We’ve discussed the countless artists who’ve flocked to Paris for inspiration; we’ve highlighted our favorite French cuisine time and time again; we’ve even dropped a few pop culture references (Midnight in Paris, anyone?) for good measure. But today we’re talking about a hidden gem: the Arts et Métiers stop of the Paris Metro: a steampunk station.
Translated into English, Arts et Métiers means “Arts and Crafts”. The station was redesigned in 1994 by a Belgian artist, Francois Schuiten, to honor the works of Jules Verne. Verne is famous for his epic works of science fiction and was chosen as the inspiration for the aesthetic because the redesign was meant to coincide with the bicentenary of the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers.
The particular style of the station decor is classified as “steampunk.” This term relates to sci-fi worlds that are often characterized by steam-powered machinery in rapidly advancing westernized civilizations. Steampunk worlds often feature machines that are out of place or overly idealized, the way that contraptions are often imagined in alternate realities.
Arts et Métiers is a very different sight from the sleek, quick Paris metro system, which whips you from one corner of the city to another without much hassle (as long as you avoid rush hour). The engineering of the past has been incorporated into the design of this modern train system with a look that reminds us of the futuristic worlds we’ve read in novels. Past, present, and future tenses are all covered.
This is typical of Paris, a city that reminds us of a hundred different things at the same time. It’s also a relief to know that if you’re able to make it overseas to Europe but don’t have the time or resources to travel around to too many different cities, you can find dozens of little worlds to explore in Paris alone.
How to visit Arts et Métiers
Use your Paris Viste Pass to travel on line 11 of the Paris Metro to see the wonder of Arts et Métiers for yourself. Coming from England? Head to our own steampunk site dedicated to traveling the Chunnel: the route beneath the English Channel that connects England and France.
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