I can’t help but to share more about my observations and feelings on the RER or metro. I caught the metro every day while in Paris. It was the most important form of transport for us. Every morning before going out, I would pull out the metro map and discussed with hub on which line we should take and changed. There were just so many choices that we could make. Sometimes, we bickered insisting that ours were the shortest way. Sometimes, we blamed ourselves when we realized that we had taken the wrong route. After two days of trial and errors, we decided to ask the information counter before we confirmed our routes.
Metro tickets are at €1.70 per trip. If taken together with RER, it will be wiser to buy from the information counter as the staff will combine the ticket price. As compared to Singapore, the price of the ticket does not account for distance. One ticket allows me to travel to any station at any distance. So even if I plan a longer route, I will only waste my precious time.
The interior of each station is unique to make me slow down my every walk and to see more. There were different interior designs for each station. It’s like an art gallery! Some days, I would see workers in coveralls holding rolls and rolls of posters, changing the big posters in stations with scraper and pail. At times, there would be street musicians playing in the underground. This sight is quite common in Singapore but to see a group of eight musicians playing and promoting their music with different kinds of big instruments is somehow rare. Stations hardly have escalators too. Every day, we had to walk many flights of stairs to reach and out of the metro. A lot of training on our calves. Vending machines for snacks and drinks can be found before boarding the metro so which means food is allowed but the metro remains clean.
The metro is not as long as Singapore’s MRT and they have cabins that do not allow passengers to pass through. The doors are not automated for older metro. Passengers have to push a button or lever to open the doors in order to alight or board. An ingenious idea is the lever chairs near the doors (like our olden days’ cinema chairs). When the metro is not crowded, passengers tend to push down the chairs to rest. There is a rule on the metro that these chairs should not be seated if the metro is crowded.
As the metro passed by many stations, graffiti can be seen almost on every walls in the tunnels, all beautifully drawn. At times, sudden blast of music could be heard in the metro, someone personified as Michael Jackson dancing to his hits or just an old man playing on his button accordion. At the end of their performances, they would go around to collect gratuities.
RER is somehow not as exciting as metro in Paris but a good time to enjoy the scenery. Maybe it travels a longer distance and further out of Paris. Pictures above were all taken in a RER on my way to Disneyland Paris. We took the wrong route and got stranded in Gare St-Lazare, one of the main stations. In the end, we had to seek help from the Metro information counter to direct us the shortest way to reach our destination. It was my first time on a double-decker train. Train was pretty empty and clean. Since a long journey, we camwhored!
Train system in Paris is so complicated and definitely needs time for further investigation. Put aside the inter-twining routes and fifteen color-coded lines, I think I am in love with the train systems in Paris with so much to see and feel.