Sister Cities

April 25, 2007

Although I tend to side with the late Warren Zevon in declaring that Paris, France “ain’t that pretty at all,” I take this position out of good old-fashioned contrariness rather than genuine belief that the city of lights is as scenic as Little Rock. In fact, I think that Paris has some of the best public art ever built: the Paris Metro entryways.

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Designed by Hector Guimard, these entrances are beautiful examples of art niveau. What’s really interesting is how well these stations fit-in with the existing architecture.

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Though the entry is of a markedly different style, its understated nature allows it to blend in swimmingly. (More about the entrances)

Years ago, I noticed this portal to the Metra on Michigan avenue. 271395025_2869063d9d_m.jpgI’d always assumed that our fair suburban transit agency had simply stolen the concept of the Parisian statments and hoped no-one would think twice about it.

Well, someone did, and they decided to ask Chicagoist who in turn discovered that the Metra station was actually a gift from our sister city. Personally, I’m just glad cities still exchange gifts–even if Paris was too snooty to accept our offer of Art Deco panels from the Ogden Street Bridge.