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3M Graphic Films provide visual feast for train passengers


Copyright Christophe Recoura

Pictured here is the train car before workers finish applying 3M graphic films to create a reproduction of the glass wall featured at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. © Christophe Recoura


Art in transit

The trend began in May 2012, when a train on the C Line of the RER commuter rail system (within the city of Paris) was entirely decorated in a Château and Gardens of Versailles theme.

This was followed in December by the locomotives of one of the country’s TGV high-speed trains and by a TER regional express train, marking the inauguration of the Louvre-Lens Museum in northern France. These trains were decorated with reproductions of the Delacroix painting “Liberty Leading the People.”

Buoyed up by the success of these installations, the Musée d’Orsay decided to take Paris-region commuters on a trip back to the time of the impressionists.

In partnership with SNCF-French Rail and STIF (the Île-de-France transit authority), the interior of a train on the J Line was covered with 3M graphic films in colors associated with the museum and the impressionists.

Adding beauty to an ordinary ride

During their trip, commuters can admire “Morning, Sun” by Camille Pissarro, or Claude Monet’s “Blue Water Lilies,” or the famous clock or the glass wall of the Musée d’Orsay. It’s a way of adding beauty to an ordinary ride, and also of bringing art to the general public.

Historically, there are close ties between the railroads and impressionism. The J Line, which links Paris’s Gare Saint-Lazare and Vernon stations, travels through places and landscapes that served as inspiration to many impressionists.

And the Musée d’Orsay began life as a railway station before it became a museum. As on the Versailles and Louvre-Lens trains, this train features 3M graphic films that resist graffiti.

  Copyright Christophe Recoura

Passengers on the J Line of Transilien commuter trains in the Paris suburbs can enjoy this reproduction of the glass wall of Paris’s Musée d’Orsay. This traveling work of art was created using 3M graphic films that resist graffiti. © Christophe Recoura


The “art in transit” offers advantages all around: Passengers travel in a pleasant environment, the museum arouses the interest of a new audience, and the transit authorities protect the interior of their trains — they have noted that vandalism is less of a problem in these “train-museums.”


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