The XX Factor

If Women Ruled the World, Paris Metro Map Edition

Detail of Métroféminin
“Transfer at Coco Chanel, then get off at Edith Piaf.”

Courtesy of Silvia Radelli

French artist Silvia Radelli has transformed the Parisian Metro map into a female  paradise. As part of her current Vies Magnifiques exposition, she’s created an alternative version of the Metro grid that renames some 100 stations for historic women and events, telling what she calls “another history of the world.”

In her vision, Victor Hugo is replaced by Georges Sand, and Alexandre Dumas by Jane Austen. The map memorializes a diverse cast of women from Frida Kahlo to Indira Gandhi, Helen Keller, Coco Chanel, Calamity Jane, Hannah Arendt, and Eleanor Roosevelt, who took the stop named for her husband out from under him.

Princess Diana appropriately gets the Alma Marceau Metro station, near the site of her fatal accident. The famed Trocadéro stop, known for its sweeping views of the Eiffel Tower, becomes Sappho. Pyramides, named to mark Napoleon Bonaparte’s 1789 victory in the Battle of the Pyramids in Egypt, goes instead to Nefertiti.

Radelli’s piece, Métroféminin, is on display through March 29 as part of the exhibit at Paris’ Galerie L’Aléatoire (métro Maubert Mutualité, though you should get off at “métro Susan Sontag” instead and walk a couple of extra blocks). I can’t imagine nostalgia-loving Paris adopting the new Metro map anytime soon, but with 303 stations and only a few named after women, the city could certainly serve to honor a few more femmes.

Métroféminin, by Silvia Radelli. Click to zoom in.

Courtesy of Silvia Radelli