Paris metro station
Mayukh Saha
Mayukh Saha
May 31, 2024 ·  4 min read

Paris’ Ghost Metro Stations Could Become Subterranean Swimming Pools and Restaurants

Paris, the City of Lights, boasts a hidden network of forgotten metro stations. These subterranean spaces, once bustling with commuters, now lie silent, ripe with potential for reinvention. Let’s delve into a few ideas for these abandoned gems, with the award-winning Croix Rouge station taking center stage.

1. The Underground Oasis

Paris' Arsenal Station as an underground park
Image Credits: Manal Rachdi, OXO Architects & Nicolas Laisné, via IBT

Imagine a verdant escape beneath the city. Lush greenery cascades down the walls, water features trickle peacefully, and cafes offer refreshing drinks. This tranquil oasis would be a welcome respite from the urban jungle. My Opinion: While calming, this concept might lack the Parisian flair and could be challenging to maintain proper ventilation and lighting.

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2. The Glittering Gallery

Paris' Arsenal Station as an art gallery
Image Credits: Manal Rachdi, OXO Architects & Nicolas Laisné, via IBT

Adorned with art installations and illuminated by spotlights, this abandoned station becomes a subterranean showcase for local and international artists. Rotating exhibitions would keep visitors coming back for a dose of culture. My Opinion: A fantastic idea for art enthusiasts! The historical setting would add a unique dimension to the exhibits.

3. The Retro Revival

Paris' Arsenal Station as a nightclub
Image Credits: Manal Rachdi, OXO Architects & Nicolas Laisné, via IBT

Taking inspiration from the station’s original design, this concept would restore the platform and signage to its former glory. Vintage cafes and shops would line the platform, transporting visitors back in time. My Opinion: A charming concept for history buffs, offering a glimpse into Parisian metro history.

4. The Hidden Theater

Paris' Arsenal Station as a theater
Image Credits: Manal Rachdi, OXO Architects & Nicolas Laisné, via IBT

Imagine intimate performances taking place on the platform of an abandoned station. The unique acoustics and close proximity to the audience would create a captivating theatrical experience. My Opinion: A brilliant idea for theater companies seeking a unique venue. However, soundproofing from passing trains might be an obstacle.

5. The Parisian Playground

Paris' Arsenal Station as a pool
Image Credits: Manal Rachdi, OXO Architects & Nicolas Laisné, via IBT

Geared towards families, this abandoned station could become an indoor playground. Slides could wind through the tunnels, climbing structures mimic the station’s architecture, and interactive displays educate children on Parisian history. My Opinion: A fantastic idea for families with young children, offering a safe and stimulating environment.

6. The 5-Star Restaurant

Paris' Arsenal Station as a restaurant
Image Credits: Manal Rachdi, OXO Architects & Nicolas Laisné, via IBT

This idea of renovating the Paris metro station will never make you go hungry while waiting for the next train. If it’s as stylish as this, it can even be a place for a special night out. My Opinion: It definitely will help the business and ambiance of the metro station.

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The Crown Jewel of Paris Metro Stations: Croix Rouge Metro Station

The envisioned Croix Rouge station - the winner of abandoned Paris Metro stations reimagined.
Image Credits: SAME Architectes

Now, let’s turn our attention to the winning project for the Croix Rouge station – Terminus. This concept by SAME architectes transforms the abandoned platform into a haven for gourmands.

A picture of one of the abandoned Paris Metro stations
Image Credits: Inhabitat

The north platform boasts a marketplace with local vendors, while the south platform houses a restaurant and cocktail bar utilizing fresh ingredients from the market. The juxtaposition between the bustling market and the elegant dining space creates a dynamic atmosphere.

A picture of one of the abandoned Arsenal Metro station
Image Credits: Inhabitat

Originally slated for a 2021 opening, construction delays have pushed the completion date to 2025. Yet, Terminus promises to be a unique addition to the Parisian culinary scene, breathing new life into a forgotten space.

5 Interesting Details about the Terminus Project at Croix Rouge Metro Station:

The envisioned Croix Rouge station - the winner of abandoned Paris Metro stations reimagined.
Image Credits: SAME Architectes
  1. A Meeting Place for Gourmands: As highlighted earlier, Terminus isn’t just a restaurant; it’s a multi-sensory experience. The project envisions the two platforms functioning symbiotically. The north platform’s market allows diners at the south platform’s restaurant to enjoy the freshest seasonal ingredients, sourced directly from local vendors.
  2. Preserving Parisian Heritage: The architects, SAME, stressed the importance of honoring the station’s history. While the functionality will be completely revamped, certain architectural elements might be restored or reinterpreted to create a connection to the station’s past life.
  3. Challenges and Solutions: Transforming an underground space into a restaurant comes with its own set of challenges. Ventilation systems will be crucial to ensure proper air quality and eliminate any lingering “metro” smells. Additionally, soundproofing the restaurant from passing trains will be essential for a pleasant dining experience.
  4. Beyond the Plate: While food is central to the Terminus experience, the project might incorporate other elements. Imagine small pop-up shops showcasing local artisans’ work or even cooking demonstrations by chefs utilizing fresh produce from the market.
  5. A Beacon for Urban Renewal: The successful transformation of the Croix Rouge station could be a catalyst for similar projects. Other abandoned stations might be reimagined, breathing new life into forgotten corners of the Parisian underground and creating a network of unique destinations beneath the City of Lights.

The Future of The Paris Metro Stations

abandoned Paris Metro Stations
Credit: Pinterest

These ideas are just a glimpse into the possibilities for Paris’ abandoned metro stations. With creativity and vision, these subterranean spaces can be reborn, offering experiences that surprise and delight Parisians and visitors alike. The transformation of the Croix Rouge station paves the way for a future where the city’s hidden depths become vibrant hubs of activity.

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