“The metro connects the city like a spider web moving millions of people every day,
No stop is quite the same,
Paris has a whole city underneath your feet
Immersive yourself in the culture of France by reading history from the ground up.”
The entirety of the Paris Métro system has sixteen lines, with Line 13 being one of the most popular ones used by residents and visitors in Paris. Line 13 opened on February 26th, 1911 and went from Saint-Lazare to Saint-Ouen. Today, it is the longest line on the metro and splits into two branches that are located in the north of the city. The northernmost branches of the line were built due to the high concentration of people living in the suburbs that needed to get closer to the town. Every day, it carries more than half a million riders across Paris, with most directed to its most popular station: Saint-Lazare.
One of the significant concerns regarding this line is overcrowding, primarily since so many individuals use it and it is not maintained like other lines in the system, such as Line 1 and 6. Passengers often have to wait for several trains to pass before being able to find space on one. In December of 2003, Line 14 was extended to Saint-Lazare because of the number of people demanding to use the station. As a result of the extension, more passengers came flooding through. While the number of trains increased, so did the number of passengers, and perpetuated the same problem that was occurring before the extension. Three years later, 80 trains were added, and coordination within the line of the train system allowed the time of the trains to be reduced by ten seconds. Recently, with the construction of the Stade de France, a new soccer stadium, around the stop of Placide Saint-Denis, more workers have begun using the trains to get to and from the stadium that employs them. Whenever a significant tourist attraction opens up, it attracts potential business to the region, which is what’s happening with the stadium. Line 13 is customarily expected to have more consumer traffic during rush hour, and for the future, there is hope to expand the line to reach a wide variety of stops and use new methods to reduce commuting time
History: The stop was named Invalides because of the museums and monuments found within the area that is dedicated to France’s military history. The museum of the French army is more commonly referred to as Hotel National des Invalides. The structure was built by Louis XIV, who constructed it with the intention of it being a hospital and retirement home for soldiers. Now, it serves as a museum for the army and is where Napoleon is buried. Across from Invalides is the Petit and Grand Palais, which house art collected from French royalty. To get to both museums, one must cross the Seine on the Pont Alexandre III bridge, which featured golden decorations and was built for the World’s Fair in 1900.
-Musée de l’Armée
-Carts selling crepes
-Large patches of green grass
-People having picnics on the lawns
-Views of the Eiffel Tower
Cultural Exchanges: Upon arrival at the station, I noticed that there was a statue honoring Simón Bolívar, the Venezuelan general who tried to conquer all of South America, much like Napoleon. The same ideas that inspired the toppling of the monarchy and expansion of France inspired Simón Bolívar to free South America and unite them under the Gran Colombia. The statue is the fourth of its kind and was offered by the countries of Latin America to France on the centennial anniversary of Simón Bolívar’s death. Along the side of the street, embassies were lining the road up to the Musée de l’Armée. The one that stood out to me the most was the Colombian embassy since the flag was waving right outside the building. Within France, there are 672 embassies, with Colombia only having one embassy in the entire country, and it was located here. There was also a statue of Winston Churchill right in front of the Petit Palais. He was remembered for being the Prime Minister of England during World War II. This area honors individuals for their accomplishments during times of war. It’s a cultural mixture of military leaders, and inside the museum, it is evident that the history of other countries is also present.
Economic Observation: The station itself was technically advanced. It had doors lining the platforms to ensure that people would not fall off. This type of movement is seen in areas were individuals use the metro most or where incidents have occurred regarding people falling off the station platform. Since the area houses the Musée de l’Armée, it has to be kept in pristine condition. The grass is cut, there are perfectly lined trees, and the bridge that goes over the river has gold decorations in the architecture. There are two museums that contain vast amounts of art, making it a popular destination for tourists. The presence sees the number of money invested in this area of companies, such as Air France, who have office buildings located nearby.
Champs Elysee Clémenceau
History: This stop was named after George Clemenceau, who was the prime minister of France during WW1. He is most notably known for this strict stance on Germany following the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. To the north of the Metro, an exit is the Elysee Palace, which is where the current President of France, Emanuelle Macron lives. To the West of the Metro station lies the Arc de Triomphe which was built by Napoleon Bonaparte to commemorate his fallen soldiers. At the round point of the Champs de Elysee, there is a giant pole like fountains that were designed by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec. They have lights at night so that they can brighten the path like Swarovski crystals. The restoration of these fountains comes about as a result of the recent events happening on the Champ De Elysee with the “gilets Jaunes” or yellow jackets protest. They are protesting for an increase in the minimum wage, more affordable living conditions, and cheaper gas prices. The protests have taken place along this street, which is symbolic because the Arc de Triomphe is a monument honoring soldiers and right down the road is the residence of the president. If these individuals continue to protest, it can cause tourism near the area to decrease for fear of getting caught in the crossfire. The city seeks to restore some of its original glamour instead of the protests that have taken place there.
-High-end stores: such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Tom Ford, Longchamp
-Affordable stores: Zara, McDonald’s, Nike, H&M, Levi’s
-Water art exhibits that had water running into a fountain through pipes
Cultural Exchanges: This stop contains lots of tourism because they are drawn to the variation in stores. For a store to be seen as legitimate throughout the world, publicity needs to have a store on this well-known street. Here there is a clash of fashion and restaurant rands from all over the world, and tourists visit from all walks of life. Originally the Champs de Elysees wanted to reserve its high-class status with its brands. Therefore the committee (Comité Champs-Élysées) voted in the early 2000s against having chain brands. However, now the committee has allowed commercial chains on the avenue. Even though stores from the United States, the UK, and Italy, to name a few have broken the market, the Champs de Elysee continues to preserve its Parisian culture. It does so by highlighting its soccer team with a Paris Saint Germain store and hosting events such as the Tour de France. Colombians from all over the world came to watch the actual game in which Egan Bernal a Colombian won the Tour de France earlier this week.
Economic Observations:This part of the city is exceptionally wealthy because it houses the Arc de Triomphe a significant tourist attraction, so its upkeep is essential for tourism. Around the arc is a circular traffic loop because it connects vital roads within Paris. They have art exhibitions on display, which indicates they had a sufficient amount of funds to pay an artist for an installation. Moreover, the stores pay a high amount of money to be on display at this street so the outside must be clean and presentable to clients. It is one of the most well-known streets in the world, and diplomats and presidents often pass through this area
History: This is the last stop on line 13 of the Paris Metro Station. This stop features some of the more advanced technology regarding the metro. In June 2008 the metro started using automatic drivers and installed platform screen doors. Montrouge is a community that is located in the suburbs, and the name signifies red mountain.
-Lots of banks and investment companies
-Large store with garden supplies
-People selling cigarettes at the exit of the station
-Several women with young children
Cultural Exchanges: At this stop, I didn’t see any exchange of cultures because there was not any face to face interactions that individuals were having with each other. The stores were bigger inside, and the spatial distance between them was more substantial compared to the city. This station is the last stop on line 13. There were banks in the area, such as BNP Paribas and Credit Mutual.
Economic Observations: This area had more commercial well-known stores rather than small businesses. There wasn’t enough evidence in observations that allowed me to generate a conclusion on the economic status of this area.
History: This stop is a considerable transfer station for lines 4,6,12 and 13. In June 1933 the Paris metro station was named Bienvenüe after the engineer that designed the complexity that is the Paris Metro. This metro station connects the North and south lines which makes it the fourth largest connecting station. In 2002 the metro station added a walking escalator to make moving between sides of the station more accessible. Along the walls are giant posters promoting environmentally friendly accomplishments of France, and facts about environmental conservation. This area was once infamous for its exemption on the tax on alcohol, and it attracted people to its glamorous dancing halls. Germans, Russians, and Americans immigrated to the area. Around the time of the Great Depression in America, people came to dance and forget their worries.
-Giant outdoor/ indoor mall
-Connecting stop with lines
-Lots of space that’s open to the sun, not many trees
-Corporate buildings with modern designs in the center of the square
-Old Parisian style architecture outside the square
Cultural Exchanges: Within this metro stop line, I didn’t see a lot of various cultures mixing. It’s an area where people are continually passing through but never really stay. The Galeries Lafayette is a shopping center that is dominated by chain retail stores, and small businesses sit outside the center. The reason as to why the building was constructed was that French President Georges Pompidou wanted to modernize the capital of France and develop its urban centers. Therefore in 1969, he approved it along with the minister of culture Andre Malraux who gave the permit.
The building was completed in 1973, and up until 2011, the Tour Maine Montparnasse Tower was the tallest building in all of France. It stands out among the Parisian skyline like the oddball out. The citizens of Paris weren’t happy with its construction and protested against making sure that other buildings were never made at this height.
Economic Observations: Exiting the station, there is a giant train station right across the street. All forms of transportation meet at this stop ranging from bikes, cars, train, and metro. Although there is movement within the area, there are not many places that people will come to stay at meaning settling down. The significant economic producers of this area are the building, a shopping center, and the small shops along the street. The industrialization of the buildings holds lots of office spaces which help to stimulate the economy of the area.
Porte de Clichy
History: This metro station is located on the outskirts of Paris towards the suburban area. It connects four arrondissements indicating that it is crucial to the flow of vehicle and bicycle traffic. During the time of the French Revolution, many of the open spaces where seized and give back to the people through the form of parks. It essentially creates an open area where people can share and communicate ideas freely and gather to play sports. However, the Martin Luther King park was a project built to transform the railways of a French company into something environmentally conservative. The park was opened in 2007 and parts of it are currently undergoing construction. The name of this metro station honors one of the last defensive walls Paris had which was known as Thiers wall, and this eventually led to the establishment of the community of Clichy.
-Tall modern buildings with glass
-Community park that had a garden
-Saw older individuals walking outside
Cultural Exchanges: One of the significant exchanges I saw here was some kids that were volunteering with adults to help clean up the park. Having people from the community help one another. This park was named after the American civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. They called it after someone who fought for the rights of African Americans in the United States who is now being commemorated in France. Having a park-like this makes people aware of the actions of Martin Luther King Jr. showing that influence transcends beyond borders.
History: This station was developed in the winter of 1937 where it was named after the famous General Joseph Marie de Pernety. He served under the command of Napoleon Bonaparte I and the stop were built upon his former property and known to have some of the most beautiful streets of Paris due to its passageways that are decorated with flowers. One of the more impressive aspects of this stop is the recent death of the neighborhoods “homeless friend” Andrè. He was often found sitting outside the Pernety metro station where he had his bike that was covered in stuffed animals. Locals of the area would take him out to eat often enjoying the conversations they had with him. After his passing, this April, his bike has been put on display tied to a street lamp where people have left flowers, stuffed animals, and left messages.
-Heard people speaking Spanish
-Alleys had flowers lining the cobblestone streets
-Paintings on the side of the walls
-Some of the homes looked Parisian while others looked like they were built much later with the way the balconies had concrete
-The entrance of the metro station was placed leading into a building. It had a sign that said metropolitan instead of the art nouveau garden theme
-An Asian restaurant
Cultural Exchanges: Here, we saw various signs of Spanish culture in the area with the playing of Spanish music, and the people speaking in Spanish. Besides that, we didn’t see many people that weren’t from France except for some individuals that worked at an Asian restaurant.
Economic Observations: The area advertised meals for as little as seven euros, and workers of the businesses stores were sitting down due to the lack of customers. They had a dollar store in the area that sold everything from household appliances to souvenirs. Inside the metro station itself, it was minimal and upon arriving there were homeless people on the steps asking for money. Overall the area itself was kept nice because of its beautiful walkways with flowers and the paintings nicely drawn on the walls. It seemed like the perfect mix between the city and suburbia because of its buildings, restaurants, and shops all mixed close together. Besides that, there were not many people present in the area, and the metro station was small, indicating it’s not a very populated stop.
Porte de Vanves
History: In 1860 Paris enlarged by annexing surrounding neighborhoods and with it it took ⅓ of Vanves. Later on, in 1883, half of Vanves was given to Malakoff making the total area smaller. This area is comprised of tall glass buildings that take a more modern look as you start moving away from Paris the architecture changes to become more advanced. Even the church that’s pictured here looks like it was built relatively recently. There was an addition of trees, parks, and basketball courts in the area indicating that it’s more of a community centered around the neighborhood.
-Several tall buildings
-Open spaces for parks
-Modern style apartments and churches
Cultural Exchanges: The Marché aux Puces de la Porte de Vanves features an outdoor market area where secondhand goods are sold. There is also a theatre nearby where plays are performed throughout the year. As of April, the district has introduced the Le Reuz coworking space that sells organic produce. The economic solidarity group undertook the project, and they provide vegetables and fruits on the season. The coolest part about this initiative is that you can order to the basket to be picked up at this location, ensuring that residents of the area have access to healthy food. Residents can order using the website upstream.
Economic Observations: This areas main attractions were the buildings it contained. It was more of a residential place where people live, but they commute throughout the rest of Paris to work. By placing all these commodities around the area, such as parks, it is likely to increase the property value.
History: This metro station sits between Gennevilers and Asieres-Sur-Seine and is named after a street above the metro station.
-Arabic language outside of businesses
-The train station was empty except for this one dog
Cultural Exchanges: A breathtaking view was the presence of religious books such as the Coran in the area and the Arabic wording on the shop signs. We walked into a pizza store to which the man told us that there were lots of Muslims that inhabit the community. When walking into a store, they sold hijabs, different books about the Islamic faith, and Middle Eastern foods. More stores sold non-French products.
Economic Observations: Upon our initial arrival to the area, we noticed that most of the shops were empty along with the streets and the metro station. The city seems to be comprised of people from different cultures and faiths, making it diverse and rich with culture, adding to the overall French culture.
Basilique de Saint-Denis
History: St. Denis basilica was built upon the grave of Saint-Denis who walked from Notre Dame to this site all while holding his head in his hands. During the French Revolution, the upper structure of the basilica was taken down by order of the French National Assembly. The structures contained lead, and it was needed to make weapons. Denis’s body was buried in 250 CE, and people began to sink French nobility here so at the last judgment they would have him on their side. Also, during the Revolution, many of these nobles had their bodies taken out of their coffins and were destroyed with lime. Right next to the church is the town hall showing the former intertwinement between the church and government offices.
-Lots of street shops across from the Basilica with an open space for set up
-Roads are filled with people instead of cars
-Several Hookah shops along the street
-Saw the stained glass light shining on the floor
Cultural Exchanges: Many of the individuals in the area looked as if they were of Asian descent. They were selling goods at discounted prices. Upon visiting the tourist information center, I was informed that there was a covered indoor market in the center of St.Denis, which is only opened on the weekends. Here cultures can exchange goods at the marketplace by selling products native to their home countries. Some shops within the market had letters in Arabic. Due to the broad volume of immigrants that live in this area, the small market is where people go to exchange ideas and experience goods from all around the world.
Economic Observations: Shops had knocked-off designer brands such as Michael Kors and Gucci. Many of the clothing stores had signs that said ten euros for a wide variety of clothes ranging from tops to bottoms and shoes. Indicating that the economic status of this area isn’t high because to make a profit, they must appeal to the consumers of the city. Most of the concrete buildings have graffiti on them with that has been transformed into artwork. The pharmacy located closest to the train station had a security guard inside of it.
Porte st Quen
History: The name port Saint Quen is honoring the 1800s their wall which led to the commune of Saint Quen. In 1860s Paris sought to enlarge itself by adding in the smaller regions around it which included Saint Quen. This metro stop is known for its giant flea market which features an assortment of antique goods relating to house appliances. It is only open three days out of the week, and to obtain a spot at this exclusive flea market sellers must sign a 3-year contract.
-Buses constantly passing through
-Bakeries that sell freshly made desserts of the country
-Talked to several owners of small businesses
Cultural Exchanges: We were able to interview the business owner of boulangerie patisserie. She explained to us that she moved into the area about five years ago and was able to develop her store into the success it’s become. Although the lady didn’t explicitly tell us where she was from, she wore a hijab. It’s interesting to see how someone who looks as if they immigrated here or have roots in other places are making French pastries instead of ones from another country.
Economic Observations: The businesses present in the area consist of basic needs that sell things such as desserts, bread, meats, etc. This indicates that the shops provide for the people of the community the necessities they require to function. There is no commercial shopping or buying in excess. The giant flea market in the region is mainly comprised of old vintage products being sold that people can’t buy anywhere else. It is primarily supported by the everyday needs of the people that live there they prefer to do shopping elsewhere.
Reflection: Going to the ten metro stops on line 13 allowed me to better understand the overall culture and economic advantage of each area. Even though most stops are close to each other, every single stop had something different to offer and was comprised of shops, stores, and people that came from all walks of life. Upon completion of this project, I learned about the various monumental structures that are well known to Paris and got to explore them in greater depth connecting the past with the present. I’ve walked the same streets as the yellow jackets, Americans during the roaring 20s, and French Revolutionaries. The culture of France radiates around the world, and the influence the world has on France radiates in line