d’Or et Barbés-Rochechouart, a wonderful district of La Goutte d’Or, get a glass at the Brasserie Terminus Nord inside the hotel at 23 rue de Dunkerque, plenty of ethnic restos in the area. You move over to Oberkampf, named after a tanner from Bavaria, Germany  and created the fabrication of bricks imprinted in copper from 1759,he was French citizen since 1770.It later moved to Jouy-en-Josas near Versailles and the building still there I can vouch for it. Plenty of used items and flea market stores at Rue du Marché-Popincourt where there is a market today. See the unmistable Cafe Bataclan at 50 blvd de Voltaire  done from 1864 ,  We reach the next train station too at Gare d’Austerlitz, name after a famous battle of Dec 2 1805 by Napoleon Ier. It is an open above ground station, behind the great glass enclosure of the train station, a work of art of 50 meters to raise the station over the river Seine, . IT was first call Gare d’Orleans, and renamed in 1930 the Gare d’Orléans-Austerlitz. It was the heading station of the old line Compagnie Paris-Orleans (PO) that with 6 companies form the today SNCF from 1938.In 1985, it simply became the Gare d’Austerlitz.  See here the galerie de Paleontologie et d’anatomie comparée du jardin des plantes, done from 1898, ,this gallery of stone and metal is 80 meters long, see at 57 rue Cuvier. The wonderful Viaduc d’Austerlitz link the station with the metro, so big that when paris was besieged it was use to built zeppelins/ the viaduc was built from 1903-1904. Have a glass at Austerlitz Cafe, 4 blvd de l’hôpital, have a look at the unique Cité de la Mode et du Design, building from 1907, the museum done in 2011 to showcase French fashion.

We arrive at the end ,Place d’Italie, it was named because here ended the Roman road from Lyon. And until the 19c the barrier that was tax free after you enter Paris you paid. The station was opened in 1906. see the Temple Antoiniste, several streets ends here and here is the antoniste movement hq,  see at 34 rue Vergniaud, ; the great shopping center ,centre commercial Italie 2 is unique in inner Paris, at 30 avenue Italie. See the wonderful Butte aux Cailles,see the wooden houses at 10 rue Daviel and towards rue du Moulin des Prés, passage Boiton, and rue Barrault. The piscine butte aux cailles, done in 1924; its the oldest pool in Paris. temp kept at 28°C constant.  See the unique puits artésian de la place Paul Verlaine, pure water from a well 582 meters deep, built from 1863, and to the service of Parisien since 1904; today a plaque tells you the story, at place Paul Verlaine. Here you come to the Supermarché Tang Fréres, 48 avenue d’Ivry, for all your Asiatic needs. Even a Chinese McDonalds at 1 avenue de Choisy. and a Church at Eglise Notre Dame de  Chine,  at 27 avenue de Choisy. Get a taste of a master at Boulangerie-pâtisserie Laurent Duchêne , 2 rue Wurtz. My favorite here is Les Cailloux, 58 rue des Cinq Diamants,

Enjoy the 5éme.

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