On June 19, 1900, the Paris Metro began operations on Line 1 after two years of construction. It was France's first subway system and was said to symbolize a country at the forefront technologically, worldwide. The metro has been updated over the years but remains one of the most modern transit systems in Europe.
The project was proposed by French President Émile Loubet in an effort to relieve congestion on Paris's roads. He appointed a committee composed of members of the Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques to come up with solutions for transporting people around the city. The group's report recommended a subway line be built between Palais and Madeleine because it would be useful for tourists as well as residents. Construction started in 1898 and the line opened six years later. It is now considered a world-class engineering achievement.
The original line was just under 3 km (1.9 miles) long and had 12 stations. Today, the Paris Metropolitain has more than 200 stations running across the city center and surrounding suburbs. It is the largest transport network in terms of distance covered annually, with 30 million passengers transported daily.
The first section of the line, from Châtelet to Montmartre, opened on October 27, 1900.
The world's first subway, which opened in 1863, was built in London. It was 314 miles long, with engines burning coal in the tunnels to drive the trains! Until 1891, when a subway line was established in Glasgow, Scotland, London was the only city in the world without a subway.
The subway in Boston was the first in the United States, and it is commonly referred to as "America's First Subway" by the MBTA and others. The Tremont Street Subway, the forerunner to the Green Line, opened in 1897 and 1898.
The Paris Metro was founded in 1900. The building process began in 1898. The line was finished on June 15th and officially opened to the public on July 19th. It took nearly 70 years to build a network this large in France!
The first section of the metro, from Châtelet to Mont-Christophe, opened on time in 1900. In fact it was such an impressive sight that many people believed it must be a miracle train! Today, this old line is called the "métro glissant" (gliding rail) because it uses magnetic tracks instead of rails.
The second section, from Mont-Christophe to La Défense, opened six months later on March 29th, 1901. This line used standard rails and had more than 20 stations. It was also much longer than the first line so it could accommodate more passengers.
In fact, it was such a success that soon after it opened, the company wanted to extend it even further. But there were political problems with this plan so they decided to build another line instead. On September 10th, 1903, the third section opened from La Défense to Versailles Château de la Muette.
The Metropolitain (Metro) subway lines of Paris, which initially opened in 1900, are notable for their speed and frequency. Lines have been extended into the suburbs for many years, and in 1998, a new, completely automated line was completed to service the city's core neighborhoods. The system has had several name changes over the years: "Metropolitain" means "Metropolitan," and this term was originally applied only to the RER commuter rail system. But when the Métro began serving central Paris too, the word took on broader meanings.
The original metro systems were built for horses and carriages. They used to be called "métro" (a short form of "metro-rail") because they ran underground. Today, these old lines are called "old métro."
The first true metro line in Paris is still operating today. It starts at Porte Maillot and runs along the banks of the Seine to Pont de l'Alma at an altitude of 75 feet (23 m). The line was built by Louis-Augustin Alouette in 1853 and is now named after it, le Métro du Louvre.
Hector Guimard, an architect and notable Art Nouveau designer, was tasked with designing the Metro station entrances. There are many different styles used by Guimard for his signage, but the most popular ones are the Art Deco style and the Modernism style.
During World War II, when gas shortages prevented the construction of additional lines, parts of the Metro were taken over by the German army. After the war, the system was rebuilt by Josep Lluís Núñez.
In 1982, the system had more than 6 million passengers per day. In 2004, this number had dropped to about 5 million people per day. However, the use of bicycles as a means of transportation has increased in recent years which could be why passenger numbers have declined even though there are more cars on the roads today than ever before.
The next modernization plan is expected to begin construction in 2021 and is planned to take 10 years to complete.
In conclusion, the Paris Metro was created in 1900 and will be around for at least another 100 years.
It is a good idea to learn how to ride the metro when visiting Paris (subway). The Paris Metro, with 301 stations, is one of the world's most comprehensive underground transit networks. The trains start about 5:30 a.m. and continue till 1:15 a.m. (and around 2:00am on Friday and Saturday). There are also night buses that run along almost all of the same routes at 20-minute intervals.
You can buy single tickets at any metro station ticket window for €1.90 ($2.50) or weekly tickets for €12.70 ($15). Children under 10 travel free. Ticket machines sometimes don't work, so it's best to buy your ticket from a seller at a booth.
The metro has three classes of service: local, regional, and long-distance. Local buses go within a small zone, such as between Eiffel Tower and Champs-Élysées. They are quick and convenient but often crowded. Some locals buses stop at only some stations, so check the signs carefully. Regional buses connect two large cities or areas with similar prices. For example, bus RER runs between Charles de Gaulle Airport and Paris city center every five minutes during rush hour and costs €13 ($16). Long-distance buses take you far away from central Paris, such as to Normandy or Belgium.
You can pay using cash, debit card, or credit card.