So last week before I found out about my grant, I wrote a huge post about some things that have been on my mind since we returned from France. It was epically long so I chopped it down into smaller tidbits. Today’s post is about the Paris metro system!
It’s no secret that public transportation in the US is not amazing. Sure, big cities seem to have their act together but as a whole, it’s really hard to get around most places without a car. I know because I went through college, my year in NM, and my first year of grad school before I finally got a car… Anyway, the metro system in Paris is excellent and really easy to use. One metro pass will put you on any of the metro lines throughout the city (transfers included) or on a bus or on a tram (kind of like an above ground subway). Depending on the kind of ticket you bought, the ticket could also put you on one of the express trains that go just outside Paris to the airport, Versailles, etc. Inside each metro station, the lines that stop there are diagrammed according to direction and the stops. For example, let’s pretend you wanted to take the Chicken line west across the US. You would follow the signs for Chicken San Francisco (because that’s where the Chicken line ends up) and then right at the entrance for the Chicken San Francisco Line would be a diagram of all the stops between your current station and San Francisco. That way, if you weren’t sure if you wanted Chicken San Francisco or Chicken New York City, you could look at the stops and determine if you were going in the right direction. So easy!
I actually found riding the metro a lot of fun (I think I am weird…). I loved sitting in the car jamming to Rodrigo y Gabriela on my iPhone and watching the passengers get on and get off (and sometimes risk getting squished in the doors right as they were closing). It was fun with Cobalt too – I planned all the metro trips for everywhere we wanted to go and it worked out really nicely most of the time. Also, I also loved the variety of passes available for the metro. You could buy just one ticket, a pack of ten, or one of the fancier passes. Shown here is a picture of the two passes Cobalt and I had. He got the Paris Visite pass, which is slightly expensive but worth it if you’re going to only be in Paris for 5 days or less and if you’re going to be doing a lot of traveling on the metro (you can choose 3 or 5 days). I got the Navigo Découverte pass, which is good for 7 days and is slightly more of a pain to get (I had to speak French to the guy in the information booth to ask for my pass, I had to get my picture taken for it, and I had to pay for the smart card, which you just wave over the sensor). However, it turns out to be slightly cheaper than the Visite pass and (best part) it’s rechargable. So when I go back, I can just recharge my pass and voila! Metro time! :D Both passes are modifiable (for example, do you want to just ride the metro in Paris or do you want to also be able to go outside of Paris without buying another ticket?) and really easy to use. Once I got my Navigo Découverte pass and could stop using tickets, I was totally hooked. Seriously, I didn’t have to stress out about running out of tickets and I got to hear the machines ding brightly upon sensing my smart card sensor in my pass which never failed to make me smile. I was sad to put the pass away when we got back to the US… It’s true that, as a student at CU, I actually have a smart card bus pass for getting around Boulder and Denver too but for some reason it’s just not the same… (I should note though that the title of my post comes from the airport train here in Denver, not in Paris).
What are you guys up to right now? Anything you want me to talk about? Honestly, I have so much I could say but I am at a loss as to where to start…