If you've seen one Parisian metro station, you can pretty much figure that you've seen them all -- lots of white tile, concrete platform, a row of newer plastic benches or seats, and billboard sized advertisements elaborately framed. It's a look that dates back to the Métro's early days, something that the powers that be have either deliberately decided not to mess with or retained out of benign neglect. There are a few notable exceptions: the sleek space age look of the fully automated line 14, the copper encased nautically inspired version at Arts and Métiers, the reproduction of antiquities at Louvre-Rivoli, and bits of calligraphy at Cluny La Sorbonne. My favorite though is the line 12 platform at Concorde which is tiled, walls and ceilings, with the text of the Declaration of the Rights of Man. It's not easy to capture with an unsophisticated camera but that never stopped me in the past.
I wouldn't recommend trying to read the entire declaration while you're standing on the platform. And where would you even start? But picking out the words isn't a bad way to pass the time while you wait for the next train.
For a long time, we were just another typical Washington, DC family: two policy-oriented jobs, two kids, and two cars. Out of the blue, my husband got a new assignment; we ditched the old jobs and the cars (but kept the kids) and headed to Paris for what started out to be a three-year, and eventually became a four-year tour.