Friday, July 19, 2013

July 19 - Paris Métro

The first line of the Paris Métro (or Métropolitain) subway system opened on July 19, 1900, during the Exposition Universelle (World's Fair). It connected the Porte Maillot in the area of the Bois de Boulogne with the Porte de Vincennes, where that year’s summer Olympic Games were held in the Bois de Vincennes, the city’s largest park, on the eastern edge of Paris. The new transportation was a great success. Begun in 1898 and designed initially for 10 lines, the project was headed by civil engineer Fulgence Bienvenüe, who developed a special tunnel construction method that allowed for rapid repaving of streets and roads. In 1901 he planned additional lines that would make any point in Paris no more than 500 metres distant from a Métro station. The decorative entrance designs (pictured) by architect Hector Guimard helped foster the Art Nouveau style. Today the Métro hub at Châtelet–Les Halles (two stations conjoined) is the largest subway complex in the world, connecting five métro lines with three commuter rail lines.

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