Monday, January 24, 2022

Le funiculaire

While it's still called a funicular (a type of incline railway) for historical reasons, the Funiculaire de Montmartre in Pairs is not one. A true funicular moves people up and down steep inclines using its two cars as counterbalances, connected to each other by a single cable. As one car ascends, the other descends at equal speed. The cars often share a single track (two rails), with a passing double track in the center of the line. Full double-track, or four rail, funiculars are common these days.

The upper station of the Montmartre "funicular" with the basilica of Sacré-Cœur in the background, April 2009.

The funicular in Montmartre was replaced by what's called an inclined elevator in 1991. It still looks like a four rail funicular, but Wikipedia tells me that the two cars operate independently of one another. Before that, it was a true counterbalanced funicular, but no more. I remember riding the funicular from my time in Paris in 1981-82. I've also ridden the new inclined elevator since it was installed. Before, as now, a métro ticket was required for the ride. I've even climbed up the 222 steps a time or two, but that was a long time ago.

The lower station of the Montmartre "funicular" beside the stairs (for those with strong legs), April 2009.


  1. Very beautiful stations. I never knew the true definition of a funicular.

  2. That's very interesting. I wonder when it changed from being a funicular which I thought it was, to an inclinator carriage. I must investigate. Ok, you said, 1991. Bit of a shame that it is no longer the old funicular but better than walking up the steep hill.

  3. I realized, near the end of that year in Paris, that I had never gone to Montmartre... at least not Place du Tertre and the funiculaire . So, I went, about a week or two before coming home.

  4. Been there, done that! In 1992, impressive memories.

  5. Thanks for sharing the definition of funicular! How far up the stair were you when you took the photo?

  6. We walked up the hill and not beside the funicular at all. Cannot wait to be able to answer a question with a response: funicular!I will be ready!

  7. mitch, neither did I. And I was a transit professional!

    andrew, yes, 1991, according to Wikipedia.

    judy, I never visited Alcatraz during the 17+ years I lived in San Francisco...

    jan, :)

    wilma, probably a little more than half-way. But I was going down...

    mary, that's a nice walk, if it's the route I'm thinking of.

    1. We wanted to see the Le lapin l'agile so now when I try to see how we must have walked, it appears we must have walked up those steps beside the funiculaire? I don't remember that, but we arrived at the Place du Tertre at last!

  8. Beautiful shot! I love funiculars and ride them whenever I can.


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