Did you know? The RER A could have been named MERDE (SHIT)

Published by My de Sortiraparis · Photos by My de Sortiraparis · Published on September 9th, 2023 at 02:15 p.m.
Did you know? In 1970, the iconic RER A, a fixture of Parisian transport, narrowly missed being christened "MERDE". A surprising anecdote thanks to the RATP and a vigilant painter.

The inauguration of the RER A in 1969 in the Île-de-France region is still remembered today. But did you know? The following year, in 1970, this important transport line could have been given another, far less elegant name:"MERDE". Here's a look back at the little-known story that almost changed the way this network was perceived.

The genesis of an unfortunate acronym: In its initial project, RATP wanted to call the new line " Métro Express Régional Défense-Étoile ". On the face of it, this seems an innocent enough name. However, if you put the first letters of each word together, you end up with the acronym M.E.R.D.E.

The painter's providential intervention: This blunder was discovered while preparing for the inauguration of the central Auber-Nation section. According to legend, a painter in charge of the promotional campaign for this section sounded the alarm when he discovered the incongruity.

The line's fate averted: Imagine the RER A proudly displaying the name MERDE. This could have been the case until 1977, the year of the planned inauguration of this section. A name that would undoubtedly have changed the reputation of this busy Parisian line.

RER A reborn: Fortunately, the name was revised just in time, giving rise to the acronym RER for Réseau Express Régional. A much more representative and elegant choice, saving the line from potential mockery.

Every time you take the RER A, remember this unusual story. A painter's perspicacity saved this network, so dear to Parisians, from a most awkward name. A small story, a big impact!

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