The Paris Métro: Cité, the Beginning of a Love Affair

The first time I used the Paris Métro, it was on the way to Cité station to visit Notre-Dame de Paris. I stepped onto a busy carriage, held on to the railing and as the train set in motion, an accordionist played La vie en rose.

Until that very moment, the romance of Paris only existed in my dreams.

Paris Metro

The journey to Cité saw the beginning of a love affair with le métro parisien. Whether I’m buying a carnet of 10 métro tickets, replenishing my Passe Navigo Découverte, or planning a longer journey that avoids Châtelet, every time I step through the entrance of a station, I commit a part of Paris to memory.

From that defining moment, every trip to the City of Light includes planned métro rides which allow me to photograph different métropolitain stations. Much like Louis Malle’s 1960 movie Zazie dans le Métro, I have developed a quirky obsession with a mass rail system as old as 1900. I marvel at the interior designs and the elaborate façades. I delight in the labyrinth of colour that constitutes all 14 métro lines. I compare platform seats, entrances, train carriages, I even take note of the latest métro billboard advertising as I navigate the underground tunnels.

Paris Metro

Much like métro stories, Gourmantic will feature a Paris Métro stations series designed to inspire the enjoyment of this public transportation system. The series will include historical highlights, photographs of the interior and entrances, métro art and nearby attractions should you decide to explore the neighbourhood.

Travelling on the Paris métro need not be about reaching the destination. It can be the beginning of a love affair, or as the French say, un coup de cœur.

In the series so far: Abbesses, Bir-Hakeim, Cité, Cluny-La Sorbonne, Arts et Métiers, Europe.


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The Paris Métro: Cité, the Beginning of a Love Affair was last modified: December 20th, 2015 by Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the Founder/Editor of popular online magazine Gourmantic and Cocktails & Bars, a website dedicated to cocktail culture and the discerning drinker. She is named in Australian Bartender Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential List since 2013, is a member of The Academy responsible for judging the World’s 50 Best Bars. She has also judged the inaugural Australasian Whisky Awards and various national cocktail competitions.


  1. And it’s a public transport success too RT @Gourmantic: The Paris Métro: Cité, and the Beginning of my Love Affair

    This comment was originally posted on twitter.

  2. Paris can be an overwhelming city – take a minute to see the romance – The Paris… a Love Affair @gourmantic @njdurbin

    This comment was originally posted on twitter.

  3. Looking forward to the Metro station series! They really can be beautiful and interesting. I like your quintessential Paris experience too; I recall a similar one when La Vie en Rose started playing while we were on a Seine cruise. There was moonlight twinkling on the river under the Eiffel Tower and it was just.. Paris. I didn’t know it existed like that either!

    • Laura, I’m glad my intro didn’t sound like a cliché because that was exactly how I felt! Paris has that effect and I love it when everyone who’s been has a similar story 🙂

  4. Cool, that sounds interesting, I look forward to it! I’m about to receive a book from France called “Métronome”, about the history of the metro stations, so it looks like I will be able to learn a lot more about it in the next few weeks! (Oh my god, the parcel actually turned up as I was writing, exciting!)

    • Oh, what a coincidence!! 🙂

      I’d love to own a comprehensive book on the metro, especially with old photographs. Please feel free to contribute to the comments in the series if you wish 🙂

  5. Corinne – Well, you’ve made me think about the metro in a different way than I usally do, the necessary evil to get me from one point to the other – LOL. (It could be that I lived near line 4, and although I wanted to avoid Chatalet as much as possible, it wasn’t always feasible 🙂 You are right, though, there is much to admire, as I’m sure you’re going to show us in your upcoming series.

    • Kathy, I’m pleased to know that I can sway you a little from thinking about the metro as a means from A to B 🙂 I have invested quite some time in visiting stations and taking photographs and I hope you’ll find the series inspiring 🙂

  6. Very interesting idea. I look forward to the series. Are you running it sequentially?

    • If you mean one post after another, no. I’ve got plenty of stations to cover so I’ll probably space them out on a weekly basis – since we’re all about variety here 🙂

  7. Love this idea and the black and white photos! 🙂

  8. Love the black & white photos as well. Looking forward to seeing more of the metro through your eyes – it can be very beautiful despite all of the chaos, or maybe because of it 🙂

    • I’m not a fan of crowds and chaos, but you have to stay on the move or you’d be caught up in the flow. I just can’t pass up a chance to photograph a station that catches my eye 🙂

  9. There are some great stations, I agree. One of my fave metro memories was being serenaded by a caterwauling elderly Chinese lady with a karoake machine. She was truly awful, but in an endearing way. I’ll have to check out the Louis Malle film. I’m guessing you’ve seen Paris Je t’aime? I love the Coen Bros one in Tuileries station. Look forward to more on this series!

    • I’ve seen some very bad performers as well, or rather buskers/beggars. The true performers need a license and I believe they audition for approval. Yes, I liked Paris Je t’aime – and Tuileries is one of the stations on the list. So hard to pick favourites!

  10. is also about the journey too so we should enjoy the ride as much as possible.

  11. nice! I too avoid Chatelet, though. Have you heard about the night metro rides in the closed stations? i’m not sure if they’re doing them still but I’ve always wanted to try and get on one:

  12. So romantic, Corinne! Great photos. I love the Paris Métro. However, I’ve never had the pleasure of an accordionist playing La vie en rose! Maybe next time.

    • I’ve had dodgy ‘musicians’ that you’d rather pay to shut them up but it was nice to have la vie en rose as my first experience 🙂

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  14. Perfect! Looking forward to the metro series, Corinne. It’s really interesting when people get attached to an aspect of a city others might not have done. Love the photos.

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