RATP’s facilities are home to multiple forms of cultural and artistic expression, helping to promote contemporary urban culture. Not only historical monuments but also working stations, they are a form of living heritage, experienced on a daily basis by millions of transport users.
Our engineering and cultural resources teams do not confine themselves to a purely historical approach. They give meaning to these spaces by promoting the values of modernity and sharing, specifically through:
Now more than a hundred years old, the Paris metro is a place full of memories. RATP’s goal is to preserve this rich artistic and architectural heritage and to show it off to its best advantage.
Cultural Installations. Dedicated cultural spaces ensure that the public is regularly reminded of this heritage.
RATP is constantly striving to make the time spent in its networks productive time for its passengers. With this goal in mind, it has commissioned works of art to adorn its spaces. Place Colette has not been the same since the installation of Othoniel’s Kiosque des noctambules , waiting at Châtelet–Les Halles is a much more agreeable experience now the Signori meeting point is in place, and the Gardiens des époux Siptrott brighten up the station Esplanade de la Défense. Since his Kiosque des Noctambules, Othoniel has established himself as one of the most prominent artists of his generation. Illustrating this, the Centre Pompidou staged a major exhibition in spring 2011 looking back at his work from 1987 to the present day.
Original landmarks adorn the urban landscape, both on the surface and underground. The trains are no longer the only things that transport our passengers.
Encouraged by André Malraux as far back as 1968, the renovation of the Louvre–Rivoli metro station (then simply called “Louvre”) has made it one of the most emblematic stops on the Parisian metro. There are now dozens of stations known by metro users as much for their decors as for their names. The Nautilus submarine at Arts et Métiers, America at Chaussée d'Antin, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen at Concorde, and the potato at Parmentier are all examples of themes adopted in an effort to add meaning and colour to the corridors of the metro.
Line 14’s cultural showcases offer travellers a constantly renewed source of surprises. Dotted around the stations, at the end of an escalator or a corridor, they are dedicated to contemporary creativity in all its forms. Every three months for nearly 10 years now, they have welcomed new works from art schools (IESA, Beaux-Arts, etc.), photo exhibitions (Envolée Bleue, etc.) and partner institutions (Swedish Institute, etc.).
Until mid-February the French Space Agency, CNES, will offer passengers on Line 14 an unexpected journey around earth and its immediate neighbourhood.
Europe station on line 3 of the metro celebrates the diversity of cultures, lifestyles, landscapes and beauty on offer in the countries of the European Union. Nine screens on the platforms show new videos every three months, adapted to the timetables of the metro. They are produced by a variety of European partners: contemporary artists (Videospread, Intercambio, etc.), partner institutions (Visitsweden, Spanish Embassy, etc.), short-film festivals, etc.
Luxembourg station on the RER B has, for the last ten years, provided a showcase for the RATP’s commitment to sustainable development and urban ecology. Each year, the platforms are adorned with spectacular new designs by artists or institutions working towards a fair and sustainable world. Designing the RATP’s transport spaces as living spaces raises awareness, shapes behaviours and helps ensure a sustainable future.
Until January 2013, Luxembourg Station on RER Line B will host a new exhibition of photographs dedicated to the tramways operated by RATP Group.
Patrick Messina offers a surprising and poetic vision of tramways, drawing his inspiration from cities as varied as Hong Kong, Algiers, Manchester, Florence, Casablanca and Paris.
The long corridor linking the SNCF mainline station to lines 4 and 12 of the metro at Montparnasse station is, for four months of the year, decorated with a 135m-long fresco, showing a succession of varied landscapes (countryside, mountains, urban spaces) produced by the agency ENT Design.
For eight months of the year, this fresco is covered with an adhesive film. For four of those eight months, the space is used for below-the-line advertising campaigns, and for the remaining four months, it is dedicated to cultural projects on the theme of travel and escapism.
In 2009, an exhibition entitled "Vous avez dit Univers?" [“Did you say ‘Universe’?”] gave station users the opportunity to admire beautiful images of the cosmos, in a spectacular mosaic of large-scale photographs taken in space. The exhibition was organised by the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) in partnership with CNRS and RATP, to celebrate the International Year of Astronomy.
To mark the end of “2011: year of the French overseas territories”, RATP and the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) proposed “The overseas territories: a laboratory for research.” This large-scale photo exhibition, comprised of a hundred images dedicated to CNRS research in these regions, gave passengers an overview of the research conducted by CNRS in the French overseas territories.
Dubbed the “creation station”, Saint-Germain-des-Prés is one of the nine stations to have been themed around the centenary of the metro since the year 2000. 36 showcases on the platforms house exhibitions consisting mainly of texts and images produced in collaboration with prestigious partners, such as the Angoulême comic book festival, Printemps des Poètes, the IESA, the Swedish Institute, La Villette, etc. Projections on the domed ceiling show off the station’s architecture and give an impression of greater space.
From now until early June 2013, visitors to the Museum of Letters and Manuscripts and passengers using Saint-Germain-des-Prés metro station can view a sample of the Museum’s collections classified into five areas – history, music, science, arts and literature.
First opened on 19
July 1900, the Parisian metro had to be easily
recognisable. It was architect Hector Guimard (1867-1942) who gave the metro
entrances their distinctive look. He designed three types of entrance: glass
canopies, cast iron balustrades and pavilions. Designed to protect incoming
customers from bad weather, the glass canopies consisted of a full glass
shelter surrounding the stairs down into the underground. There were very few
examples. Guimard also designed the cast-iron balustrades, each topped with an
arch carrying a sign reading “MÉTROPOLITAIN”. The pavilions, which used the
same constituent elements as the glass canopies, had several roofs one on top
of the other, which quickly saw them nicknamed “pagodas” or “Chinese
pavilions”. Today, 86 of the 167 original structures still remain, including
the glass canopies at Porte Dauphine and Abbesses. They have been
joined by two contemporary creations: the entrance to the Maison de la RATP and the glass canopy at Place Sainte-Opportune.
An integral part of our heritage, these monuments to Art nouveau can also be found in a number of museums: at the New York Museum of Modern Art, the Staatliches Museum in Munich and the Compagnie française des pétroles in Hassi-Messaoud, Algeria, the last of which was set up in the Sahara desert to evoke Paris for Hassi Messaoud’s oil workers, a bit like the metro ticket in the film “The Wages of Fear”.
Guimard’s work is well received abroad: RATP has given reproductions of his balustrades to a number of foreign transport networks, offering transport users in Montreal, Lisbon, Mexico City, Chicago and Moscow a little taste of Paris!
Since 2002, RATP has offered considerable support for the “Nuit Blanche”, Paris’s annual all-night cultural festival. Each year, RATP contributes to the success of numerous cultural activities by setting up a special night transport service.
This year, in the heart of the Maison de la RATP, the public is
invited to experience a highly poetic sea journey!
The main internal walkway of RATP Group’s headquarters, located on the banks of the Seine, houses a giant screen showing a 30-minute film loop representing the breaking and receding waves of the Mediterranean Sea, as filmed by Ange Leccia.
In2011, RATP hosted two artistic projects by France Dubois: an installation called “Extra-systole” on the Butte Montmartre’s funicular car and a dynamic light installation called “Cyclolux” at the Madeleine metro station.
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