Car heads down subway stairs

A driver tried to drive into the Chaussee d'Antin La Fayette Metro station in Paris on Tuesday, reportedly having mistaken it for a subterranean parking garage. The driver, who gave his name as Johan, told AFP: "There's a sign saying 'Haussmann Parking' right in front (of the Metro entrance), and ... I made a mistake."

Parisian drives car down Metro stairs [AFP. Photo: REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen]


  1. The French action star Jean Paul Belmondo would end most of his movies with a car chase featuring a sub-compact like a Simca or a Fiat zipping around an old city quarter, including at least one shot of it going down a set of stairs.

    1. I’m not quite sure it was the same stairs. But it was line 9 as well (or maybe 10).
      Nevertheless these people have to be blind. And not from Paris (I mean, come on, almost all the entrances for the metro look exactly the same, just like this one)…

  2. Life imitates art. Luc Besson’s “Subway” opens with Christophe Lambert crashing a stolen car into the Metro (i.e. down a flight of steps, much as in the photo above). Most of the action in the movie takes place in/under the Chatelet-Les Halles station, so I think the scene of Lambert’s crash is probably one of the smaller entrances there.

  3. it already happened once…

  4. In Sausalito, CA there was a bar on the waterfront next to a boat launching ramp. One moonlit night a car drove up and asked the parking attendant where Tiburon was. He pointed across the water. Before he could stop them they were down the ramp as they thought the moon trace on the water was a road.

  5. In some places, helpful passersby would have pushed him back up the stairs.  He doesn’t look bottomed out.  I received such assistance when my tailgate failed in a roundabout, leaving  a 1000lb bundle of 2x4s dragging behind my truck.  A bunch of guys ran over from the local fast food place, and lifted the  bundle of boards back in my truck so I could get someplace safe to re-secure the boards.  I was out of the road in about 90 seconds.  And I’ve always pushed/pulled and generally tried to help people who were stuck like that, and still do.   

    1.  I’d say this situation would be infinitely more dangerous to the pushers than yours.

      1. I guess besides being the kind of guy that honks when a car breaks down in front of you, rather than getting out and offering to push them off the side of the road, you never built your own stairs either.  Remind me, what is the inverse tangent of 7″ over 10″?

        1. So you’re kind of like the lead singer of Ministry as well as The Road Ranger.  A legend.  In your own mind…………..

          1. A legend in my own mind?  Thats funny.  I’m just helpful to people in need, and kind of disgusted by people who aren’t.

    2. If someone had a tow rope or some good wire I’d be happy to pull him out…

      I have a general rule about being under things that aren’t secure and weight more than I do…and it’s not to be there.

      1. I have a general rule about being under things that aren’t secure and weight more than I do…


      1. I just rewatched that about a month ago. Except for the absence of cell phones, you’d never guess that it wasn’t a new film.

        1. SF isn’t the worst for this, but since I’ve only spent a few days in total driving around there and I’m not familiar with it, I ran into many circumstances where it was very difficult to determine where you’re supposed to go. Signage and road markings all across the US – even, or perhaps especially, in confusing/non-standard arrangements – are abysmally bad. 

          It’s obviously not an enormous problem, but I guarantee that thousands of collisions (and many more near-misses) are caused by needlessly bad road markings and signage each year. It’s not just that they don’t have the money for more signs – the signs usually exist, they’re just useless or cause even more confusion because of their design and how they’re placed.

          There’s a Monty Python sketch which includes a bit about keep-left signs that attack people. It stuck with me as a kid, for some reason, and then after I started driving at 16 it took a couple years but then I remembered it – and wondered why we don’t have those signs to indicate where to go so as to not run over a curb or go down the wrong side of a street. Turns out we do have those signs, but the way they’re designed is hopelessly useless.

  6. I don’t buy the guy’s excuse:  Rarely have I seen a parking ramp that consists of stairs with handrails. and a really large Metro sign above it.  Wonder if he had already had a few and was heading for the next.

    1. Well… more of an explanation than an excuse. Still, if this isn’t the first time someone did this then either the parking sign needs to go or they should put up some kind of protective barrier. It’s not good enough for the vast majority of drivers to understand the sign properly if one out of every few thousand makes a similar mistake.

    2. If the driver were drunk, then I’m pretty sure the article would’ve said the driver was drunk, not distraught. On the other hand, it’s not entirely clear from the article that the distraughtness happened before or after the car decided that it would be best to take an alternate mode of transport. Perhaps driving while distraught could cause this to happen.

  7. People do this all the time in SF: one guy in an SUV basically led the police on a chase through the Metro after going into the tunnel at Church Street.  Eventually his tires got caught on the tracks.

  8. Thinking about it I would have almost imagined that there would be zoning laws or something so a retaining pillar/post had to be at the top of the stairs.  I mean I’ve seen natural gas valves 30 feet off the road up a 45 degree bank in the middle of someone’s yard have iron posts protecting them…

    Next time I’m in a city with a good metro system I’m gonna start looking to see how feasible it is to drive down the stairs.

    1. Very feasible. Wide, inviting stairs (or stairless, gently sloping ramps) are the norm. The last thing you want is people running crotch-first into a pillar during rush hour. It’s all about efficiency and throughput. Cars trying to take the subway isn’t exactly a common scenario.

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