With a copper plated exterior, large decorative cogs, and the addition of some quirky photos which wouldn’t look out of place in an art museum, the Arts et Metiers metro station in Paris is something of an anomaly of the underground. Forgettable it is not! In English, ‘Arts et Metiers‘ can be translated to ‘Arts and Trades‘ and the quirky metro station is home to lines 3 (green) and 11 (brown) of the metro.
Arts et Metiers Metro Station
When in Paris, even something as simple as getting on the metro can become an adventure of its own. After all, if you’ve ever wandered along the white-tiled corridors of Arts et Metiers metro station, then you may well have been as surprised as I was to find the appearance of this steampunk inspired metro station on its line 11 correspondence.
One moment you’re taking a quick stroll along the curving white walls of the line three correspondence and the next, you stumble on a life-sized art piece in the middle of the metro. I mean, the actual station is the art piece. And a steampunk one at that.
Wait, what’s steampunk?
Well, I’m glad you asked because ‘steampunk’ has only officially been a word since 2010. The Oxford Dictionary officially terms the word as ‘A genre of science fiction that has a historical setting and typically features steam-powered machinery rather than advanced technology.’ All this is to say that the subway station is ever so modern, futuristic, and all in all, pretty beautiful!
And the reason for this Parisian Steampunk Station?
Well, the station of Arts et Metiers is situated below a museum of the same name. The station is meant to reflect the content of the museum and is used as a kind of promotional tool not only for the Arts et Metiers Museum but for the history of life in Paris itself. It’s the kind of place that people who don’t even like museums may well find interesting; an interactive museum.
Contrary to what you may think, this steampunk inspired metro station has only been around for a couple of decades. It was only in 1994 when the station was revamped, that the city of Paris and the Museum decided to enlist the help of Belgian comic artist, François Schuite to aid in the redesign. An interesting choice, for sure.
What he came up with, I’m sure no one had envisioned! The redesign is meant to evoke elements of Jules Verne work and re-imagine a present where steam-power rules all. Of course, there’s an abundance of unusual metro stations in Paris, including one featuring giant money coins, and another that looks like a scrabble boards thanks to life-sized letter tiles.
But in truth, there is nothing quite so astonishing as seeing so many reflective surfaces at once. Particularly through bleary pre-coffee eyes on your morning commute! All in all, Arts et Metiers is definitely worth a quick peek if you’re on the metro in the centre of Paris. Or perhaps even if you’re not… If you’re looking for more metro advice, check out my guide on how to use the Paris metro.