Visiting the Phantom Metro Stations of Paris

I’m always intrigued by that which is underground. We’ve posted, for example, a number of times here on Gadling about the Parisian catacombs which stretch for hundreds of kilometers under the French capital.

Today, thanks to USA Today, we bring you up to speed on another subterranean attraction below the streets of Paris: the metro.

No, we’re not talking about the ho-hum commuter metro ridden by thousands of people every day. We’re talking about the metro ridden by a select group of aficionados only a few times a year. Technically, it’s the same line, but this particular journey takes passengers into the past, to metro stations which have closed long ago.

The tour is conducted by a club of metro enthusiasts known as ADEMAS (Association D’Exploitation du Material Sprague). It is a secretive club (with a website, of course) who does not publicize their tours, yet take 2,400 people a year on an all night jaunt that begins when the regular metro shuts down. The lucky few who manage to join a tour do so aboard an historic 1930 Sprague-Thomson train.

The train rumbles ghostlike through active stations before shooting off the main track and eventually coming to a stop at abandoned “phantom stations” which have been closed since World War II. Passengers disembark for a small party of beer and coffee which is accompanied by a festive organ grinder. How very French!

The tour lasts for an intriguing five hours and ends with hot chocolate and croissants. Then, it’s time to join the regular mopes on the regular metro and get yourself back to your hotel for some well-earned Zzzzzs.