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Memory and the identity of the RATP brand

The RATP’s assets include a number of historical artefacts and industrial machines, as well as works of art, architecture, photography and literature, all promoting the values of modernity and sharing that characterise the RATP brand.

Cultural information boards – bringing history to light

Cultural information boards in the metro are a way of making the general public aware of the historical and cultural value of unknown or little-known aspects of the transport network and its surroundings. These boards take two forms:

Small oval notices, commenting upon visible aspects of our sites;

Curved panels, measuring 62 x 100 cm, dedicated to the intangible aspects of our spaces, such as station names and the strengths of the local area.

Our transport facilities are places that are full of history, intrinsically linked to the life of the capital and its outskirts, but they are also places of daily experiences, the backdrop to a multitude of personal stories involving our passengers. The information boards provide a link between the overarching historical picture and the personal stories, as well as between the transport facility and the surrounding urban area, enriching passengers’ travel experience. A feature of the metro since 1998 just in time for its centenary anniversary in 2000,

The metro’s cultural information boards include five themed series and one “special edition”.)

1. 100 years of the metro (purple): illustrations of the metro’s heritage

2. Metro Culture (bright green): illustrations of cultural and/or artistic features of our network

3. The Metro in Person (light blue): key figures from the history of the metro, such as Hector Guimard.

4. A City beneath a City (orange): An unconventional history of Paris told, from the point of view of the metro

5. Metro Memories (navy blue): illustrations of significant places

6. Special Stations  (dark green): themed stations from the metro’s one hundred year history.

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Identifying, preserving and making the most of historical equipment

The RATP’s preservation programme allows the company to protect and develop its collection of historical artefacts and equipment. It has thus been able to build up a collection representative of Parisian transport through the ages, including rolling stock and small equipment (objects, uniforms, furniture, etc.) as a historical reference point for RATP and its customers. These machines and artefacts are brought out on heritage days, displayed at exhibitions and shows, and used for audiovisual productions. Any equipment or objects provided for use in audiovisual productions will be subject to a loan or rental agreement.

Since 1992, RATP has embarked upon a vast process of restoring its historic rolling stock. When a series of rolling stock is discontinued, one example is taken away to be preserved for future generations. A number of vehicles and objects from this collection are exhibited permanently in the reception hall of the Maison de la RATP (RATP’s headquarters near Gare de Lyon). The others are preserved and stored, with a view to being exhibited at the new Musée national des transports urbains.

Historical archives open to the public

The historical archives cover the period from 1855 to the 1990s. They include postcards on transport and rolling stock, a collection of transport tickets and passes, and maps charting changes in the transport networks since 1900... The archive includes items from RATP, as well as from the transport companies that preceded it (CGO, CMP, STCRP, tram companies, Compagnie du Nord-Sud). These archives have been kept because of their lasting administrative interest, or their historical and/or scientific value.
The Centre d’archives et de documentation is open to the public by appointment only.

Maison de la RATP
54 quai de la Rapée or 189 rue de Bercy, 75012 Paris.
Located level -1
Tel. +33 1 58 78 21 06

Photo library: from the late 19th century to the present day

The Photo Library compiles, manages and preserves the company’s photographic archives and makes them available to internal and external users. These archives include glass slides, flexible negatives and digital photos, from the late nineteenth century to the present day.

The themes covered include modes of transport (horse-drawn vehicles, buses, trams, funicular, metro, RER), construction projects, maintenance workshops and the life of the company (staff, inaugurations, etc.). The photo archive has been partially computerised and is accessible on the company intranet.

Services offered by the photo library
As part of your job, you may need photographs to illustrate reports, presentations, exhibitions, etc. The photo library’s documentation officers are at your service to:
- help you with your picture searches
- help you find the right document for your project: high-definition digital file, black and white or colour prints, etc.

Contact us:
- by e-mail:
- in person, by appointment, at the Centre d’archives et de documentation at the Maison de la RATP