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”.
T2 tramline cultural information boards – 5 series:
- Au fil du tram (purple): the history of the tramway since its invention.
- Le tramway en personne (light blue): information about key personalities
- La culture du tramway (green): this series focuses on the remarkable character of the tramway and the places through which it passes
- Un tramway dans la ville (orange): information about the areas surrounding the tram route
- Tramway mémoire (navy blue): special tributes to historical events or personalities
The T2 tram line chronicles some of the seminal moments in the history of railways, and trams in particular. Details of major historical events can be found all along the T2 route, from the story of Napoleon, the Franco-Prussian War and great victories, to Gallo-Roman remains. Palaces, mills, parks and industrial sites are just some of the features to which the cultural information boards draw passengers’ attention. From Jean-Jacques Rousseau to Jean-Jacques Beineix, from Rodin to Lartigue, many artists have left their mark along the T2 route. Museums also form part of the rich cultural heritage in the areas neighbouring the line (Observatoire de Meudon, Musée de la porcelaine, Musée de la Carte à Jouer, etc.)
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.
- by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- in person, by appointment, at the Centre d’archives et de documentation at the Maison de la RATP
Heritage Days: Travel back in time!
As a long-standing partner of European Heritage Days, RATP regularly offers its passengers the opportunity to discover or rediscover the company’s heritage. Rich in art and architecture, the metro has been built by generations of architects, engineers, artists and designers, all of whom have helped shape unique places. RATP takes part in this major cultural event every year, offering visits to little-known places and bringing old rolling stock back to life. For one day each year, the network that passengers thought they knew becomes a place of discovery...
In 2012, RATP proposed an unusual treasure hunt in the metro, with the solving of an enigma as its crowning point. Sponsored by Stephane Bern, the event took participants through several amusing circuits, providing an occasion for all to discover in an unusual way some of the metro’s treasures: secrets, legends, discoveries and more.
Watch the event in video [This content is not available in English]: