It has inspired French film-makers and songwriters, proven useful to cannabis smokers and aestheticians and served as an emergency bookmark or jotter, but now the Paris M tro ticket has reached the end of the line.
The city's public transport authority is phasing out the rectangular pieces of cardboard that have kept the capital's travellers on the move for the past 120 years.
The M tro ticket, measuring 6.5 cm x 3 cm and white with a brown magnetic strip, is a one-way journey to transport history, twenty years after the New York subway finished with metal token and 10 years after the London Underground went paperless.
The regional transport authority of Paris had hoped it would have long left by now but the Covid crisis, Russia's invasion of Ukraine and a global shortage of microchips were blamed for delaying the introduction of newer technology.
We were in a hurry but the chip crisis slowed us down, Laurent Probst, director general of le-de- France Mobilit s, told Agence France-Presse.
The first M tro ticket was used at 1 pm on July 19 at the inauguration of Line 1 for the 1900 Paris exhibition. It cost only 25 centimes in old money. A single ticket costs €1.90 for a first-class seat.
In the film Le Salaire de la Peur from 1952, Yves Montand offers a Parisian M tro ticket as a token of friendship. Serge Gainsbourg's song Le Poin onneur des Lilas from 1950 pays tribute to the poin onneurs ticket punchers whose jobs disappeared with the arrival of automatic turnstiles. Raymond Queneau's novel Zazie dans le M tro, made by Louis Malle in the 1960s, featured a paper ticket on the early paperback cover.
Gr goire Thonnat, author of the 2019 book Petite Histoire du Ticket de M tro Parisien A short history of the Paris M tro ticket writes: Since 1900, the M tro ticket has accompanied our daily life, in the bottom of our pockets, in the middle of the pages of our books, it will soon disappear.
It is one of the elements of the Paris life. Its lifespan is very short, from an hour to an hour and a half, but we have become attached to them. It is irrational. One in 10 tickets is lost, damaged or forgotten at the bottom or in a pocket or bag, according to the transport authorities.
By 2025 the Paris M tro ticket will have reached its final stop, replaced by tickets on mobile phones or travelcards.