Subway etiquette is a topic that is very near and dear to our hearts, one which we'll never get tired of discussing because New Yorkers will never get tired of breaking the most basic and rudimentary social contracts (SEAT FEET). This isn't just a NYC phenomena of course—all major metros around the world have to deal with inconsiderate ingrates. But some countries have slightly more whimsical ways of dealing with rudeness, like the Paris transport authority, who has released a subway etiquette guide that has a certain je ne sais quoi.
Besides the charmingly old-fashioned pictures you see above, the "politeness manual" includes 12 basic commandments for French travelers, divided into four "pillars of civility" (helpfulness, courtesy, manners and politeness). They cover the areas you'd expect—don't play loud music, don't have phone conversations, don't urinate on the train, cover your mouth when you sneeze for crissakes—but put a decidedly cutesy twist on the whole enterprise with lines like, "the huge crossed out cigarette on the platform is not a work of contemporary art but a ban on smoking" and "It's worth losing two minutes of your time for a good cause if only to hear the [foreign] passenger struggle to pronounce [train stations] Trinité d'Estienne d'Orves or La Motte Piquet-Grenelle."
So below, we've put the almost totally incoherent (but unintentionally poetic) Free Translation versions of the 12 rules—and in brackets, we've re-translated that garble with the help of Uncommon Courtesy's Jaya Saxena (and her high school-level French).
1 TO BE COURTEOUS
Understanding that it is the huge
cigarette crossed out on the wharf is not
a work of contemporary art,
but a ban on smoking.
[Understand that the huge crossed out cigarette on the platform is not a work of contemporary art, but a ban on smoking.]
2 TO BE HELPFUL
It is propose of the aid to the person in
Bermuda which takes
a map of the metro in one hand
and his hair in the other.
[Propose to help the person in the Bermuda shirt with a metro map in one hand and the other hand in their hair.]
3 TO BE POLITE
This is not to make his laptop
[You shouldn't make your smartphone insufferable.]
4 TO BE HELPFUL
It is take the exit door to the person who
follows you. In life,
you never lose the opportunity
to cross a pretty sight!
[Hold the exit door for the person who follows you. In life, you never lose the opportunity to cross a pretty sight!]
5 TO BE POLITE
It is use his handkerchief, but
not only to say goodbye
on the edge of the wharf ...
[Use your handkerchief, but not only to say goodbye on the edge of the platform...]
6 TO BE HELPFUL
It is take the bag of a
old lady ... and him make
with a smile at the top of the stairs.
[Take the bag of an old lady ... and she will give a smile at the top of the stairs.]
It is sharing its new
musical discoveries on social networks.
is also expressed in silence.
[Um... Share your music on the internet, not outloud]
8 TO BE POLITE
It is hail the machinist,
especially if it is a man or a woman
[Greet the engineer, especially if it is a man or a woman [But...what else could it be other than a man or a woman?]]
9 TO BE COURTEOUS
It is not deciding a passenger
with insistence, even when
it would have the eyes revolver.
[Umm...Don't stare at other passengers, even if they are going to shoot you]
10 TO BE COURTEOUS
This is not cause to a duel
the knight that you crushed
the foot by mistake!
[You scuffed my kicks]
This is the days of great heat, such as the
emperor penguin, well keep the arms
along the body and take its best
taken in bottom of the pole, not at the top.
[On hot days, it is best to keep your arms along your body like a penguin, and hold the pole at the bottom, not the top.]
It is not to be confused the metro with
its bathroom, even if the there is also
the tiles on the walls.
[Don't confuse the metro with the bathroom, even if both have tiles on the walls.]