The Metro: A History


The Metro: Iconic and Historic

As much as I have complained about the metro, I have to say, it is a really practical thing. And while it's disgusting and sometimes awful, it really is something that is iconic of Paris. So I decided to do some research on the history of the metro, just to find out more about the thing that I spend hours in every day. Here's what I learned:

It Began in 1900

Only one line was opened in 1900. It was used for the World's Fair. The idea of the metro was thought of for years before its construction, but because no one could agree, it took years to set the plan into motion. By this point, New York, London, and Budapest each had underground rail systems.

1901 Gained Momentum

Bienvenue, the architect for the metro, did not want any part of Paris to be more than 500m away from a metro station. So within ten years, six lines were added. Of course, through the decades, more lines were added and they were also extended, covering more than just the center of Paris.

Inside the Metro after New Years Eve

1998 was a milestone

The line 14 was added and had no driver, a first for underground railroads. The line 14 is the shortest line and with the fewest stops, but it is also the line that goes the fastest. Since then, not many changes have been made to the metro lines.

It had classes

Since 1991 the metro has had a single class system. But up until 1982, the metro had first and second classes. Then from 1982-1991 the classes were during rush hour only. It's weird to think that the metro had a first class and a second class, and it makes me wonder if the first class was much cleaner. Hmmm

1960s Saw Expansion

When the metro was originally built, it was intended to only serve the city of Paris. People feared that by extending it to the suburbs would make Paris less safe. But in the 1960s the RER was built and extended to the suburbs of Paris.

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