In honour of Bastille Day, we’re celebrating one of the most enduring symbols of France: The Paris Metro. Originally designed as a 9 line network, the Paris Metro now consists of 16 lines, 301 stations, and 214 km of track. It carries approximately 4.5 million passengers a day and is the second-busiest metro system in Europe after Moscow. It is at once a daily necessity, a living history, and a microcosm of Paris itself. From the dark and dingy to the sleek and modern, the Paris Metro sees crowds from all walks of life.
Hidden within the intricacies of the system are a few “ghost” stations: the places where the Metro does not stop. The mystery of these abandoned stations has proved to strong a pull for many urban explorers, who take to the tracks at night to visit them. There are also walking tours conducted by the Association D’Exploitation du Matériel Sprague. Currently there are 5 stations unused; three were closed when France entered World War II and two were constructed but never opened to the public. Some would shelter up to 2000 people per night during the war, and others were closed due to their proximity to Paris’ most famous monuments. Most recently, Saint-Martin station was used to market the film Prometheus. It was transformed to mimic the caves in the film and metro riders would see the film’s landscape as their train flew by the station without stopping. Check out the video below: