In 1986, during my freshman year of high-school French class, "Madame" put Xeroxed copies of the Paris metro on each of our desks. After conjugating the verb etre
, we spent the rest of the period learning how to navigate the Paris metro through its iconic map. Madame asked us the fastest way to travel from the Eiffel Tower to Notre Dame, and then on to Montmartre for a café crème. Once we got the hang of it, it was extremely easy to navigate various routes for wherever we wanted to go with our "Carte Orange." All we needed was a plane ticket and we'd be set!
So, imagine my glee when I spotted Mark Ovenden's newest map book, Paris Underground: The Maps, Stations, and Design of the Metro. Mark Ovenden is a map-geek extraordinaire. Paris Underground has more than 1,000 full-color maps, diagrams, and photographs of its famous subway system, and explains its evolution from the 1900 opening of the first line, to today's modern transit service. This book is utterly delightful and fascinating.