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I swear Paris Metro Line 11 is the fastest of all the Paris métro lines.
When I make this claim aloud, I am met with expressions of disbelief on the one hand and silent knowing nods on the other. I make eye contact with the nodders. We know.
I’ve spent a lot of time riding the métro in Paris and I stand by my statement that riding Paris Metro Line 11 is an experience unto itself.
Taking the Paris Metro offers up a multitude of pleasant experiences such as discovering designer métro stations, enjoying the efforts of an unexpected busker, and gaining a sense of navigating Paris. Other experiences such as the intense crowds, the ever-increasing number of homeless people taking refuge, and climbing endless stairs with a suitcase in hand are not so enjoyable.
I know more than one Parisian that refuses to ever use the Métro.
My preferred way to get around Paris is on foot. This might entail a brisk (not really part of the Parisian culture) walk to meet a friend but more often than not I choose to flâner, a very French way of being. A Velib, one of the bicycle rental systems, is another efficient way to get from Point A to Point B and, of course, the Paris Métro.
Since moving to Belleville, I’ve become a regular on Paris Metro Line 11. It pulls into my station with its great black rubber wheels and grinds to a halt. The door stays firmly shut until I flip the old-fashioned handle, enter the ancient, ragtag car and sit back. Métro line 11 Paris takes off. It squeaks, creaks and rolls. The racket makes me smile. It’s the underground soundscape of Paris.
When the conductor accelerates to full speed ahead we are literally flying through subterranean Paris. The 13 stations on Paris Metro Line 11 are further apart than on the other lines and halfway to the next stop, with a noticeable whir, Line 11 goes from a rapid and rattly ride to breakneck speed.
My eyebrows arch. I grin. I’m riding the rogue line in Paris.
Unfortunately, the next station appears and the braking system activates.
But, we’re on repeat and speed off to the next stop, Arts et Métiers. Its copper-plated walls, portholes, and hanging gears are reminiscent of a submarine making it one of the most unique métro stations in Paris.
Paris metro Line 11: Get off at Arts et Metiers and/or Rambuteau and discover the Marais. Descend at Belleville or Pyrénnees and explore the 19th arrondissement of Paris. Get off at Place de la République and walk a few minutes to Canal Saint-Martin.
Perhaps I am imagining these unmistakable accelerations. I’m told this isn’t possible. That all Paris Métro lines run at the same speed. That the maximum speed is 70 km/h.
But I know what I feel.
Paris Metro Line 11 is noticeably faster. I find myself comparing metro speeds as I travel the city. Automated Line 1 careens along at a good clip. So does line 4. And line 6. I’m still convinced that Line 11 is the leading thoroughbred of the Paris Métro system.
Perhaps it’s those huge rubber tires. Paris was the first metro system in the world to use rubber-tire technology and converted métro Line 11 in 1956. No wonder I feel like I’m time travelling.
I question myself. It must be the air streaming through the open windows, or the sharp movements from side to side.
I sit back.
I sit up straight.
I stand, ensuring I am holding on.
Paris metro Line 11 flies.
Paris Metro Line 11 Facts:
- The Paris Métro first opened in 1900 with Line 11 opening in 1935.
- Line 11 links Châtelet with Mairie des Lilas in the northeastern suburbs.
- With only thirteen stations it’s the shortest line and one of the least used.
- Line 11 is being extended by six new stations which are set to open in 2023.
- Take Line 11 to get to several Paris highlights: Hôtel de Ville, Place de la République, the Centre Georges Pompidou, Belleville, and the Musée des Arts et Métiers.
- The Abbesses station is the deepest Paris Métro station but when you exit Pyrénées on Paris Metro Line 11, the escalator is the steepest I’ve seen in Paris. Londoners will feel at home.
- Apparently, the advantages of those rubber wheels are faster acceleration (I knew it!), shorter braking distances, and excellent climbing on steep grades. Belleville is on a hill, after all.
Take a ride on Paris Metro Line 11. Let me know what you think!
Until next time,
More Paris Info…
After riding Paris metro line 11, you might want to transfer at Place de la République or Hôtel de Ville and discover other parts of Paris.
Get mixed up with the arrondissements of Paris? This guide to the Paris arrondissements will help you plan your best visit to the City of Light!
This post on Montmartre leads you to the most popular sites as well as some lesser-known places in Montmartre.
Another of Paris’s most-loved areas is Saint-Germain des Prés. Here are my best tips on things to do in Saint-Germain des Prés.
Le Marais is one of the best areas of Paris to flâner. Here are 23 tops things to do in le Marais.
La Butte aux Cailles, tucked away in the 13th arrondissement, is another place in Paris that has retained its village-like charm. My article on La Butte aux Cailles will lead you to discover some of the area and its visually enticing street art.
Canal Saint-Martin is another place full of small restaurants, boutiques and plenty of character. Stroll the bridges of the canal under the chestnut trees and feel like a true Parisian. All the details on this “bobo” district are in this article on Canal Saint-Martin.
Here are all the things to do on Ile Saint-Louis, one of the oldest villages in Paris.
Don’t forget that the 7th arrondissement has lots to see and do once you have seen the Eiffel Tower.
And the 11th arrondissment of Paris? Authentic and full of great restaurants and shopping (like a local).
Other Paris and France Travel Tips:
Travelling to Paris alone? This article on navigating Paris alone is full of tips and tricks for the solo traveller.
This page has all my articles on Paris that will help you plan out your trip, including day trips from Paris. I hope you subscribed to my newsletter to get my free download – An Amazing 2-day Itinerary in Paris.
If you are going further afield in France, make sure to check out my page on France.
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