A what?

One of these. An Alstom Citadis tram.

Paris has had trams in the past and has found that they’re the future as well so is investing in new lines. This one was on line T3.

As mentioned above it’s by Alstom, a French company. RATP, operators of public transport in Paris, are obliged to invite tenders for their rolling stock so any maker in the EU and indeed elsewhere can bid. They do bid, but Alstom always win because they’re the last company making rolling stock in France. They supply almost all French rolling stock and there was huge controversy in France when Eurostar had the temerity to order its latest trains from Siemens, a company not notably French. But I digress.

So, let’s take a spin.

Performance

It’s a tram. It runs in town so 50 kmh limit. It’s a tram so it stops frequently and has frequent (albeit its own special) traffic lights so you’re never going to get up any speed. If you were to go the full length of T3 it would take something approaching an hour.

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Comfort

It’s a tram and is designed to accommodate crowds at rush hour so not many seats. To maximise space the seven cars have no divisions so it’s one long tube that bends at several points. I had to stand for more than half an hour and comfort was in short supply. You stand there while the tram sways around and hang on. Think of standing in a crowded bus but with the benefit of no potholes (the encountering of potholes on a railway is a really bad thing). I did eventually get a seat for all of two minutes or so and it seemed fine.

It’s heated, so there’s that.

Toys, connectivity, infotainment

Few. It’s a tram. You do get a panel telling you what the next station is and how many more minutes you need to endure before you get to some stop deemed interesting. You also get announcements, with a few bars of music followed by two voices, usually one male and one female. Interestingly and by way of variety each stop has different voices and some of them are kids, one so young that an adult had to repeat the name of the stop just in case you missed it.

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Usefulness

Depends where you’re going. If you have the option the Métro is quicker and you’re more likely to get a seat but the tramlines usually serve areas not on Métro lines so they get plenty of use.

3/10 would travel on again.