French Language Blog

Des transports hors communs !* Posted by on Sep 6, 2016 in Culture, Vocabulary

Paris has one of the oldest – and for my money, best – subway systems in the world. While le Métro is just one part of a vast network of public transport options in and around la capitale (including les trains de la SNCF, les bus, et les RER – gérés, comme le Métro, par la RATP)** it is easily the most useful (except of course for when there is une grève!)

This past week, the RATP introduced une nouvelle campagne publicitaire (a new advertising campaign) aimed at increasing awareness of safety measures in the Metro. Like most things in France these days, it wasn’t without controversy, but this particular video actually has quite a bit of good info for a first-time rider and is also funny enough to share.

La RATP présente / The RATP presents

Les Consignes de Sécurité / Safety Instructions

La RATP vous souhaite la bienvenue sur ses lignes. / The RATP welcomes you to our (subway) lines.

Pour votre sécurité sur l’ensemble du réseau, merci de nous accorder votre attention. / To ensure your safety across our network, thank you for your attention (to this message)

Lors de votre attente en station***, pour éviter de prendre votre métro ou RER plus tôt que prévu, / While you’re waiting in the station, to avoid catching your subway or express earlier than planned,

Merci de vous éloigner de la bordure des quais et de retirer casque, écouteurs, / Please move away from the edge of the platform and remove cap, headphones,

Ou même cotons-tiges de vos oreilles. /  Or Qtips from your ears.

Pour éviter tout risque de collision ou d’électrocution, / To avoid any risk of collision or electrocution,

Ne descendez jamais sur les voies, / Never go down onto the rails****,

Même en cas de chute de vos effets personnels. / Even should you drop your personal effects.

Ensuite sans courir, et sans bousculer les autres voyageurs, / Then without running, and without pushing (jostling) the other passengers (lit. “travelers”),

Montez à bord en empruntant les portes latérales, / Enter (board) using the side doors,

C’est-à-dire celles situées à droite ou à gauche de chaque rame*****. / That is, those located at the right or left of each train

Prenez alors place en vous asseyant / Take your place either seated

Ou en vous tenant aux barres métalliques. / Or holding on to the metal bars.

Vous éviterez ainsi un grand moment de solitude en cas de freinage brusque ou de turbulences. / That way you will avoid finding yourself all alone should the subway brake suddenly or if there is turbulence.

Au retentissement du signal sonore, veillez à ne plus monter ou descendre / At the signal, do not board or exit any more

Afin de ne pas gêner la fermeture automatique des portes. / So that you don’t impede the automatic closing of the doors.

Vous pourriez vous retrouver coincé avant d’être traîné par la rame. / You could find yourself stuck before being pulled along by the train.

Si vous ouvrez une fenêtre durant le voyage, / If you open a window during the trip,

Merci de ne pas y passer les bras, la tête ou les oreilles / Please do not stick your arms, head, or ears out

Vous les retrouverez ainsi plus facilement à votre arrivée. / To more easily find them at the end of your trip.

L’ensemble de notre équipe reste à votre disposition pour toutes questions, / All of our team is at your disposal for any questions,

Sauf celles relatives à la météo. / Except for those about the weather.

Au nom de toute la RATP, nous vous remercions pour votre attention / On behalf of the RATP, thank you for your attention.

Et nous vous souhaitons un excellent voyage. /  We wish you an excellent journey.

Métro et RER / Subway and RER

Un accident grave chaque jour par manque d’attention / One serious accident a day due to inattention

Les consignes de sécurité comptent aussi sur nos lignes /  Security measures matter on our lines too


* In French, public transportation including the subway, trains, bus, and more are referred to as “ transports en commun ” . This week’s title is a play on words that you might translate as “transportation out of the ordinary”.

** La Régie autonome des transports parisiens (RATP) is the group responsable, along with the SNCF (Société Nationale de Chemin de Fer) for managing the public transport networks in and around Paris. Le RER (Réseau Express Régional) is a network of high-speed or express subway trains including the RATP lines A and B sud and SNCF lines B nord, C, D, and E.

*** ‘station’ is the French word for a subway station, however if you’re talking about a train station, the correct term would be ‘gare’.

**** “voies” litteraly means “way” or “route”. It is a generic term for the place where traffic of any kind flows. In this case, it means tracks and area through which the subway train runs.

***** ‘rame’ is one of those words that I always find tricky to convey in English. It literally means “train” but it doesn’t mean just a choo-choo train (as in ‘chemin de fer’ which is the proper term for “railway”) but any ensemble of cars that make up a train . . . as in a subway train, or a train train. So while ‘le Métro’ is the whole system, ‘une rame de Metro’ is a single metro train.

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About the Author: Tim Hildreth

Since my first trip to France at 16, I have been a passionate francophile. I love the language, food, music, art, people, and more that make France and la Francophonie in general such an amazing part of our global community. Having lived in France and studied the language and culture for over 35 years, it is my great pleasure to be able to share a little bit of my deep love with you through this blog.


  1. Sylvia:

    Thanks, I enjoyed that! Thanks for the helpful translations, too. You may wish to correct one important typo, though: ‘freinage’ = braking, not breaking! Brake = freiner; Break = casser, rupture, tomber en panne.

    • Tim Hildreth:

      @Sylvia Merci, Sylvia! Those pesky homophones will get you (ok, me!) every time.