“métro, Expo, Resto”

Break out of the mould of “métro, boulot, dodo” (a French expression that, translated literally, means “Métro, work, sleep”) and get ready for “Métro, expo, resto”, as Babylangues introduces you to a new way of exploring the Paris Métro system. Join us in our quest to discover the various stations dotted across the city. How did they get their name? What are the surrounding neighbourhoods like? What can be found nearby? Some many questions and Babylangues has all the answers!

Hôtel De Ville

Hôtel de Ville is a metro station in the 4th arrondissement near the…you guessed it, the Hôtel de Ville! In French this means City Hall and it’s the location of the city’s local administration. A pretty important building in central Paris, so the station can get quite busy. The lines 1 and 11 run through here.

Hôtel de Ville was actually one of the first eight stations opened in the first stage of the Paris metro in 1900. It was later added to the line 11 in 1935. In terms of original artwork or frescos, the station is pretty plain, but at the entrance to the platform for line 1, you’ll find a plaque commemorating the strike of the metro workers in Paris in 1944. 3000 of the metro’s staff marched from Saint Paul to Hôtel de Ville in a forbidden strike on the 16th August. We must keep in mind that at this time, Paris was under Nazi occupation and these workers went on strike just before Paris was liberated on the 25th August. Going on strike in such a tense environment required much bravery and soon enough the police and general population started striking too.

Discover more metro stations HERE.

What Is There To Do Nearby? 

  • Hôtel de Ville

It has been the seat of the Paris City Council since 1357.  However, the actual building seen today was constructed later by the architects Théodore Ballu and Edouard Deperthes after the original burned down during the Paris Commune. The square outside Hôtel de Ville is the site of many temporary exhibitions, and the inside has a function room that is intended to replicate the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles. Both individual visits and the exhibitions have free entry, but the former has been suspended indefinitely.

  • Rue de Rivoli

This is one of the most famous streets in Paris and walking along it, you’ll find many designer brand stores, the Hôtel de Ville and even the Louvre. It was named after Napoleon’s victory at the battle of Rivoli and stretches all the way from the 4th arrondissement to the 1st. Rue de Rivolis is ideal for a stroll and to do some window-shopping. There are many important buildings and monuments such as the Opera Garnier and the Place des Pyramides leading off from the street as well, so it’s worth having a wander (or several).

  • Sainte Chapelle

The Notre Dame Cathedral is also very close by, but we thought we might put the spotlight on the Sainte Chapelle instead. It is considerably smaller and was opened in 1248 but only took 7 years to construct compared to the Notre Dame’s 100ish. The attraction of Sainte Chapelle lies in its tall, beautiful stained glass windows. If you go during the afternoon, you can see a whole array of colours reflected into the upper level of the chapel. Sainte Chapelle was a royal chapel and housed some of the King’s own relics of Christ, but these have since been moved to the Notre Dame.