Metro Magic: Hôtel de Ville Offers Treasures in the Center of Paris

Metro Magic: Hôtel de Ville Offers Treasures in the Center of Paris
This is the fourth in a monthly series about the wonders of the Paris Metro System. The mayor of Paris might sometimes hear rumblings … and not just the usual protests of disgruntled citizens. The sound is the distant thunder of the metro. The Hôtel de Ville metro station sits right under City Hall, so the vibrations are a part of life in the center of Paris. This metro station in the 4th arrondissement was one of the eight original stations, built in 1900, as part of the east/west Line 1. Line 11 was added in 1935. Devoid of ads, the walls pay tribute to the art and history of the city, so the station takes its rightful place on the list of “metro stations worthy of a more-than-transit visit.” Exhibits that showcase talented photographers. Photo © Meredith Mullins A Visual Reminder of Paris Spirit The centerpiece of the station design are tile mosaics of the Paris coat of arms. Although you will find this emblem all over Paris — on street lamps, municipal buildings, schools, bridges, and the helmets of the Republican Guard — it is here in this station that you can spend time discovering the many embedded symbols. The Paris Coat of Arms. Photo © Meredith Mullins The emblem first emerged in the 14th century and has evolved in the centuries since — even disappearing completely during certain periods of political history. But the image that has retained its prominence and focus is the silver sailing ship that rides atop a stormy sea against a red background. The historical importance of merchant ships on the Seine is given power by the words Fluctuat Nec Mergitur, a Latin phrase added to the emblem by Haussmann in 1853 as the city was modernized. The phrase now embodies the courageous spirit of Paris, shown in force as it became a rallying cry after the terrorist attacks of 2015. Fluctuat Nec Mergitur. Photo © Meredith Mullins

Lead photo credit : The Hôtel de Ville Metro Station. Photo © Meredith Mullins

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Meredith Mullins is an internationally exhibited fine art photographer and instructor based in Paris. Her work is held in private and museum collections in Europe and the U.S. and can be seen at or in her award-winning book "In A Paris Moment." (If you’re in Paris, a few rare, signed copies are available at Shakespeare and Company and Red Wheelbarrow.) She is a writer for OIC Moments and other travel and education publications.