​​Paris is one of the main European metropolises. It is one of the most mythical cities, a place that has history, art, culture, dreams. It has been nicknamed many times, as city of light, city of love, capital of fashion, etc. But also, Paris is the capital of the pioneer, the technology and the vanguardism. In fact, it was one of the first European cities to have Metro, which has become one of the typical elements of the city. 

Its modernist mouth-streets are mythical a​nd are a recurring motif that represents the city. But that's not exactly what we want to talk about. This article is about the abandoned subway stations of this magical city. 

History and Legend of the Paris underground 

History and legend of the Paris underground

The Paris subway was founded in 1900, coinciding with the Paris Olympics of the same year. The underground was growing at a great pace, reaching its great expansion in 1929, when it expanded to the suburbs. With World War II, much of the network fell into disrepair, and it was very difficult to recover its pace during the post-war period, as the French economy suffered one of the hardest blows and many metro stations were abandoned

With the economic recovery in the 60's, the metro network grew again and little by little it continued expanding. The last expansion took place in 2013 with the expansion of line 4. The Paris metro is currently the third largest in Europe, after Madrid and London. Due to the changes it has undergone, modifications and expert factors such as wars, which have changed it there are currently 11 abandoned subway stations. 

These metro stations have been abandoned, reopened or merged. Some of them were not even used at any time; others were closed and then reopened. They have been the scene of films and television series and in some of them there are stories about ghosts, romances and dramas. Nowadays, some are used to store subway cars, but many can be visited in a touristic way.

Two of the 11 ghost stations in Paris did not even open. It is Porte Molitor, also called Murat and Haxo station. The first one, it does not even have access to the street, its construction was abandoned in 1923. The second one was built with the beginning of the Parisian metro, but it was never finished. Nowadays guide tours are organized to visit this station.  

The famous metro station "Concorde"

With the arrival of the Second World War, as we said at the beginning of the text, many stations were abandoned and never recovered. Among these stations are: Saint-Martin, Arsenal, Champ-de-Mars and Croix-Rouge. The best known and the largest is Saint-Martin, which opened in 1931 and circulated several lines. Its last use took place in 1944, during a brief period of time and since then it has not been used again like subway station. In 2012, it was used as advertising space for the promotion of the film Prometheus. 
Other stations have been reopened or merged with others to allow its use. Among them are Cluny, Rennes and Liège. Regarding the merged, we have Victor Hugo and Les Halles, Martin Nadaud, Porte de Versailles and Invalides. All these underground stations are abandoned and reopened or merged and can be visited in as normal metro station. In some of them you can still see old posters or cracks and walls fallen from the Second World War.

Finally, let's talk about the most famous ghost station in Paris. This is Porte des Lilas - Cinéma. It was operational between 1921 and 1939, currently used for presentations of new metro models. It is the most famous because it is the abandoned subway station where more movies have been shot, among them are some as famous as Paris, je t'aime or Amélie.

Future proposals for abandoned subway stations 

The metro of the city of Paris 

Having a very old underground, exactly since 1900, many lines have been restructured and modified and some of the original metro stations were abandoned to make place for new ones. But the city of Paris has made a proposal that is incredibly inspiring. Raising the restoration of those old stations to give them a new use, totally different than the one they had when they were built. Some of them would become swimming pools, others in gardens, etc. A magnificent solution that has not left anyone indifferent and has made these places have a second life in this mythical city. 

The proposal has been considered by the mayor to see it as a possible future project which is seen as a possibility to recover all the spaces lost by the abandonment of stations. In fact, models of all kinds have been proposed for the rehabilitation of these spaces, from cafeterias and restaurants to cinemas or theatres, through discos and clubs.

Although this proposal is currently paralyzed given that the candidate for mayor of Paris, who proposed, lost the election. It is not ruled out that in the future it will return to resume, thus transforming abandoned metro stations in spaces with magnificent uses.  

But even so, it is also wonderful to know the old stations, the stories that surrounded them and the reason for their abandonment. It will be a great experience that we recommend you. This visit will allow you to get to know the city in a different and unique way. If you want to know more experiences of this type, visit the Renfe-SNCF experiences blog, which can help you to discover plans, ideas and places that are a key point in any trip or journey that we make.

Join the conversation

  • Maxime De Haeck 20/01/2020 14:03:00
    Hello, Is-it possible to visit these ghost stations in Paris? Thank you. Best regards Maxime

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