Future Map: Paris Métro, RER and Tram Expansion Plans to 2030
Once hemmed in by old city walls, then by the Boulevard Périphérique, the Paris Métro has rarely ventured outside the city proper into the suburbs. That is about to change with the ambitious “Le Grand Paris” plans shown here. Extensions of the existing Métro Lines 11 and 14 will take them far out into the Île-de-France, while new Lines 15, 16, 17 and 18 will encircle the region with orbital routes. Extensions to the RER E and a comprehensive network of regional trams will complement the system. All this is planned to be completed in just 17 years’ time, by 2030.
Historical Map: Société des Transports en Commun de la Région Parisienne - Réseau Tramways Banlieue, 1921
Transport in Paris these days is so inextricably linked to the image of the ubiquitous Metro, that it’s very easy to forget that it once had an extensive network of trams spreading far out into the suburbs. Fancy catching a tram from the Louvre to all the way to Versailles along the banks of the Seine? You could back in 1921, when this gorgeous map was produced.
At this time, all the many competing tram and omnibus companies in and around Paris had just been merged into the Société des Transports en Commun de la Région Parisienne (STCRP), in effect, an early predecessor to today’s RATP.
The map itself is simply beautiful, with excellent and intelligent use of a limited colour palette — a range of hatching and stipple effects introduce some subtle, but informational, texture to the map. Even though the route lines are all in red, they’re easy to follow from end to end, thanks to some nice spacing between parallel routes, and helpful but unobtrusive route numbers along the lines. Interestingly, the Metro is not shown at all, but the main railway stations are.
Also shown are the extensive 19th century fortifications around Paris: not only the about-to-be-demolished Thiers Wall (also shown on this 1913 Metro map), but the myriad of forts in the surrounding countryside, like the Fort de l’Est near St. Denis in the picture above.
Our rating: Simply beautiful and stylish: couldn’t be more Parisian if it tried. 5 stars!
(Source: Wikimedia Commons)
Historical Map: Indicateur d’Itinéraires, Paris, c. 2003
An old-school interactive Metro map in Paris. Simply press one of the 360 or so buttons underneath the map, and a path lights up from your current location to your chosen destination. Who needs a fancy touch screen kiosk? I particularly like the way that the furtherest reaches of the RER lines are compressed into diagrammatic form to allow the centre of Paris to be shown as large as possible.
This particular example is still in use, despite it being around ten years out of date: the extension of Ligne 14 from Madeleine to St. Lazare (which opened in December 2003) is shown as being under construction.
(Source: Hervé Platteaux/Flickr)
All Aboard the Orient Express!
Here’s an absolutely charming little map found on the inside of a French model train set box lid. I don’t have a definitive date for this, but it does have a lovely retro feel to it.
The map itself isn’t much help, as it’s pretty much a work of fiction: a weird combination of different parts of the Orient Express’s historical routes (see this diagram on Wikipedia) and a branch to Warsaw via Prague that was never part of the train’s itinerary.
Maybe, as simple artwork intended for a children’s toy, the designers were simply thinking that no one would notice any inaccuracies. Looks great, though!
(Source: japanese forms/Flickr)
Now, I don’t want answering this sort of question to become a habit — I’m more interested in looking at maps than being some sort of public transportation help desk — but I’ll make an exception just this once.
The short answer is that you can’t, as the Metro itself doesn’t go to CDG. However, a quick glance at the official Paris Metro/RER map tells you that you can catch a train on the RER “B” line from CDG (shown at the very top right hand corner of the map) to the Chatelet-Les Halles station, where you can transfer to Metro Line 14 (via a short walk through tunnels to the connected Chatelet Metro station) towards Olympiades. Bercy is just two stops down the line!
Unofficial Interactive Map: Annual Passenger Entries into the Paris Metro (2011)
A nicely executed interactive map of total annual passenger entries into the Paris Metro system. “Entries” are simply defined as a ticket validation at the relevant station.
Even in my static screenshot, the enormous quantities of people that enter the Metro at the main railway stations of Paris — the Gare du Nord, Saint-Lazare, Gare de Lyon and Montparnasse-Bienvenue — can be clearly seen. There’s a staggering 48 million entries each year at the Gare du Nord alone!
I definitely recommend clicking through to view the full interactive experience: there’s full information for each line and station of the Paris Metro — fascinating stuff!
Subterranean Veins of Europe
Here’s an interesting “map” of Europe’s subway systems that was originally featured in a weekly cultural supplement to Milan’s Corriere Della Sera newspaper. The map looks fantastic, and allows all sorts of comparisons between the underground rail systems of Europe, from cost of tickets (cleverly shown as a blue ring of differing thicknesses: the thicker the ring, the more expensive a ticket is), users per day, total length of each system and even a simple chronological ordering of each line opening for the larger systems. I especially like the length comparisons to other long things in Europe at the bottom right.
The English translations are somewhat imperfect (I’m presuming it read a lot better in the original Italian), but everything is pretty understandable, as a good infographic should be!
However, there is one major flaw with this graphic: the large circles around each city are labelled as “radius”, which leads me to expect that the circle shows the relative geographic size of each system. However, it actually uses the entire system length as the radius, which is almost entirely pointless and greatly exaggerates the relative size of the systems. For example, London’s “radius” is shown as a massive 402km (250 miles), when the actual maximum geographical radius is closer to 30km (18.5 miles). Paris’ incredibly dense Metro network (almost all contained within the Boulevard Périphérique) suddenly becomes a huge circle that gives little idea of the system’s tight spacing. It’s a strange design decision that distorts the data underlying the graphic badly, in my opinion.
Paris Metro / French Knot
Nicely executed embroidery and framing - a fun idea for something to do with those metro maps you picked up while backpacking around Europe!
Historical Map: Pocket Book Paris Métro Map, 1961
Altogether rather lovely.
(Source: Rumbling Jessie/Flickr)
Historical Map: Paris Métro Ligne 12 Strip Map
Here’s a beautiful old strip map of the Paris Métro’s Ligne 12, which runs from Mairie d’Issy to Porte de la Chapelle. This map is located in one of the few remaining old Sprague-Thomson cars, once the workhorse of the Métro.
The fact that Rennes station is crossed out dates the map from between World War II, when it was closed, and September 1968, when it was (finally) reopened. Judging by the general aesthetics and design of the map, I would definitely place this map at the beginning of that time frame, possibly even still during war-time.
(Source: Cortez77_fr /Flickr)