Monday, 28 March 2011

Paris and I ~ 'No Smoking? Or Not So Sure...'

iPhone Photo Chronicles
~ No Smoking? Or Not So Sure... ~

A gorgeously grimy image you might be saying to yourselves, or perhaps, yes, we're aware that you've got a few fancy iPhone apps, but that doesn't make your photography the best thing since broken baguette you know...

Whatever your point of view, here's what I'm offering you today, and whether you appreciate the aesthetics or not, you can't fail to be interested by the actual place, if you're into Parisian metro history that is.

If you ignore the spanking brand new bright yellow anti-terrorist bin for a while (which does complement the alarm sign nicely though), you'll notice something interesting about this particular platform: the attractive ceramics on the wall.

Now don't get me wrong; I'm not a ceramics freak, but this one is different. Not only is it a welcome change from the usual characterless borders to ads on most platforms, it's not actually bordering an advert at all. It's bordering the name of the station. And that station name is not in the usual enamel but is actually constructed from tiles like the white ones we are so used to. Which is unusual.

What's more, down in the corner of the ceramic border is a prime example of history winking at us, as the French would say. The design is an 'N' and a 'S' entwined and take us back to the days when the metro lines had names, not numbers, and there certainly weren't 14 (or 16) lines to choose between.

Indeed, there was competition between companies, the ones which were building the new routes, to try and get you to use their line, hence efforts to jolly up the stations with fancy tile work and the like. Of which this fine example.

I won't tell you which station or line it is - it would be far more fun to discover for yourselves, don't you think? You can also look out for colour coded tiles too, and try and see what the difference between brown, blue and green motifs might be. Oh, and what 'NS' means too - I can't tell you everything, now can I? Happy hunting.

© 2011
Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free - Contact me directly for photo tours, interviews, exhibitions, etc.


Rob said...

Quite the lovely tiles here. That is one of the many things I enjoyed during our visit - the attention to detail for aesthetically pleasing spaces.

Sab said...

Unfortunately the past is more aesthetically pleasing than the present these days, with the odd exception like Arts et Métiers station...

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