My metro stop for 'home' is Abbesses in the 18th Arrondissement of Montmartre. Thankfully, my apartment is just about a three minute walk from the metro if I take the steep stairs. If I go the long way around to avoid the stairs, the walk is about seven minutes total. Usually, there are lots of people in the street whenever I walk home; ironically, that makes me feel more secure than deserted streets would. When I went to meet Tonia at the airport super early in the morning, the streets were eerily quiet.
In each station, you have to determine which line you want to take and which direction you want to travel. For example, I'm on line 12 (green) and going into the city, I take it via the direction of Marie d'Issy. When I'm going home in the evening, I have to find line 12 and travel in the direction of Aubervilliers. There are maps in the station to follow, certainly, but I downloaded the Paris RATP Metro It was free to iPhone and has been a lifesaver. I simply plug in the metro station point where I'm starting and where I want to go; it maps for me the lines I should take and the stations I will change in on my journey. It also estimates for me the total amount of time my journey will take. Best part? It doesn't need wifi or any sort of internet function to work, so it doesn't cost me onmy data plan.
Some metro stations have escalators, but all of them have stairs. They also have long, winding tunnels that veer off into a multitude of directions. It can be a little overwhelming at rush hour when the tunnels are packed with people rushing in every direction, but it's way more disconcerting to find yourself in an empty tunnel. I guess I subscribe to the safety in numbers idea.
Hope you guys enjoyed my little glimpse into the Paris Metro. Next up on my list, try riding a city bus. :)