Maybe I'm not a newbie anymore - suspicious packages on the metro

Metro Line 4 - Suspicious package at Cite, traffic is interrupted
between Chatelet and Odeon

For the past couple of weeks, I've been wondering when or how I'll know that I've moved beyond the stage of "newbie in Paris" to something more substantial, something that says that I've reached a higher level as a city dweller.  

And I think that I may have found the perfect litmus test - my reaction to the message, "Metro Line 4 -Suspicious package at Cite, traffic is interrupted between Chatelet and Odeon" that I saw while sprinting through the metro station on the way to watch the Tour de France on Sunday.  Here's what I noticed about my behavior:
  • Managed to read the screen in French and understand it while traveling at a fast pace. The picture above was actually taken at the next station, not the one where I originally noticed it.
  • Kept running towards the area of potential danger rather than away from it.
  • Waited until we were on the platform to discuss it with Stephane and Philippe, for as any experienced city dweller knows, there's nothing worse than running down the stairs of the metro and hearing the woosh of the departing train as it leaves the station because you wasted your time standing in front of the screen while trying to figure out an alternate plan.
But in all seriousness, after seeing another announcement about a suspicious package on Metro Line 1 yesterday, it would be a good idea to look at the screens in the stations because they give useful information that you may be able to decipher even if you don't understand French.  As this is the first time that I've seen two notices about suspicious packages on two consecutive days, I'm going to keep a close eye on the screens to learn about any delays or closures.

Metro Line 1 - Due to a suspicious package, the traffic is
slowed down on the entire line.


  1. "When you have been warned, you must listen."

  2. Point well taken, Joseph. I also thought about "Third time's a charm" and decided to travel by bus today, which is what I normally do anyway. That's the hard part about being a "newbie", I'm not sure if the two suspicious packages are normal here, although I haven't seen notices about them before, or if it's something that I should be concerned about.

  3. Newbie or not, given the events over the weekend, caution is wise, especially in Europe. Were that it was not so.

  4. Shortly after we saw the second message in the metro my son asked me if I had heard about what happened in Norway. I hadn't yet, so it was a rather sobering moment.

  5. The "colis suspect" messages are nothing special - it just means that some idiot forgot his bag, or something similar. The police, metro staff and the public are always alert - after all, the Paris public transport has had quite a few terrorist attacks over the years:
    1975: Gare de l'Est (1 dead, 7 wounded);
    1983: Orly Airport (8 dead, 56 wounded);
    1995: Metro station Saint Michel (8 dead, 117 wounded);
    Metro station Maison-Blanche (12 wounded);
    RER train between Musée d'Orsay and Saint-Michel metro stations (30 wounded)
    1996: Metro station Port-Royal RER (4 dead, 170 wounded)
    That's not counting the various bomb attacks on Paris shops (Tati, Champs-Elysées, Galeries Lafayette, Printemps, Drugstore, etc.).

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