16 Paris Metro stations with absolutely incredible designs

The Paris Metro has some absolutely wonderful designs in its metro stations. Many pay homage to the history or the culture of the area.

Arts et Metiers is a copper-plated, steampunk tunnel, evoking the museum of craft and invention. Cité is illuminated by art deco street lamps. Concorde even has the French constitution spelled out in individual tiles along its walls.

There are over 300 stations in the Paris Metro network, and although many follow a similar format, there are some true gems to be found.

I love the art and design of the Paris metro. Here are 16 of the most stunning designs!

Many metro platforms follow the same format; a short concave tunnel tiled with slick white tiles, brightly coloured seats and lots of advertising. But some of them have been redesigned into aesthetic wonders to make an ordinary commute extraordinary. It could be easy to overlook some of these when you’re in a hurry, so make sure you check out some of these!

The basic layout of a Paris metro station

1. Cadet (line 7)

In this small station you are wrapped in the first incarnation of the American flag, a tribute to their allies and friends across the ocean. This is a stunning metro station to behold, as ribbons of red white and blue race from ceiling to floor.

stars and stripes in a paris metro station
The American flag sprawling over the ceiling at Cadet station
a patris station with red and white decorations
Stars and stripes, Cadet

2. Varenne (line 13)

As an homage to the nearby Musee de Rodin, Varenne metro station adds a touch of class with a pair of huge sculptures, one resembling Rodin’s famous ‘Thinker’ sculpture.

varenne metro station sign
The thinker, Varenne

3. Liege (line 13)

Across from the platform in Liege are a series of murals arranged with painted tiles honouring the Belgian town of Liege, and the battering that it heroically withstood during WW1. The station was previously known as Berlin but changed with the onset of the great war.

a subway station with art on the walls
Murels in Liege

4. Bastille (line 1, 5 and 8)

Bastille has an above ground platform full of colour and life. Figures spring out of the walls in lively 3D murels, an homage to day to day life of France of yesterday and it’s people. Some famous Parisian figures make an appearance, as do jugglers, musicians, soldiers, miners, farmers, nobles and many more.

painting of a man at bastille train station
One of the figures of Bastille station
bastille metro public art
More characters, Bastille metro
bastille station metro art
Jugglers, musicians and other artisans

5. Arts et metiers (line 3 and 11)

Arts et Metiers might be the best Paris metro station to board a train, and in honour of the museum of the same name above ground, the interior has become a Jules Verne Victorian era submarine. The walls are burnt copper fastened with rivets. The ceiling is alive with cogs and wheels. Garbage bins and seats in matching copper and portholes in the walls complete the fantastic illusion of this excellent station.

a
The submarine look of the brilliant Arts et Metiers metro
wooden chairs and a metal wall in a paris station
Even the chairs have been styled. Brilliant.
arts et metiers metro station with gears and cogs artwork
The cogs and gears on the ceiling

6. Réaumur – Sébastopol (line 3 and 4)

Also paying homage to the Arts et Metiers museum, Reaumur Sebastopol is never short of a crowd, with life-sized commuters painted onto the walls.

reaumur sebastopol station in paris with public artwork
Réaumur – Sébastopol. Try and spot which people are real and which aren’t. Difficult, huh!

7. Pont Neuf (line 7)

While you’re underground waiting for your train in Pont Neuf, above ground the museum of money is raging. But don’t despair, part of the collection can still be enjoyed as giant coins crawl up the walls and onto the ceiling. If you stand alone on the platform and look up at the ceiling, the effect is really cool, and feels like something from Alice in Wonderland!

coin sculptures on the ceiling of a paris metro
Pont Neuf with money sculptures on the ceiling
sculptures of coins on the wall of pont neuf metro station
Trainside view of Pont Neuf

8. Tuileries (line 1)

Bored at Tuileries? Impossible. Stretching along the walls are a brief history of the last 100 years complete with pictures and descriptions. There’s always something to learn at Tuileries.

a paris metro station with a picture of an astronaut
We landed on the moon!!
a paris metro with lots of pictures on the wall
Arc de Triomphe cameo

9. Concorde (line 1, 8 and 12)

The giant find-a-word. Every white tile has a different letter, spelling in an unbroken stream phrases from the French constitution. The end result is pretty cool.

scrabble tile walls of concorde metro station
Concorde metro station walls
paris metro station with letters on the white tiles
The letters coming across the whole ceiling

10. Hôtel de ville (line 1 and 11)

As the mayor of Paris conducts his business at the Hôtel de Ville above our heads, in the metro station below, among bits and pieces of decoration is a massive costs of arms of the city of Paris. It also shows some history of the metro system on various plaques.

paris coat of arms on a paris metro wall
The Paris coat of arms in Hotel de Ville

11. Parmentier (line 3)

The theme is potatoes, oddly. Parmentier is named for Antoine-Augustine Parmentier, the frenchman who pushed to introduce the potato as a staple food throughout France and Europe.

a paris metro station with a wooden lattice on the wall
Some potato information in Parmentier

12. Jaurès (lines 2, 5 and 7)

Above ground Jaurès with its breezy open air, art deco design and stained glass windows give the station an airy lightness.

jaures metro station coloured glass windows
The stained glass windows of Jaures

13. Chaussee d’antin la Fayette (line 7 and 9)

A busy station near mega shopping area La Fayette, and nothing special to behold if you’re focused on the designer shopping bags in your hands…but look up a the ceiling. A la Sistine Chapel, the great murals above are a blue sky of French portraiture.

lafayette metro station art display on the ceiling
Ceiling art, La Fayette
lafayette metro station artwork painted on the ceiling
A huge figure on the ceiling of the station

14. Cité (line 4)

The art nouveau street lamps with their low-hanging globes of soft light lend to Cité metro station an elegance, and a gentlemanly sophistication reminiscent of a time not too long ago. The light bounces off the polished tiled ceiling and slick floor to great effect.

light globes in a paris metro station
Cite of lights

15. Cluny – La Sorbonne (line 10)

There are two cool things about Cluny – la Sorbonne. Firstly, there are no advertisements. This gives the station a pure, clean look, and also accentuates the second cool thing, the sparkling tiled mosaics above, flying across the ceiling like frozen birds of pastel blues, yellows and purples. The names of notable artisits, writers, philosophers and other Frenchmen of importance in the Latin quarter are signed on the ceiling as well.

a paris metro with
The mosaic tiles of Cluny
a mosaic design on the walls of a paris train station
A great bird. Or a prawn.

16. Assemblée Nationale (line 12)

Another station with no advertising, the blue walls and big white spots of Assemblée Nationale allow this huge cartoon cowhide to be freed for admiration without obstruction.

a large white circle painted against a blue background in the paris metro
Modern art. Or an egg.
white and blue public art on a paris metro station
Spots on the wall of the metro station

What do you think is the coolest Paris metro station? Let me know in the comments below!


6 thoughts on “16 Paris Metro stations with absolutely incredible designs

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