The Paris Métro is often... generally... sometimes... maybe never considered to be one of the better city underground transport systems out there. I've ridden the Tube in London, the NYC subway, BART in San Francisco, and the "T" in Boston, and I'd probably rank the Paris Métro somewhere in the middle (mainly because it could be a lot cleaner) if I were grading ONLY the central metro system, but if I had to include the RER as well, that would automatically downgrade my rating since the RER trains, which criss-cross downtown Paris and then go out to the suburbs, are just run-down and antiquated. I think New York's subway is the worst and I do everything I can to avoid using it when I'm in the city; I find it confusing to navigate, dirty AND scary. The Tube's not bad once you get used to it but the narrow round trains make me feel claustrophobic. I guess BART and the "T" were two of the better ones, at least in my experience, which in both cases was admittedly more than 10 years ago.
Although overall I think the Paris system is reasonably efficient, and once you understand how to find your way from Point A to Point B, I think it's quite easy to get wherevern you're going, there are still times when riding the Métro can become an exercise in guerrilla warfare and survival of the fittest. Which is why I choose the bus whenever I can spare the extra travel time.
Well, I came across an article about surviving the Paris métro that had me in stitches, but in order to share it I have had to translate it, since it was in French.
So... here's the original Buzzfeed article.
And here's my translation of each bullet point. I think #5 and #6 are my favorites.
15 of the most symbolic moments on the Paris Métro (a.k.a. the 15 worst moments of our day)
- When Line 4 arrives at Châtelet on Monday mornings
- When you try to board the metro train but there is no more room
- When the old lady sitting next to you gives you a dirty look because you dared to lightly (and unavoidably) touch her
- When you spell pee at 8am
- When someone sneezes next to you
- When a seat become available
- When a violinist/accordion player/karaoke singer boards the train right next to you
- When you hear "Traffic has slowed on Line 4" (which is, like, ALWAYS)
- When a couple is kissing in the metro like they're on a beach in Bali at sunset
- When you cross paths with some happy and innocent tourists, their arms full of shopping bags from Ladurée and a look full of hope
- When someone tries to converse with you in the metro
- When the metro is empty and you can put your feet up on the seat opposite you
- When someone sits right next to you even though the train is totally empty
- When you act strangely on purpose to put off any would-be aggressors
- When you finally get off the metro, clean and safe.