Châtelet les Halles

Today I am going to show you a few pictures and videos of Châtelet les Halles, the biggest underground station in Paris, the biggest one in Europe too, and many people even say the biggest one in the world, as you can see in this very interesting video (in French, with French subtitles):

Here is a map of the neighbourhood of Paris showing the dimensions of the Châtelet les Halles network:

"Châtelet les Halles" was inaugurated in 1977 by President Valery Giscard d'Estaing. 

Here is a 1977 video showing part of the hub when it was inaugurated:

I call it a hub because "Châtelet les Halles" must not be confused with the two stations of "Châtelet", and "Les Halles". 

"Châtelet" and "Les Halles" are métro stations, and "Châtelet les Halles" is at the same time the name of "RER" stations, and a massive hub grouping métro lines (called by numbers) and RER lines (called by letters). 

RER means Réseau Express Régional (Express Regional Network), which means that these lines also take you to distant suburbs of Paris (compared to the métro that stops at the limits of Paris or at best goes to the nearest suburbs).

You can walk from the two métro stations to the hub and the RER stations (if you are not in a big hurry) as they are linked together by extremely long corridors equiped with conveyor belts, escalators or staircases... which  finally all meet in this huge hub near Les Halles's shopping centre.


Five métro lines and three RER lines are connected to Châtelet les Halles. The hub is so big that it is not difficult to get lost in it, as it is a real labyrinth, so you need to follow the signs very carefully to find your platform. Don't forget your glasses at home if you need them, otherwise you won't be able to read the signs and you might be stuck in the hub for a long time!  😉

From this website (in English).

Châtelet les Halles is one of the busiest stations in the world. More than one million people use it every day, very often because they need it to go to work. 

Some people are passionate about the Paris underground and its history, but for some others, it is just the synonym of their hard lives when they have to get up very early in the morning to commute. This has been the inspiration for a song called "Châtelet les Halles", written for our great singer Florent Pagny, which describes very beautifully (the video is also very beautiful) the lives of those people who commute every day but dream of an "elsewhere" they will never see. 

Translation in English (not my translation)
("galère" in this song is, in this context, a French slang word which does not mean "galley" as translated literally in the link above, but means a very difficult situation of life. 
We say in French: "c'est la galère !", or "quelle galère !" for example.)


This is in fact "Les Halles" métro station. Credits

One of the exits. Credits

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