Sunday 8 July 2012

A Bomb-Proof Metro Station

One of the many interesting things in Mark Ovenden's book 'Paris Underground' is the story of the Place des Fêtes Metro station.

The station was one of several stops on the new line 11 of the Metro system, which was scheduled to be built at the beginning of the 1930s. As the geopolitical situation worsened during that decade, a decision was taken to ensure that, as Ovenden writes, it could "later be used as a sealable air-raid shelter in the event of an attack". 

The station, in concrete, has fairly typical 1930's forms (described as Bauhaus-style by Ovenden - interesting therefore to think that the Bauhaus school of architects and designers, forced to end their activities by Hitler, influenced design that was aimed towards resisting his armies), with backlit letters cut from metal panels. To the rear, the stations also offer a simple, but attractive perspective, particular as night begins to fall.

However, the principal new feature was just inside the entrance. In the event of an air-raid, a metal shutter could quickly seal the station and protect it both from blasts and gas.

This station was identified as one that could play this role principally because of its depth. Situated at one of the highest points in the city, the platforms sit 74 feet beneath the surface. As it happened, Paris largely avoided the air-raids that many other European cities suffered, and the station was never put to the test. Let's hope that is always the case!


Starman said...

It would be so wonderful if we had seen the last of war, but that's not very likely given the greed and arrogance by world 'leaders'!

Red_Cardinal said...


I have a feeling that this station entrance appears in a scene in Bob Swami's policier "La Balance".

PeterParis said...

Interesting! I'm more and more fascinated by the deep research you make for each post! :-)

Kiki said...

another highly interesting and fascinating article - thank you Adam. I never heard of this metro station.... agree with the comments above.
cheers, Kiki

Unknown said...

Makes so much sense!

Jason Statham said...

These articles and blogs are truly enough for me for a day. wordpress themes

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