Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Thameslink "Tube" - Perfection In Paris? (deux)

ABC - At the Boundary of the City

The above is Paris city in 1900. It is not as big as you might expect; the city itself is a very rough circle with a diameter of seven miles. Between 1841 and 1846 a defensive wall was build round the whole area, named after its progenitor, Prime Minister Adolphe Thiers (His successor actually implemented the plan!).
Inside the wall a military road was built which became "Les Boulevards Des Mareschals".

The expansion of the land area of Paris in 1860, by annexing bordering communities, created a situation where everything within the Thiers wall was Paris and everything without was not. The Thiers wall, with its accompanying berm and moat, led to a profound disruption and complication of the synergistic relationship between Paris and its suburbs.

Paris city council started conversion of some sections of the Rue Militaire into boulevards in 1861. In the 1920s, the complete dismantling of the enclosure permitted the further building of what has become a series of 23 connected boulevards encircling the city, which came to be known as the Boulevards of the Marshals almost fully realized by 1932. The Boulevards of the Marshals was built just inside the city limits, leaving a ring of vacant land just outside the perimeter.

Much later that bit of vacant land became a fast (?) dual carriageway.

Construction of the Périphérique began in 1958, on the remaining land of the Thiers Wall, anywhere from a few meters to a city block just 'outboard' of the Boulevards of the Marshals.

But the former gates in the wall (Portes) are firmly implanted on the geography and nomenclature of the city today.
So here is the original "Porte" on the road to the suburb of Montreuil (looking towards the city centre) ...
... and here c/o Google Earth, is a modern aerial view of Porte de Montreuil showing the Boulevard Des Mareschals (left) and the perpherique with the mega roundabout on the right.
This picture of the Boulevard junction is undated, but probably pre-war ...
... and the same junction today.
Tram route 3b stops there now ...
... offering a connection across one short pedestrian crossing ...
... with the Metro.
Originally, the Metro lines terminated at the city boundary, at the wall or the site thereof; but as the city expanded, so it was deemed necessary for the Metro to press on into the suburbs. Here is a really awful map extract (date unknown) ...
... showing lines beyond the ancient boundary. You can also spot (upper right) a couple of proposed extensions from Porte de la Villette to and Porte de la Chapelle.

By 1956 a better Metro map looked like this.
It was still possible to show JUST the Metro. But, as we can see from today's Porte de Monreuil, you could no longer avoid mentioning the trams. So in goes tram 3b to the Metro map.
Then, although it does not affect Porte de Montreuil, we cannot ignore the RER. It cannot be ignored for two reasons. Firstly it is part of the city fares structure (up to a point - more later!), known as "le ticket" ...
... shown as valid on Metro, Bus and Tram plus RER "dans Paris".

Secondly, RER does provide relief for slow crowded Metro trains on some of the most important traffic flows across the city; RER D (GREEN) provides the only sensible public transport link between Gare du Nord and Gare de Lyon.

Therefore the RER needs adding in.
Here we see B (BLUE), E (PURPLE) and A (RED) as they approach the Metro boundary. Note also non-RER line K (MUD) is also shown.

The Metro Map (PLUS, plus quite a lot!) works at the edge of the city because the network is compact enough to create a diagram which is remarkably accurate geographically.
Matching up the geographical map above with the diagram (further above) does not involve the sorts of weirdness the we find on London's "Tube" map.
Remember, as if we could never forget, the two distinct Watfords that are, in reality, almost "next door" to each other.
So far, then, Paris beats London hands down; it fits, it makes sense and there are no geographical horrors. 

But that's OK for the periphery (perpherique!!) - but what happens in the centre, geographically or ...
... in diagram form.

 Next Perfection in Paris ? blog : Thursday 21st January 


  1. 3bis is not a tram! It's the orphan part of line 3, after the main section was extended beyond Gambetta to Gallieni. The preceding map shows the original situation, with line 3 continuing to Porte des Lilas, and this section, 3bis, remains very much an underground Metro, run by Metro stock.
    Tram routes are prefixed T, and shown as such on their destination displays, as the picture used confirms.

    1. Ah. but there is a tram T3b as shown on the map which also visits the Metro 3bis terminus... just to confuse! T3b does go via Porte de Montreuil as illustrated.

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