Illustrated Etiquette Guide Explains How to Ride the Paris Metro in a Civilized Way


Fel­low rid­ers fail­ing to observe prop­er com­muter eti­quette ranks high on the pet peeves list of habit­u­al sub­way users world­wide. While pas­sen­gers play­ing music loud enough for oth­er com­muters to hear would be incon­ceiv­able in Osa­ka, Japan, most straphang­ers would­n’t bat an eye at iPods blast­ing in New York. Mean­while, New York­ers have their own spin on sub­way eti­quette. Gothamist, a New York City blog, fre­quent­ly posts pho­to­graph­ic vio­la­tions of the unspo­ken rid­ers’ code of con­duct; doc­u­ment­ed gaffes include bring­ing a Christ­mas tree on the sub­way and car­ry­ing a surf­board the wrong way.

To pre­vent such faux pas from ruin­ing the sub­way-rid­ing expe­ri­ences of Parisian com­muters, France’s pub­lic trans­port oper­a­tor (the RATP) has decid­ed to nip such gauche behav­ior in the bud by issu­ing a short illus­trat­ed man­u­al on sub­way man­nersThe Savoir Vivre Guide For The Mod­ern Trav­elleravail­able here, is a quaint 1950s-style primer that pro­vides much-need­ed point­ers for hap­less for­eign­ers and rur­al French vis­i­tors alike. Its 12 guide­lines, five of which are illus­trat­ed here, are a dis­til­la­tion of some 2000 tips that the RATP received in its crowd­sourced eti­quette cam­paign. For the sake of your read­ing plea­sure and trav­el­ling know-how, we’ve includ­ed a num­ber of the illus­tra­tions and tips below:


“Those No Smok­ing signs aren’t con­tem­po­rary art — they mean no smok­ing”

(C’est com­pren­dre que l’énorme cig­a­rette bar­rée sur le quai n’est pas une œuvre d’art con­tem­po­rain, mais une inter­dic­tion de fumer)


“Be con­sid­er­ate when using your cell­phone”

(French read­ers will enjoy the pun: C’est ne pas faire de son portable un insup­port­able)



“Don’t be a creep and stare at peo­ple”

(C’est ne pas fix­er une pas­sagère avec insis­tance, quand bien même elle aurait les yeux revolver)



“On hot days, make like the emper­or pen­guin — keep your arms low, and hold on to the bot­tom of the pole.”

(C’est les jours de grosse chaleur, tel le man­chot empereur, bien garder les bras le long du corps et pren­dre sa meilleure prise en bas du poteau, pas tout en haut)

For all 12 tips, head over to Gothamist.

Ilia Blin­d­er­man is a Mon­tre­al-based cul­ture and sci­ence writer. Fol­low him at @iliablinderman.

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