We ride line 12 on a regular basis, so we decided to start out on line 14 instead of following the given directions. Other members of the group had told us to ride at the very front of the train, and we quickly found out why: The line is completely automated! You can actually look out a window in the front and see the dark tunnel coming up ahead of you. It was like a slow, poorly animated theme park ride (but still really cool, I promise).
At Saint Lazare (which had a awesome vaulted ceiling – sorry the picture’s so blurry) we chained onto line 3 and then changed onto the 2 at Villiers. Since we weren’t too thrilled to be spending a beautiful day on the metro, we pretended to be really enthusiastic about the tile and took lots of pictures.
We then took line 2 to its end at Porte Dauphine. Incidentally, dauphine is the word for both the crown prince and a dolphin in French – I guess the Academie Française missed that one. We went above ground for a quick break at the end of the line and a chance to see one of Hector Guimard’s famous metro entrances.
Then we backtracked on the 2 to Stalingrad and stopped to see the Rotonde de la Villette, a tollhouse built by Louis XVI before going back underground at Juarès to head home. Along the way we also saw a funny protest poster prepared by some linguistically confused individual.
Despite the smells, crowds, and awkward conversations with homeless people, I love the metro. It’s so nice to be able to get on a train and go anywhere I want in the city. I was trying to explain to my mom the other day that I never worry about getting lost in Paris, because I just have to walk a few blocks in any direction to find a Metro entrance, and once I’m underground I know exactly where I am. She asked me if I knew how bizarre that sounded. Maybe it does, but this is one aspect of Parisian life I’m definitely going to miss.