Our First Metro Experience Happened Today (and we survived!)

foch metro HR
The Metro Station at Foch

The subway system here, known as The Metro, is one of the best in the world, if not the best anywhere. We didn’t need to use it today. I think we’re kind of apprehensive about subways in Europe from our experience with the subway system in Prague. It’s a wonderful and clean, the Prague subway, but everything is in the Czech Language, so when we went down in it we were totally unsure if we were on the right train or going in the right direction! Things were better in Rome since we had a tour guide making sure we got to the right place. The trains from Malpensa Airport into Milan weren’t any problem, and the train we took from Rome south to Supino to visit the ancestral stamping grounds of Mary Ann’s father’s family was pretty easy to figure out.

The first ride we took was a snap. We were going just a couple kilometers from our neighborhood (Les Invalides) to the Latin Quarter (Notre Dame / San Michel). Just two stops. The train we needed to find in the station is known as the RER C line, one of the main thoroughfares.

We knew where our Metro station was from previous forays through the neighborhood, and when we descended down stairways into the underworld of the Metro, the RER-C directions were totally clear. We found where we needed to go, went there, and waited. And waited. And waited.

My subway reality is based on Washington DC’s Metro. Trains going one way on one side, trains going the other on the other side. People in the middle. And that’s totally what our Metro station looked like. And there were TV screens projecting all the trains coming through. All of them RER-C Line routes to three different locations. But the train WE wanted wasn’t one of them.

Inside the Paris Metro, Anvers station
Inside the Paris Metro, Anvers station

Then we became aware of another set of tracks in a space beyond the one we were in. THAT was where we needed to be. I won’t go into all the deductive reasoning that helped us arrive at this conclusion, but we had to backtrack down some stairways and up some others to land at the station where our train was going in our direction, and ‘Voila!’ we were on our ten minute trip to the Latin Quarter!

(The good thing that came of this was that when we were on the wrong platform, we learned it was the right platform for going to the Palace at Versailles where we’re heading to tomorrow. So that lingering question was answered and we won’t have to go through that stress-out moment tomorrow!)

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