More Paris Metro Stations: How They Got Their Names…


la defense

La Défense

Named after the statue La Défense de Paris by Louis Ernest Barrias, which was erected in 1883 to commemorate the soldiers who had defended Paris during the Franco-Prussian War. (la defense pic).

That very same man is also reponsible for “Nature unveiling herself to science”, now housed at the Musée d’Orsay.


Argentine metro station

Originally named Obligado, after the street at the Trocadero where it sits. The street was named after the Battle of Vuelta de Obligado, an Anglo-French victory over the Argentine Republic in 1845. However, it was renamed in May 1948, when the Rue itself was re-named d’Argentine as a mark of respect to Argentina. That country had helped France out during WWII, providing grain and beef to keep the population fed.

There’s some lovely artwork down there – eight pictures, each representing a different bit of Argentina, and they were officially welcomed in June 2011 by the Argentinian ambassador and minister for tourism.

Porte Dauphine

Porte Dauphine

Named after one of the old city gates of Paris, Porte Dauphine, it has one of the only two art nouveau aedicules designed by Hector Guimard that remain – the other one is at Abbesses. (Isn’t aedicule a great word? – never came across it before!) The original gate was part of the Thiers wall which surrounded Paris, built between 1841 and 1844.

This station is right at the Bois de Boulogne which incidentally has a film named after it – highly recommended – Les Dames de Bois de Boulogne, an elegant melodrama from Robert Bresson

Tati logo

Barbès – Rochechouart

Strange one, this – it opened in 1903 as the Boulevard Barbès station and was renamed 8 days later as Barbès – Rochechouart.

Armand Barbès was a well-off Guadeloupan revolutionary and bane of the establishment who had a habit of getting himself thrown into prison. He ended his days in exile in the Netherlands. Baroness de Rochechouart de Montpipeau on the other hand, was the 43rd abbess of Montmartre (the Boulevard de Rochechouart, one of the stations after which the station is named lies at the bottom of the hill of Montmartre.)

There’s also the Barbes Market held on Wednesdays and Saturday, and the other famous shopping opportunity at Boulevard de Rochechouart is the Tati store: spread over numerous different shops it sells copious amounts of cheap clothing and household goods. Unmissable with it’s pink and white gingham signs.

Julie McNamee
Born in Belfast and now living in London, Julie McNamee is involved in internet marketing as a day job and blogging as a hobby. She's interested in all things quirky and Fortean, as well as art, photography and theatre. Her blog Quirky Travel, specializes in London and Paris top tips and off the beaten path information with subjects such as London film locations and unusual Paris museums.
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