Paris: Top 7 subway stations of your favorite movies and series

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Inaugurated in 1900, the metropolitan network, nearly 220 km long, has sixteen lines and serves 302 stations: welcome to the belly of Paris!
Reality/Fiction Subway stations

The Paris subway, an underground city

The Parisian subway is so big, that you can easily make a second Paris just underground. Discover these atypical stations, and find them in the Paris guide of the 1000 cult places of films, series, music, comics and novels.

Arts et Métiers

Arts et Métiers subway station - Photo credit: Fantrippes
Arts et Métiers subway station – Photo credit: Fantrippes

In Sense8 the superb and atypical Arts et métiers subway station is the scene of a fight between Will and the mysterious person following them from the Abbesses metro station. It is one of the few RATP stations that do not have advertising on its platforms.

It’s like twenty thousand places under the earth. The Arts et Métiers station immerses the traveller in a submarine with apparent cogs, a Nautilus lined with copper – the only material used – a feeling reinforced by the presence, on the quays, of portholes opening onto small-scale scenography. Unveiled in 1994 on the occasion of the bicentenary of the National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts, this packaging is the work of screenwriter Benoît Peeters and cartoonist François Schuiten, authors of the series Les Cités Obscures and Revoir Paris.


Bir-Hakeim - Last Tango in Paris
Bir-Hakeim – Last Tango in Paris

In Last Tango in Paris, while the main characters meet under the bridge of the aerial subway, the Bir-Hakeim station is the scene of a heated discussion between Jeanne and Tom (Jean-Pierre Léaud). The two fiancés first argue on either side of the track and then end up falling into each other’s arms. Jean-Pierre Léaud was one of François Truffaut’s favourite actors. The director had him play the role of Antoine Doinel on several occasions.

Crossing the Seine on line 6 of the subway which takes the Bir-Hakeim bridge is highly recommended. Opened in 1906 under the name of Grenelle, renamed Bir-Hakeim in 1949 when the Passy viaduct also underwent a change in civil status, the aerial subway station gained the subtitle Eiffel Tower in 1998, as it is only 650 metres away. Renovated in 2008, it has since been home to Night and Day, a double stained glass window at each end of the canopy, the work of American artist Judy Ledgerwood.


Pont-Neuf metro station - The Lovers on the Bridge
Pont-Neuf metro station – The Lovers on the Bridge

In The Lovers on the Bridge, Alex discovers and then burns the wanted posters concerning Michèle in this station. It serves the Hôtel de la Monnaie, a building whose important role is recalled as soon as you arrive by metro.

You’ll get your money’s worth in this station serving the Pont-Neuf and the Hôtel de la Monnaie, the headquarters of the French mint. Enormous rooms indeed decorate the walls, even escaping from the frames that shelter them to line the vault above the tracks. An old monetary pendulum, used to mint coins from the 16th to the 19th century, the famous golden Louis d’or in particular, and two showcases displaying coins, real ones, are also arranged on the quays. A real heritage treasure.


In Subway, in order to spot the thief, the superintendent (Michel Galabru) is undercover in this station. Opened in 1900, it suffered its very first accident three months later, the first on the network, when two trains collided. The RATP had sent a representative during the filming. The team sometimes had to be skillful in shooting scenes showing the subway in an unfavourable light.

A little reading? Immerse yourself in the letters reproduced on the earthenware tiles of the Concorde station, on line 12: they form the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of 1789. This ceramic work, dating from 1991, is one of the many works by the Belgian artist-plastician Françoise Schein dealing with civic themes. These concerns are also expressed in the Parvis de Saint-Gilles station in Brussels, Parque station in Lisbon or Westhafen station in Berlin.


Abbesses metro station - Sense8
Abbesses metro station – Sense8

In Sense8, located 36 m underground, this station is the deepest of the Paris subway. It is from this one that Riley Blue and Will leave to go to this place where there is a magnificent merry-go-round. The two characters leave by the same subway station and are followed. Later, that’s also where Sun was arrested, before being rescued, in extremis, by Mun.

One hundred and seventy-six is the number of steps you will have to climb from the platforms to the Abbesses metro exit. The deepest station in the Parisian network is indeed 36 m below the surface. In order to make the ascent more enjoyable, and to mark the station’s renovation in 2007, RATP commissioned fifteen original works from the “Paris-Montmartre” artists’ association. For those who would not want to use the spiral staircase, it is possible to take one of the two elevators that were put into service in 1999 and can carry up to 100 passengers each.

Lilac Door

Metro station Porte des Lilas cinema - Photo Wikimedia Commons by Yann Caradec
Metro station Porte des Lilas cinema – Photo Wikimedia Commons by Yann Caradec

In Nox, this station, closed to the public since 1939, is popular with filmmakers. Most of them choose to turn there because they do not have the same constraints as in real conditions, and RATP even provides them with metro trains with a driver. It can only be visited once a year: in September, during Heritage Days.

She called herself Abbesses in Amélie and Supercondriaque, Gare de l’Est in Une époque formidable, Concorde in Female Agents, Opéra in A bout portant and Boissière in the video clip for That’s My People by rap group Suprême NTM. Closed to the public since 1939, one of the stations of La Porte des Lilas has become a famous movie set, serving as a set for the shooting of films, clips and commercials. Known as “Porte des Lilas – Cinéma”, it allows old Sprague-Thomson cars as well as rubber-tyred models to travel for almost a kilometre to Haxo, another “ghost station”.


Buttes-Chaumont metro station - Photo Wikimedia Commons by Maurits90
Buttes-Chaumont metro station – Photo Wikimedia Commons by Maurits90

In Irreversible, Marcus (Vincent Cassel), Alex (Monica Bellucci) and Pierre (Albert Dupontel) discuss sex in this subway station, and more specifically Alex’s experiences with each of the two characters. The film used more than 1,500 digital tricks, due to the large number of shots on which there were still a few misfires (microphones in the field, shadows, etc.). Despite its very touristy location, this station is only positioned at the 299th place out of 302 of the busiest metro stations in Paris.

With its 507,867 annual passengers in 2013, this station is one of the least frequented in the Parisian network. The construction of line 7 bis, which serves it, was no easy task, however, since it was necessary to cross old quarries, sometimes roughly filled in, under the Buttes-Chaumont Park.

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The Paris guide to the 1000 cult places of films, series, music, comics and novels

The Paris guide to the 1000 cult places of films, series, music, comics and novels

The coolest guide in Paris!

The café of Amélie, the mansion of Untouchables, the jazz club of the finale of La La Land, the Hôtel du Nord of the mythical replica of Arletty “Atmosphere”, the cinema of A bout de souffle, the restaurant of Ratatouille, the quays of the Seine of Midnight in Paris, the secret places of the Da Vinci Code, the grocery store of January in La Traversée de Paris , the Bridge of Inception and Peur sur la ville, the addresses of the spectacular scenes of Mission Impossible 6, but also series Call my agent, Gears, Le Bureau des légendes, Sense8, Sex and The City, Gossip Girl…

Etienne Daho’s Café de Flore, Jay-Z and Kanye West’s hotel in Nas in Paris, Serge Gainsbourg’s Poinçonneur des Lilas metro station, Serge Reggiani and Marc Lavoine’s Mirabeau Bridge, Mc Solaar’s Lyon station…

The places evoked in the comics Adèle Blanc-Sec, Largo Winch, Blake and Mortimer, Michel Vaillant…

But also in the novels of Ernest Hemingway, Victor Hugo, Leo Malet, Daniel Pennac, Marc Levy, Guillaume Musso… you’ll find all the must-see places of Parisian Pop Culture in this new guide.

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By Damien Duarte

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Passionné par la culture pop depuis son enfance, ses références vont de Donald Duck à Batman en passant par Marty McFly. Fantripper dans l'âme, voyager sur les traces de Ghostbusters, James Bond ou des héros de romans comme Cotton Malone fait partie d'un séjour idéal et réussi !

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