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Paris Metro Line 3bis Must-Sees

The Line Leading you to Ghost Stations & Quiet Corners of the City
Paris metro sign with pigeons on it.
Last updated November 7, 2023
The shortest metro line in Paris runs through the eastern part of the city, taking you to four stations rarely seen by tourists and giving you glimpses into everyday life in the 20th Arrondissement, with peeks at two ghost stations of the Paris metro along the way.

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Not even running for a full mile and stopping at only four stations, Metro Line 3bis is the shortest metro line in Paris.

This short, and usually quite empty, line was originally part of Metro Line 3.

Curious to discover more of the Paris Metro Lines? See our overview of Which Metro Line to Take for What and our Guides to Metro Line 1, Metro Line 2, and Metro Line 3.

When the City of Paris decided to extend Line 3 straight east to serve the suburb of Bagnolet in the 1960s, the four-station stretch of tracks between Gambetta and Porte des Lilas became a stand-alone line: a bis was added to the name and a new line was born.

Extensive construction and renovations followed and Metro Line 3bis — the light-blue line on the map — finally opened in 1971.

Paris metro line 3bis map

Running through mostly residential areas of the 20th Arrondissement, the Line 3bis is generally unknown to visitors. Even the locals don’t often bother descending down into the belly of the Paris metro tunnels to cover so short a distance.

In addition to taking you to an authentic — and affordable — part of Paris, this little-known line is also worth discovering for the stories behind its stations. 

Paris’s Metro Line 3bis gets its start at Gambetta, the station it shares with Line 3. Most people don’t know, but Gambetta is actually two stations: the former station Martin Nadaud was merged with Gambetta when Line 3 was extended and Line 3bis developed.

It’s now an official ghost station of Paris, an unused station which is still partly visible behind the fence of the Line 3 platform for Levallois.

Saint Fargeau metro station in Paris
Clicsouris / CC BY-SA
Moving along to the next stops, the entrances to the Pelleport and Saint-Fargeau stations are both interesting examples of Art Deco design. These small white buildings offer elevators down to the platforms along with lovely design details and are well worth a trip for architecture enthusiasts.

At the terminus Porte des Lilas, Line 3bis leads to yet another ghost station.

One of the worst-kept secrets in Paris, the cinema station of Porte des Lilas is a closed platform of the Porte des Lilas metro station which is frequently used for filming movies.

Paris metro station for movies
Photo by Yann Caradec via Flickr CC BY 2.0

Even if it’s closed to the public, except during the European Heritage Days, or the Journées du Patrimoine, this abandoned metro station can be seen on the big screen in Julie and Julia with Meryl Streep and of course, Amélie, as well as in countless ads.

Although the Metro Line 3bis is short, it shouldn’t be easily dismissed, especially for curious travelers in Paris looking to discover a different side of the city far away from the crowds.

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