Posts Tagged 'metro'

Faux Pas Friday: Misunderstanding on the Metro (or Save the Children)

Mid-afternoon, mid-week. Dark and wet like many a December day in the City of Light. I descend into metro Colonel Fabien and try to shake off the cold.

When the train arrives, I spy through the window the one free seat. It will be mine. The man behind me has the same idea. He rushes past me as soon as the doors open, nearly sprinting to get to the seat. He plops down and puts on that blank city face: I don’t see you even though you’re right in front of me.

Continue reading ‘Faux Pas Friday: Misunderstanding on the Metro (or Save the Children)’

Quick Poll: Subway Poetry?

"Published" in the metro station

I’ve been getting into the holiday spirit by taking care of lots of administrative tasks (insert sarcasm here).

On my way to one of my errands, I got off at the Saint Ambroise metro stop and paused as I was bit surprised: I was reading the stairs.

Getting a little vertigo trying to read the poem as I walk up the steps

Living in New York and then Paris, I’ve always noticed the poems they sometimes place in the subway cars. I hadn’t gotten off at the Saint Ambroise station in awhile, though, so I’d never seen the poem “published” on the actual steps before.

Do you think this is an honor for the writer or kind of sad? I guess I like the idea, but with the graffiti and general grubby feelings I get underground, I wasn’t sure whether it was actually cool. What do you think?

A Non-Strike Subway Shenanigan

Well, on Friday the French Senate voted to pass the pension reform bill that everyone’s been up and arms about (and in the street, and blocking petrol stations, and, and, and…).

Unions are still calling for continued strikes and protests, anyway.

In the spirit of returning to more naïve times, I’m posting a random metro video that has nothing to do with the metro lines not running properly.

You may remember that I was incredibly tickled by subway shenanigans on the New York subway this summer – both a subway party I ran into and a Star Wars re-enactment. I opined that we’d be hard pressed to see such similar quirkiness in Paris.

Well, a kind reader recently provided me with some footage of a little re-enactment right here on the Paris metro to prove me wrong. It’s a scene from “Les Bronzés font du ski,” a classic French comedy.

While the music’s a bit cheesy and frankly, French comedy still leaves me scratching my head most times, you know I support just about any random activity undertaken in good fun. It’s no Star Wars re-enactment, but I still applaud the effort.


(Warning: Video in French. But you know, it’s more about seeing people in full ski attire and accessories on the subway).

More examples of Paris randomness I need to know about? Send it my way!

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More Subway Shenanigans

If anyone liked the idea of the subway party I mentioned last week, here’s some more inspiration from Improv Everywhere:

The troupe staged a reenactment of a scene from Star Wars, complete with Storm Troopers, Darth Vader, and the Dummies Guide to Galactic Rebellion as prop.

This event went live on Bastille Day, though obviously it has nothing to do with France. I apologize for my random non-Paris postings of late, but you’re probably picking up on the fact that I’m partial to anything goofy – regardless of location.

I do have enough hair for the Princess Leia do should we decide to stage this here, but I think a black Princess Leia might confuse some people.

What scenes would you want to see reenacted on the Paris metro? Any idea what might work for a French audience?

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Summer’s Sunny Scowls

I was given a key to New York City! True! (Maybe story later)

So much for bringing a smile back to Paris (see last post).

Delayed plane back to Charles de Gaulle. A half-hour of fruitless searching for the 351 bus to Nation (thought I’d try something other than the RER train into the city. Should have skipped the adventure).

Chocolat chaud at my corner cafe where they usually are nice. Uh-oh, the scowling summer staff has arrived. My server didn’t acknowledge that she had heard my order, feigned incomprehension at what a carafe d’eau might mean (um, water?), and threw my change down on the table.

Please say you’re just filling in while the nice people are on holiday? (Please?)

Deluge. Rain.

Fortunately, the transition has been eased as one of my dear friends (and former writing mentor) Sarah Van Arsdale is in town. We laughed off the bitchy barmaid together, but Sarah couldn’t help wondering, “Sion, just how do you live here? You’re such a smiley, happy person. And no one here seems to smile!”

Funny you should mention that, Sarah. This is at the top of my mind these days.

On the metro later, I thought someone might be joining my crusade. In a sing-songy voice the conductor of the line 2 train invited us to do something different – to turn to our neighbor, say bonjour. Why, we might even smile! he ventured. Why not? It was Bastille Day, we’ve had a day off, what can it hurt to smile?

Yes! I think, looking around. What could it hurt to smile?

No one’s taking the bait, however.

One older gentleman had already had enough as the conductor repeated his plea at the next station.

Fermes ta guele! the man yelled at the conductor. Shut your piehole, in essence.


Now I’m not saying the New York subway is a party. But actually, sometimes it is! (Witness video evidence below).

On a Friday night after a great Mexican meal (Mexican!), I stumbled into the 2nd Avenue subway stop on New York’s Lower East Side. Something was definitely up as the platform was packed to the gills. When the V-train rolled into the station, enthusiastic applause commenced. Lucky me, I had happened onto the last ever V-train before the city discontinued the line.

Revellers dressed in the line’s trademark orange to celebrate the V’s victorious last run. Some pleaded for the city to reconsider. Some just wanted to mark the occasion. All made a ruckus.

Joyful V-train rider pleads for her line to stay

I try to imagine a similar scene on the Paris metro. Forgive me, I cannot. A Facebook friend informed me that a metro party did happen on the line 7bis once. To that I say, the 7bis? Like the shortest, most random line in the whole Paris system? Bis, for god’s sake?

But I would take the inferior train line, no complaints. Though I kind of think the police would get involved, somehow break the party up. Imagine a united horde of people suddenly converging on any metro stop in Paris with boom boxes and festive wear, determined to fete the ride from end to end. Perhaps my imagination fails me; I don’t see it.

I happened to be on the 7bis last night, as it crawled its slow, (one-)way up the hill. Yes, this sad little train could use a party. Yes, this city could use more smiles.

Perhaps we should form a Paris Smile Brigade and plan a subway bash? Anyone, anyone?

Actually, for all this talk, I need to go back into hiding (already!). My first deadline for the MFA program is in 2 weeks. No time to plan metro madness – I must get to work!

On a completely different note: Happy Birthday, mom! Love you!

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paris (im)perfect?

Sion Dayson is paris (im)perfect. Writer, dreamer, I moved to France on – no exaggerating – a romantic whim. As you can imagine, a lot can go wrong (and very right!) with such a (non)plan. These are the (im)perfect stories that result.

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