MJ Ramirez: Paris 2022


The Art and Beauty of the Paris Metro System by MJ Ramirez of FIU on July 2022

Growing up in Mexico, there was not much means of rapid transportation or a safe and efficient system available. Many still struggle with getting to their homes and jobs, and there is no secure environment for all age groups or genders. In addition, as a woman, I believe it’s more difficult to be independent in my own country or explore its wonders. And although I have always been curious and independent to explore on my own and answer questions about what I want to learn, it wasn’t easy adjusting to a society that limits people who wish to transport freely and easily from one point to another. However, although afraid, I was finally able to say, “I am traveling to Europe!” Many judged and looked at me, confused about whether I could take this responsibility alone, take the risks of solo traveling, and then join my study abroad class. Regardless of different opinions, I took the journey as a step to make my dream come true to visit beautiful France and see through my own eyes what a camera lens cannot capture. Moreover, thanks to my study abroad class in France and the incorporated curriculum project called Over Under Paris, I could push myself to navigate and move forward with my goal of becoming a confident traveler. This project allowed me to educate myself and facilitate my learning about places I wanted to visit while in Paris with the safest and fastest form of transportation, the Metro. The Parisian transportation systems are one of the most efficient and safest due to their accessibility and design to accommodate commuters and visitors. The Metro has 16 lines and connects with different ones to help people get from one location to their desired destination. During Over Under Paris, our class could focus on 14 lines, and my group and I chose line 2; we could make us feel confident and implement our navigation skills and take on the journey of the stops in line 2 in the Parisian Metro System.


Photography taken by MJ Ramirez// CC By 4.0

A clash of cultures I walked past as I explored the wonderful community of the Barbès-Rochechourt. The Barbès district is situated east of Montmartre and Pigalle. The diversity and immigration from African and Middle Eastern neighborhoods allowed me to see diverse businesses with friendly clients from the community that established themselves after the colonization of France in the 19th century and the invasion of Algiers in 1830. In addition, many emigrated from countries like Lebanon, Morocco, and other middle eastern colonies for better opportunities and work lifestyles. Therefore, now those immigrants residing in this area can provide French locals with their products and services. French locals can also take advantage of the sales of traditional African and Arab dresses and veils for the communities established in Barbès. The markets, small-owned businesses, and competitive shops in the district make an exciting experience for visitors to try a different environment with a lively atmosphere and a wonderful experience with diverse backgrounds. The striking colors, art, and signs allow one to view the different styles from the culture shift as soon as you step off the train at Barbès-Rochechourt. Although this stop is up and coming, as a visitor, one can be open and enjoy this part of Paris that is untouched by many.


Anvers Metro Station//Photography by MJ Ramirez CC By 4.0

The most visited destination from the Anvers stop is the beautiful view of Sacre Coeur de Montmartre, a Roman Catholic Church, and a minor basilica well known as the “Sacred Heart of Paris.” The Sacre Coeur was built to honor those who perished in the French Revolution and France’s defeat in the Prussian army wars. In addition, it was built to make amends and be forgiven by Jesus Christ for the sins committed from the ongoing atrocity and violence since the French Revolution. The Sacre Coeur is the second most visited Church in Paris; therefore, it is a populated area by tourists worldwide. In addition, it is the second highest point in Paris; the total height of the Sacre Coeur is 213 meters above sea level. Therefore, believers of the Catholic community come closer to Jesus Christ since it is close to the sky.

The mosaic “Christ in Majesty” in the apse// CC By 4.0

Moreover, in my experience, it is a unique Catholic Church and basilica since its 20th-century Romanesque architecture with sacred art inside that holds Jesus Christ. The Embodiment of the Church, I feel as if it is the Mosaic of Christ in the Apse, which is one of the largest of the world and it is encircled in the ceiling. Jesus as seen is opening his heart and arms and welcoming those who walked up the hill of Montmartre to witness his presence and worship his sacrifice; it almost feels like you are in Heaven. Therefore, the sentiment behind the Church makes the experience a once-in-a-lifetime memory. For example, as a Catholic, it was an important day to see Jesus; his presence in my eyes was memorable. However, the moment I met him after walking to the top of the Church, I felt joy and emotion as it was unique and important for me to experience this since it brought me closer to my religion while in Paris.


“The Mother of French Carabet Shows,” the famous Moulin Rogue, is the closest to metro station Blanche on line 2. In addition, one can see the colorful and vibrant red colors of the stunning windmill of the Moulin Rogue roof for a fantastic photo opportunity for those visiting the Paris Red Light district. It is a different location for those wanting to experience more adult nightlife in Paris while being around a tourist-friendly area. This stop takes one to the sexual history of Paris with its iconic sex shops and adult theaters around the boulevard. It is safer now than it used to be, even when traveling solo; many restaurants have been modernized and created an ambiance for those wanting bars with trendy cocktails.

The Beauty of Red Vibrant Colors of Moulin Rouge// CC By 4.0

Moreover, one can learn about the birthplace of the modern “can-can” dance, which led to the development of carabets across Europe. Although erotic and controversial due to the erotic dances of females using extravagant underwear of the period and contrasting black stockings, it was what introduced seductive dancing, and its popularity rose. Moulin Rogue, as I explained, is one of the contemporary spots to visit and stroll around while being comfortable as one would feel in any other destination. However, I felt more confident in navigating and educating myself on the history behind Moulin Rouge since it was the unique red lights were one of the first electric lights in Paris around the 19th century. Therefore, it was worth learning about the building that now is a must-see location. 

Photographies were taken and edited by MJ Ramirez by Anvers Station in Red Light District// CC By 4.0


A touristic place for its scenery, restaurants, and strolling around through the shops, it is “Place De La Bataille de Stalingrad,” but as visiting this establishment, I learned how the Canalde L’Ourca from 1809 was dug to inaugurate and celebrate the first water supply from the Canal that it provided to Parisians for a freshwater system needed clean water. I was sitting upon this Canal, enjoying the summer heat and reflecting on how essential it is for the locals to understand how vital the Canal is. Moreover, this area incorporates art in the form of Urban graffiti across the walls behind the Place de La Bataille from the urban artists of the community. For a moment, this location brought me to the Art Museum in Wynwood Walls because of the significance behind each graffiti and the power it carries for people to witness. For example, as I navigated through this area in Stalingrad, I experienced the strong and unified community and walked past its friendly people. This way, it allows one to learn more about the way Parisians express their opinions and perspectives for the future of their country through art, colors, and designs decorating the city with such beautiful views that generations can cherish.

Charles de Gaulle Etoile

A monument to the well-known emperor and the military genius of France that conquered almost all of Europe now it is the embodiment of Arc du Triumph: Napoleon Bonaparte. He made his name for generations to remember and learn from The Arc Du Triomph, a magnificent arch in the middle of a roundabout in Paris. and can be seen from any panormaic view in Paris, like the Eiffel Tower. This Arc was made in celebration of French Militiary victories. Napoleon Bonaparte originally had the idea and began to build it, but after his death they continued the project. The decorate arc features some of the greatest achievements of Napoleon and his military. Even though Napoleon was exiled, he was such a great military leader that he was brought back to France after his death  and they brought him across to later bury on the invalides.He was authentic and wanted power but earned it with his dedication but his downfall was his egocentrism because of wanting more. However, many


As soon as stepping into the tranquil stop of Jaures, one can walk toward various canals under bridges hidden where locals can fish and take away their stress of the everyday routine with the refreshing air near the water as the view in St.Martin Canal provides. I felt at peace, and the breezy atmosphere was perfect for a picnic day with friends. It felt a safe place one could enjoy, from walking down a small set of stairs to feeling refreshed after a busy day or overwhelmed. Not many know how this stop can take you to some distinctive spots when one loses themselves in their calm space, as I was able to experience it firsthand while sitting nearby a bench. At the same time, fishermen would come to sit and enjoy the shade in Saint Martin Canal and fish by the bank to relax. The Canal Saint Martin connects the Canal de l’Ourcq to the river Seine and it was commissioned in the 1800s to increase water supply in the city of Paris with its ever-growing population. This way, the Canal can provide clean water available to the public. Moreover, It connects to numerous boulevards and public spaces around the banks for locals to enjoy a restful environment with views from boats traveling throughout the Canal.

Charles De Gaulle Etoile

In Charles De Gaulle one can get off instantly to the most famous street, “Champs-Élysées,” where a tunnel can take you underneath The Arc Du Triumph. The Arc Du Triumph is a magnificent arch in the middle of a roundabout in Paris. In addition, it is seen from any panoramic view in Paris, like the Eiffel Tower it holds a fantastic sentiment. The Arc was made in celebration of French Military victories. Napoleon Bonaparte originally had the idea and began to build it, but after his death, they continued the project. The decorated Arc features some of the most outstanding achievements of Napoleon and his military. Even though Napoleon was exiled, he was such a great military leader that he was brought back to France after his death, and they brought him across to later bury on Invalides. He was a well-known emperor, and until this day, he is recognized and known by many. Regardless of his egocentrism and his downfall, he was France’s greatest emperor. Just walking under and seeing the empowerment of its designs makes one understand the beauty of France and how influential Napoleon Bonaparte was since his political, and social reforms that brought France together and changed the world.

La Chapelle

The Representation of Gare du Nord in La Chapelle Station// CC By 4.0

Being one of France’s six major railway stations, the “Gare du Nord” is known to be one of the busiest train stations in Europe, but when I saw it in person, I was blown away, and my expectations were superseded. I was also amazed at how the internal infrastructure has been completely revamped, and the main façade is still in its original design. However, this station has more than it seems. To my surprise, inside the station was an entire mall with eateries and retail stores such as the famous “Paul,” popular “Sephora,” and “Jennifer.”The Gare Du Nord transports about 700,000 passengers a day and about 44 different platforms that travel locally, to countries such as Brussels, Amsterdam, London, and Berlin, to name a few. Back in its creation in 1846, engineers could only install a few tracks and platforms. As a result, it created a problem with its high volume of passengers. Overcrowding is still an issue to this day; due to the busy fast pace lifestyle of the station, it is easy to get lost and not enjoy your journey there since people are quickly getting from one place to another.
While I was at the station, I was able to see the progress that is being made on the current refurbishment/renovation of the northern corridor, which will be a significant source of transportation for Parisians and tourists all around. Lastly, awestruck by this train station’s magnitude, I couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like if they could install such an extraordinary, accessible, and social form of transportation in Miami. I believe it could make a difference all around the city from the overpopulated roads and the traffic that rises more every year and overall hurts our climate change in the long run. Therefore, I support public transportation and would love to depend on it in my everyday lifestyle while being active and present to enjoy the experience of a daily journey.

Photographies by MJ Ramirez on Gare Du Nord// CC By 4.0


The Children from a Summer Camp academy enjoying their day in Jardin De La Rue// CC By 4.0

An ideal ambiance of greenery recreational parks with laughter filled all around secret gardens was created around 190os as an extension to the second line, couronnes; named after the local village of Les Couronnes-Sous-Savies. Outside this center, nature is abundant at the Parc de Belleville and a recreational center where people gather and can enjoy a day in the fresh climate. The location of the parks compares to many of the parks and recreation from the one I lived by when I first moved to Miami in a small suburban neighborhood due to its hidden spot and quiet side of Paris. There are occasional events at the park; for example, summer camps or yoga classes might take place in this beautiful scenery. If you walk into the town of the couronnes station, you will find various enjoyable cafés while spending your day in the Jardin de la Rue. For example, the fountain and the aquatic vegetation make this a great atmosphere. In addition, many of the restaurants by the parks serve various pastries and desserts that one can take away for the park to enjoy. Another interesting fact I learned through research was that only eighteen percent of Couronnes is urbanized, meaning most of the town is still in its natural state.


Opening in 1902, Paris incorporated the “Rome” Metro station. This station has played a pivotal role in connecting the schools in Paris since The Institut Universitaire de Formation des Maîtres is nearby, an institution that specializes in instructing secondary school teachers. This station was my primary selection because I want to focus on Higher Education and Leadership; therefore, visiting an establishment focused on education drove me to focus on the principles and see a different perspective from other countries while visiting the education community. Furthermore, they are based on which age groups they are concentrated in to familiarize me with the career I want to focus on my whole life. My family goes back to the education interest since my grandma was a principal all her life, and my mother is a high school teacher aiming to become a professor. However, I would want to focus more on policy and procedure in education to make a change with the school and the curriculum to help implement better strategies to educate students adequately. Therefore, my passion throughout this stop destination allowed me to experience firsthand the University of Teachers and motivated me to keep following my career in this area of making a change in the world while constantly learning and remaining open to the progressive educational system.


The beauty of the designs and architecture of the Pere-Lachaise Cemetery is unlike anything you have seen before. I was in awe and unable to process such a unique style as I walked through the entrance of Pere-Lachaise Cemetery. I was slowly trying to take in all the sights and process how this cemetery is adequately structured to identify the person who passed away. It is difficult to understand how a municipal cemetery in the 1800s with only 13 graves expanded is now both the largest park and the largest cemetery in Paris. For example, each tomb has architecture, design, colors, art, or style depending on what that person portrayed in their life, what the person liked, a passion, or what they became known for by the public and, therefore, have their memory live forever. It has around 300,000 to about 1,000,000 people buried, and significant historical figures are also buried in Père-Lachaise, which makes it the most-visited cemetery in the world. For example, notable individuals like and it is often hailed as the most-visited cemetery in the world. It has always been nondenominational. Among the famous people buried there are Eugène Delacroix, Jacques-Louis David, Georges Bizet, Frédéric Chopin, and Oscar Wildel. Therefore, to remember their beloved ones, the families of the deceased can design and make connections through the gravestone’s architecture to honor and represent them departed accordingly to their personality. It gave me the true meaning behind a person’s soul and how each grave had its own emotion, identity, and dedication towards how it can connect to their spirit, their memory, and for the people to honor their names forever.


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More from this author See All c, More from this author See All, cmsadmin Spirax Sarco Australia , cmsadmin Spirax Sarco Australia, Cmsadmin, Australia, S. S., cmsadmin BENEO, Beneo, cmsadmin Selerant, Selerant, cmsadmin NETZSCH Confectionery, & Confectionery, N. E. T. Z. S. C. H. (2019, May 27). Gare du Nord, Paris. Railway Technology. Retrieved August 1, 2022, from https://www.railway-technology.com/projects/garedunord/ 

Norah, L. (2022, April 4). How to get around Paris – A guide to all the transport options in Paris France. Finding the Universe. Retrieved August 1, 2022, from https://www.findingtheuniverse.com/how-to-get-around-paris/ 

Traub, C. (2020, October 26). Mastering the Paris Metro Public Transportation System: What you need to know. TripSavvy. Retrieved August 1, 2022, from https://www.tripsavvy.com/how-to-use-paris-public-transportation-1618925 

Why Le métro is a Paris attraction of its own. Marriott Bonvoy Traveler. (2017, July 12). Retrieved August 1, 2022, from https://traveler.marriott.com/paris/why-le-metro-is-a-paris-attraction-of-its-own/ 

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