Daily life

Did you know about Guimard station entrances?

Up to 167 Guimard-style station entrances were installed on the Parisian metro network throughout its history. Overview.  

The first station entrances were designed by Hector Guimard, an art Nouveau luminary. The metro station entrances became a symbol of the capital, with their fascinating cast-iron structure, natural curves and foliage decoration. There were originally 167 of them on the network, with 87 surviving until today. They are listed in the French Supplementary Historic Monument List and can be found at 66 stations.

Hector Guimard designed three entrance types: pavilions, canopies and fences.  The pavilions were the largest, shaped like true “pagodas”, and found at Bastille and Étoile station entrances. They have since been destroyed.

pavillon Guimard
Guimard pavilion at Bastille station - 1947

The canopies are covered station entrances. Three of them remain on the network at Porte Dauphine, Abbesses and Châtelet stations, with the latter being unveiled for the hundredth anniversary of the metro network in 2000.

édicule Guimard
Guimard canopy at Porte Dauphine station - 2006

Finally, 84 simple fences can be found on the network, with varying widths depending on road layout. A simple Guimard fence is comprised of an enamelled lava stone plaque bearing the word “Métropolitain” or “Métro” supported by “lilies of the valley” posts topped by orange-red globe light fixtures. The short posts framing the entrance are reminiscent of human femurs, and the crests and cartouches on the railing were inspired by insect shells.

entourage Guimard et détails
Guimard fence at Palais Royal - Musée du Louvre station (2014); closeup of the Guimard fence at Bastille (1984) and Réaumur Sébastopol (1998) stations.