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Arts et Métiers: a hidden wonder of the Paris Métro

Arts Et Metiers signage

Sci-fi nerds unite! Arts et Métiers is surely a contender for the title of the ‘world’s most surreal subway station’.

Arts et Métiers is a Métro station that you’re less likely to visit than most. It’s nestled away on Line 11, one of the shortest lines on the Paris Métro, and is starkly lacking in tourist attractions along its woefully short route. The station also serves Line 3, which too finds itself somewhat threadbare on the tourist attraction front.

We came across this delightful Métro station recently purely by chance, having booked a hotel in Paris a couple of stops away, just a little further along Métro Line 11.

Arts et Metiers on the Metro Map

Arts et Métiers is named after the nearby Musée des Arts et Métiers, a museum dedicated to preserving scientific instruments and inventions. The station was redesigned in 1994 by François Schuiten to celebrate the bicentenary of the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers, an elite French higher education institution located in the centre of Paris.

The station was redesigned in a ‘steampunk’ style to mark the occasion, echoing the futuristic sci-fi works of French poet, novelist and playwright, Jules Verne.

Arts et Metiers platforms

The Line 11 platforms are most definitely the main attraction at Arts et Métiers, with the Line 3 platforms being far more ‘run of the mill’ in terms of their appearance. Copper panelling, portholes and gigantic, useless cogs suspended from the ceiling create the illusion that you’ve stepped back in time, into some Victorian mechanical dystopia.

Dimmed lighting, copper-toned bins and seating all come together to add to the effect, in addition to some of the intricate gadgets you’ll find if you take a look inside the portholes.

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Whether you’re a sci-fi nerd, steampunk aficionado, randomly-decorated subway station seeker or something else entirely, Arts et Métiers is worth a visit. Even if it’s just for a blast on the equally delightful and wonderfully-bouncy MP59 rubber-tyred Métro stock.

Can you think of anywhere more…unique…than Arts et Métiers? Let us know in the comments below, or drop us a tweet – @transportdsn.

Image credits: LoicJackDious and Chris Waits on Flickr.

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