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Guimard style MÉTROPOLITAIN signpost

The Art of Paris Métro Signs and Entrances

Discovering Paris on foot includes the notion of enjoying the Paris Métro and this article is dedicated to the elegant Paris Métro signs that steal the Eiffel Tower’s show. Discovering Paris includes discovering the beauty of its Métro.

MÉTRO Signs

There are many different types of Métro signs. Some stations even have unique signs. All are attractive in their design.

Lamp atop a MÉTRO sign on a red background

This type of Paris Métro sign consists of a globe-shaped lamp atop a “MÉTRO” sign featuring bold typography on a red background.

Val d’Osne

The Val d’Osne variant is surrounded by an ornate cast-iron frieze.

Paris Metro Sign.jpg
Paris Metro Sign” by Fabio VenniFlickr. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Commons.

Dervaux, Art Déco

The Dervaux variant follows the contemporary trend away from decorative embellishment.

Dervaux art déco style Métro signpost beside le Bon Marché
Dervaux art déco style Métro signpost beside le Bon Marché

Lamarck Caulaincourt

The following variant can only be found on the pavement with an arrow directing people to Lamarck Caulaincourt Métro station.

Candelabre Lamarck Caulaincourt

Vaneau

The following type of Métro signs can only be found at Vaneau station.

Vaneau underground station

Special Métro signs at Vaneau station illuminated at night

Metro vaneau

MÉTRO signs on a red background without a lamp

Franklin Roosevelt

The following type of Métro signpost can only be found at Franklin Roosevelt station.

Le Métro

See Also: Interior design of Franklin D. Roosevelt station

MÉTRO sign in red

Place Monge

The following type of Métro sign in red between two arches can only be found at Place Monge station.

Station Place-Monge.JPG
« Station Place-Monge » par LPLTTravail personnel. Sous licence CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Blue-Themed MÉTRO sign

Sentier

The following type of Métro sign on a blue background, against a blue ring and a large red “M” can only be found at Sentier station.

Metro

PASSAGE PUBLIC – MÉTRO

During World War II, the Métro served as a refuge in case of air raids. This type of Métro signpost indicates that there is an underground passage.

PASSAGE PUBLIC - MÉTRO signpost
PASSAGE PUBLIC – MÉTRO signpost

M Signs

Yellow M

This type of Métro signpost features an internally lit sans serif yellow “M” in an open circle of two stainless steel rings.

Yellow M Métro signpost
Yellow M Métro signpost

Blue M

Métro signposts built since 1998 on Line 14 are entirely novel, featuring a two-dimensional design with modern blue “M” in blue circle.

Totem-Meteor

Yellow M on blue

This type of Métro sign is round with a yellow M on light blue background.

Metro 5 Quai de la Rapee ext.JPG
Metro 5 Quai de la Rapee ext” by Vincent BABILOTTE – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Commons.

MÉTROPOLITAIN Signs

Nord-Sud

The Nord-Sud style MÉTROPOLITAIN sign is in white on a red background.

Paris Métro signage

Saint-Lazare

The Saint-Lazare type shows MÉTROPOLITAIN in white on a black background.

Vue du panneau d'entrée de la station, devant le palais Brognard.
« Metro Paris – Ligne 3 – station Bourse 02 » par ClicsourisTravail personnel (Photo personnelle). Sous licence CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Guimard, Art Nouveau

Before moving on to take in Paris Métro entrance design, let’s appreciate a related art nouveau style “MÉTROPOLITAIN” signpost. The Guimard style “MÉTROPOLITAIN” sign is held between two ornate, sinuously curved lampposts, in the form of symbolism of plant stems, in which the orange lamp is enclosed by a leaf. The volatile typography almost appears to be melting.

Guimard style MÉTROPOLITAIN signpost
Guimard style MÉTROPOLITAIN signpost
Guimard style MÉTROPOLITAIN signpost at night

Blanche

Paris Métro Entrances

Guimard style entrances

This type of entrance features a kiosk with a glass canopy and an enclosure of panelling decorated in floral motifs.

The entrance of the Métro station at Porte Dauphine, Paris, with a V-shaped glass canopy, designed by Hector Guimard

Metro station entrance (édicule Guimard) Porte Dauphine Paris 16e 002.jpg
Metro station entrance (édicule Guimard) Porte Dauphine Paris 16e 002” by MoonikOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

The entrance of the Métro station at Abbesses, Paris, with a pitched glass canopy, designed by Hector Guimard Abbesses

Abesses entrance 1.jpg
Abesses entrance 1“. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Commons.

The Hector Guimard-designed kiosk at Abbesses taken in black and white with a MÉTROPOLITAIN sign on a yellow background

Bouche de métro

Jean-Michel Othoniel style entrance

This unique Métro entrance at Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre station, Place Colette is called “Kiosk of the night-walkers”.

The entrance of the Métro station at Palais Royal - Musée du Louvre station, Place Colette, Paris, designed by Jean-Michel Othoniel
The entrance of the Métro station at Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre station, Place Colette, Paris, designed by Jean-Michel Othoniel

Three sides of the staircase are surrounded by colored glass rings made of metallic mesh of aluminum. Six columns of aluminum spheres support two domes each. One is made of beads in warm colors (yellow, white and red) and the other has cold tones (blue, white, yellow and purple).

See Also: Interior design of Louvre – Rivoli station

Paris’ beauty at every corner is clearly shown in its diverse artistic Métro sign and entrance design, isn’t it?

Published by

Min Min

There are different kinds of artists. Some are more focused and others are more all-encompassing. I would count myself as the art-everywhere type of artist. To me, art is a way of looking at things, of applying creativity in my life. I am a frequent traveler who truly appreciates every tiny beauty of life and have traveled extensively around the world. Different cities inspire me in different ways. My passion is Paris which I have visited more than once, living as a Parisian. I have walked big streets and small alleys in Paris, and every inch of the city has given me inspiration. When I first arrived in Paris it was as though all my senses were heightened, then as I became familiar with the city I learned to see subtleties that I missed at first.

4 thoughts on “The Art of Paris Métro Signs and Entrances”

  1. It took me time to really appreciate the one in Palais Royal. I always found it was out of place.
    I must admit that I am so liking the good old structure in dark green that I may be close-minded. I am like that. A little bit old-school ^^.

  2. Very interesting idea for the post!

    It’s just now I’ve realized that there are several different Metro signs. I have only acknowledged the difference between yellow M and green-red combination of the inscription. My favorite remains the art déco green-red with a whole word Metropolitain .

    Keep on with great posts on cute details like these! 😉

  3. The more posts I read the more impressed I get with Paris. It is incredibly the way it is built. Every single thing in Paris is perfect. Every detail of it is so beautiful. There is nothing else like Paris around the world. I had never seen subway stations signs of this fashion. They all tell a story, Paris story. They are so artistic and unique. I really love them. If you want to know Paris story you don’t have to read history books, you need to go there. Paris will tell you its story; you’ll just have to see, taste, smell and hear when you’re there

  4. Neat signposts. I didn’t notice them when I was there. Personally, I love the ”Kiosk of the night-walkers” because in my own perception it gives an oriental touch to the close surroundings. I love how Paris gives meaning to everything in existence starting from underground spaces to signposts and lighting.
    Thank you.

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