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From grotty to glorious: Ghost stations of Paris could get a stunning second life

By Eoghan Macguire, for CNN
February 27, 2014 -- Updated 1212 GMT (2012 HKT)
A candidate in Paris' mayoral race is proposing to transform the city's disused metro stations into vibrant communal spaces. A candidate in Paris' mayoral race is proposing to transform the city's disused metro stations into vibrant communal spaces.
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A mayoral candidate in Paris has proposed transforming the city's disused metro stations
  • A series of images display subterranean night clubs, swimming pools and restaurants
  • There are a total of 16 disused stations beneath the streets of Paris

One Square Meter explores the leading architectural designs, city plans and demand for property investment in emerging markets. Join CNN's John Defterios as he visits some of the world's most dynamic cities for an insight into the fast-paced world of real estate development.

(CNN) -- What would be the most sensible way for a city to make use of its old and disused metro stations?

Maybe they could be given a lick of paint and put back into service. Or how about rebranding them to drag in tourists with ghoulish yarns of haunted catacombs?

In the French capital of Paris, one mayoral candidate has raised the possibility of sprucing up a station that has lain idle since 1939 with elaborate swimming pools, nightclubs and art installations.

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Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, the center-right candidate of the UMP party, has commissioned a series of arresting illustrations displaying how Arsenal, one of the city's so-called ghost metro stops, could be used.

If she becomes mayor, Kosciusko-Morizet has said she will ask Parisians for their own ideas on how to transform the vacant the subterranean spaces.

Alongside the aquatic and artistic options, which have been created by the Paris-based firms Oxo architectes and Laisné Architecte, the mock-ups also include images of the station being converted into a theater and a restaurant.

In total, there are 16 disused metro stations beneath the streets of Paris with most closed between the 1930s and 1970s. A small number were also built but have never been used.

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Despite the attention garnered by the images in the local press so far, however, Kosciusko-Morizet still lies far behind the favorite and frontrunner in the mayoral race, Socialist Anne Hidalgo.

This could mean that taking a dip at the Arsenal metro swimming pool or snaffling a bite to eat in its subterranean restaurant may be a while in coming.

That doesn't make the pictures any less intriguing or pretty though.

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