[FR] Paris: IZY, Métro, Trams and green spaces (with pics)

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22 Jan 2013

I could not resist the 39€ Paris offer in the SNCF Newsletter. So I spent a few days in the French capital. Some impressions from different points around the city. In terms of sight seeing I visited several parks mostly a bit of the usual tourist tracks. I hope you enjoy it.

"IYZ" is the new low cost brand of Thalys. It offers two or three round trips a day between Brussels and Paris-Nord. To save costs tha trains avoid using high speed lines in France were possible. As a consequence the trip time is 2h15 which is about one hour longer than with the Thalys. But tickets are much cheaper and start with 10€ for standing room and 15€ for a folding chair. I like the paint job

In the East of the city in the "Bois de Vincennes" (take M1 to "Chateau de Vincennes") you can take a walk in the "Parc Floral". It houses trees and plant from around the world. Tulips after a short rain shower

I took refuge in the green houses and took a look at the Bonsais and cactuses

Some Métro impressions. A train of line M1 is parked in station "Porte Maillot"

After extensive refurbishment "Louvre Rivoli" has been reopened. It combines Métro and Art

Departure board in black

The M8 crosses the river Marne between "Charenton - Écoles" and "École Vétérinaire de Maisons-Alfort" station. View from the road bridge close by.

View from the "Place de Valois" on the Paris side of the river

Train of line M2 running along the elevated part of the line

Old rolling stock (MF67) meets the new rolling stock (MF01)

Nice visual mix within the standard white tiles

Worth a visit and pretty easy to reach using M10 ("Porte d'Auteuil" station): The "Jardin des Serres d'Auteuil" located on the outskirts of the "Bois du Boulogne". Several green houses show a wide range of plants

Right a round the corner, was something called "Roland Garros" - seemed to be somewhat related to tennis ;).

A short walk away from T2 stop "Parc de Saint-Cloud": The "Domaine National de Saint-Cloud". The area consists of various types of gardens and parks.

The T2 between the road and the river Seine

Always a nice place to be: The "Jardin des Plantes" next to the Gare d'Austerlitz

The structure of RER C with its hugh amount of branches is pretty confusion. In Gare d'Austerlitz the SNCF tries to ease the orientation with signs like this one:

In "Châtelet-Les Halles" stations notes like "Est" or "Nord" helps when changing to RER A, B und D

Providing service information to the ridership is a big issue in the Métro too. Screens like this show the current service status and the next departures

One of my favourite parks in Paris: The "Parc de Bercy" (M14 station "Cour Saint-Émilion"). Its style is a little bit different

Nice walk: From the metro station through park, via a footbridge (which offers a nice view on line M6) to the "Bibliothèque National de France". At station "Bibliothèque François Mitterrand" next door you can hop on the M14 again.

Next stop the depot of line M5 in the North East (located between the stations "Bobigny-Pantin-Raymond Queneau" and "Bobigny - Pablo Picasso" alongside the "Canal de l'Ourcq". View from a bridge over the canal

Métro train approaching station "Pablo Picasso"

Look though the fence on parked trains

A walk along the canal offered the chance to catch some trains passing by

Another mix of canal and rail: The T3b crosses the canal Saint-Denis between the stop "Porte de la Villette" and "Canal Saint-Denis".

View on the tracks that run along the canal

The rail line Paris-Mulhouse crosses the canal in this area as well. A TGV on the bridge

This colourful lighting can by found in several stations (e.g. M4 "Montparnasse-Bienvenue")


One hour away by train: Chartres. Most visible landmark is the cathedral

On the inside a paradise for stained glass window enthusiasts. Nice touch: angled elements in the rose window

Reflections on the canvas covering the construction area

Hard to notice because its mostly covered with chairs: The labyrinth .

Luckily enough, there is a small one the cathedral gardens ("Jardins de l'Évêché") next door

Nice paint job :)

Looking for a bakery or how to get to Rio? This sign will help.

Next to the cathedral a maze of small alleyways and the river Eure

The "Parc des Bords de l'Eure" stretches along the river bank

Located beneath a rail viaduct: The "Jardin de l'horticulture". The park mostly houses different types of trees

It seems the SNCF tries to crack down on fare evasion. Five employees blocked the access to the platforms in Chartres. Only ticket holders were allowed to pass. For long distance services I experienced this for TGV services in Paris-Nord last year. In Paris-Montparnasse these gates look like the next step

Being the Catholic for favourite way of ending a day of sightseeing: Attending the evening prayer ("vêpres" in French) in "Notre Dame de Paris" cathedral . Listing to the Psalms, mumbling prayers in more or less good French and enjoying the view on the rose window.

As visiting continues during services there is a special atmosphere: You are sitting in the nave praying and tourists are walking along or taking pictures.

After dark the cathedral is quite a looker ;) (picture taken on a trip back in 2013)

This concludes my little wrap up of Paris and Chartres. Was a nice trip especially, because the weather turned out to be much better than predicted.
As always, your feedback is very much appreciated.

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