St Martin, the most interesting of several phantom metro stations in Paris, two levels, four platforms, active lines and rarely seen relics of a forgotten time in the Paris metro’s history.
The Parisian underground rail network is over 100 years old, and in that time there have been few modifications, extensions and additions, to say the least. So what that means for us is abandoned stations.
Before the Second World War, the French government drafted plans in case of invasion that included the closing of non-essential stations on the metro, St Martin was one of those stations. The station was closed in September 1939, 8 months before the German invasion and remained closed until the Liberation of Paris in August 1944. The re-opening was short lived and the station was permanently closed soon afterwards due to the close proximity of surrounding stations.
As you may have guessed from looking at the photo, the lines that run through the station are still very active. This photo was taken from the doorway looking into one of the four platforms in the station. From this position we could keep out of site and just enjoy a peak into the private life of trains. Hundreds of people rush by, unaware they are being watched from the dark corners of a phantom station they did not even know existed.
This photo was one of those rare times when multiple color temperature light sources worked well.
This platform was once used as shelter for the local homeless population, the wall on the left separates the still active train lines from the former living space. With access to the paris metro system like this, I’d live there.
Both these photos are of advertisements circa 1948, which have never been seen by the public. Note that there is no graffiti, in Paris that means one of two things: they are in a very public place and surrounded in security cameras… or they are very hard to access. In this case, they are very hard to get to…
After the war the metro advertising business was in bad shape, so during the stations brief reopening it was decided that the station would be used as a showcase for what companies could buy in the way of public advertising in the cities metro. However, the station closed soon after and the ads were never used for their intended purpose.
Both these ads are for real products, and “Maizena” (a brand of corn flour) is still in production. These are examples of semi permanent type ads for which a company would pay an annual fee. They are made of hand painted ceramic tiles, which explains why they appear in such good condition after 50 years.
There are sections of the station that were once not so difficult to access, like this corridor, not to far from the exit onto a busy Parisian street. So although I usually don’t give a shit about graff, it is a bit of a shame this has been bombed.
This place is now well secured and inaccessible, so your best chance of seeing it is by keeping face pressed to the glass, it is worth it, there is some cool stuff out there… Some of it might even show up here eventually…