Paris’s integrated transport system, run by RATP, is the envy of cities throughout the world. It consists of buses, trams, regional express railways and of course the famous Paris Metro. Over a dozen lines criss-cross the capital of France and arguably the most interesting are lines 5 and 6.
Line 5 is mostly in tunnel and runs on conventional steel wheels from Place d’Italie in the south for just over 9 miles (14.6kms) to Bobigny Pablo Picasso in the north. The line surfaces to cross the River Seine before plunging back into tunnel to run via stations such as Bastille, Gare de’ l’est and Gare du Nord. The line surfaces once again ahead of the northern terminus.
Line 6 is very different. Firstly it runs on rubber tyres – RATP’s preferred technology – and secondly it runs mostly overground on viaducts – reminiscent of New York’s famous elevated subway. Starting to the west of Paris at Charles de Gaulle Etoile (beneath the Arc de Triomphe) the line surfaces to cross the River Seine, giving a magnificent view of the Eiffel Tower. Still elevated, it then skirts around the southern suburbs of Paris via Montparnasse, popping in and out of tunnel every few miles before reaching the eastern terminus at Nation, a route distance of 8.5 miles (13.6km).
As usual, this driver’s eye view provides a fascinating insight into these lines with a historical and contemporary commentary by Parisian Yves Aubert.
- Driver’s view of turnback siding at Bobigny
- Driver’s view of depot at Nation
The DVD has both English and French commentaries (menu driven selection).
Running Time: 73 Minutes