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METRO

Which Paris Metro lines have air con and which are hotter than hell?

Summer in Paris can be hot and sticky, and nowhere more so than on the city's public transport network - but which are the coolest lines and which should you avoid at all costs?

Which Paris Metro lines have air con and which are hotter than hell?
Prepare to feel like a lobster in a cooking pot on certain Metro lines. Photo: AFP

Started in 1900, many parts of the Paris Metro date from well before the invention of air conditioning (climatisation), and even now it is not standard that all lines are cooled, with the result that in summer it can get pretty sticky down there.

But some lines are better than others and while the more modern lines have lovely cooled air circulating, some of the older lines feel like the inner circle of hell.

READ ALSO The strange rules of the Metro you should know about

There are three types of ventilation on the lines – natural ventilation via grates at street level, mechanical ventilation with what are essentially fans and ventilation with chilled air.

The coveted chilled air is circulated on five lines – 1, 2, 5, 9 and 14 – which generally cross the city going east to west. This system is not quite the same as air conditioning, which is very energy-consuming and expensive when underground, but still feels pretty good to passengers on a hot day. 

The middle level of ventilation with a fan is found on lines 4, 7, 7bis, 8 and 13 while the lines with no cooling method at all are lines 3, 3bis, 6, 10, 11 and 12.

This is generally bad news for people who live in the southern part of the city, which is only served by fan cooled or not cooled lines.

If you’re looking for a chilled transport method your best bet is the trams. The modern tram system is entirely air conditioned apart from the T1, which is in the process of having air conditioning installed. However the tram system tends to serve the suburbs and outskirts of the city, so it is not much help for people needing to travel in the city centre.

And if you’re taking a bus don’t even bother looking for air con – 94 percent of the city’s fleet has no air conditioning.

On the suburban RER train service it’s a bit hit and miss, the more modern trains have it while the older ones don’t but they all run on all lines so there’s no way to know which will be cool and which will be roasting hot until you get on.

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FOOD & DRINK

Paris bakers bounce back with sharp rise in number of city boulangeries

If you’ve convinced yourself that the delicious and tempting aroma of baking bread seems a little more pronounced in Paris then your scent suspicions are accurate, according to new figures showing a strong growth in the number of boulangeries in the capital.

Paris bakers bounce back with sharp rise in number of city boulangeries

You might think that the busy pace of big city life would put paid to the tradition of going to a traditional boulangerie to buy your daily bread.

But after several years in which number of boulangeries in and around the capital did indeed decline, 110 new bakeries were listed by the Chambre des métiers et de l’artisanat (CMA) d’Île-de-France in 2022.

In the 20 arrondissements of Paris, there are now 1,360 bakeries – a jump of nine percent in the past five years. Twenty years ago, there were only 1,000 boulangeries in the capital.

Moving out into the greater Paris Île de France region, the number of boulangeries has jumped an average of 20 percent – and as much as 35 percent in the département of Seine-Saint-Denis. 

READ ALSO MAPS: How many Parisians live more than 5 minutes from a boulangerie?

They’re busy, too. According to CMA figures, Parisian boulangeries bake between 500 and 800 baguettes a day, compared to an average of 300 across France, and sell a variety of artisan-made breads and pastries.

That’s in spite of repeated crises – from the yellow vest protests and pandemic confinement, to the rising cost-of-living and soaring energy bills.

The CMA has said it has contacted every one of the bakers in Paris to find out how they are coping with rising bills, while an estimated 50 advisers are conducting energy audits to find ways for individual bakers to save money.

The secret of modern boulangers’ survival is not much of a secret – diversification.

“The profile of the artisan is not the same as it was fifty years ago, when making good bread was enough,” Jean-Yves Bourgois, secretary general of the CMA of Île-de-France, told Le Parisien. “They are much more dynamic: the offer is much wider, and they have been able to keep up with customers’ demand.”

READ ALSO

Bakeries have increasingly established themselves as an alternative to the fast-food kebab houses and burger bars by developing their product lines to include salads, sandwiches and warm meals for takeaway. Many also have an attached café or terrace for customers to while away their time.

As well as diversifying, bakers are consolidating. “Networks of artisanal bakeries (Kayser, Landemaine, Sevin, etc.) are expanding, and more and more Parisian artisans are managing several stores,” the Professional Association of Bakers in Greater Paris said.

“There have been other crises and we have held on. The bakery industry still has a lot of good years ahead of it,” Franck Thomasse, president of the professional association, said.

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