Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Public Art

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.  


Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

I love the Métro and all its many stations. Sure there are some that look just like the last one, but even the ones that have been refurbished have tell-tale signs of the past.

I bought a book about the Métro recently with more information than I ever imagined... just fascinating.

Pepe Le Pew said...

I'm pretty sure if they did this in America it would just be lyrics to a Beyonce song.

Anonymous said...

The drafting of the Declaration of the Rights of Man, had Thomas Jefferson as his main consultant. At the begining he said no for obvious reason. He was a diplomat, living under French skies. But those drafters were among his dearest friends and he finally said yes (Jefferson was always defying whatever). Happy Hanukkah, Anne. Love this post! Maria O. Russell

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