Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Subway Art

Maybe it's the American in me, but every time I see this symbol I think of McDonald's and its internationally recognizable golden arches. In reality, this yellow "M" has nothing to do with food, fast or otherwise. It simply denotes the entrance to one of Paris' numerous metro stations.

There are 298 such stations to be exact, but not all of them have the same look. Many use the neon "M," but some employ a more descriptive red "métro" sign. Others are marked by the classic "métropolitain" plaque that spans the entrance. Even if you've never been to Paris, you've probably seen this design on postcards or posters. It's as much as part of the imagery of the city as the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Louvre (for an example, please see the March 2nd post). Even those that appear similar will sometimes include special embellishes that help them stand out from their peers. Maybe I'm just easily amused, but I always enjoy descending into or emerging out of a new station. What a treat it is to continually discover unique artistic takes on the otherwise banal urban necessity that is the subway entrance.

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