Paris: 10 stations of your favourite heroes from movies, series, musics, comics and novels

Some have been transformed into museums. Others have inspired renowned painters. The Parisian train stations will change your train of thought!

Gare d'Orsay

On A very long engagment.

So that it would blend into this swanky area, the Orsay station architect, Victor Laloux, concealed the metallic structure behind a more classic stone facade, that doesn’t conflict with the Louvre and the Palais de la Légion d’Honneur.  Inaugurated on the 14th of July, 1900 for the Universal Exposition, later to become an empty shell with the end of the suburb trains in 1958, the station was threatened with demolition before being saved by Valery Giscard d'Estaing and transformed into a museum.  As for the underground lines, they were renovated for reuse starting in 1979 and now the Gare d’Orsay is a station on the RER line C.

Gare du Nord

On Once Upon a time in America.

As we mention in our guide Paris of 1000 cult movies, series, musics, comics and novels locations, the Gare du Nord (North Station) is indeed monumental.  With its 700,000 users and more than 2,000 trains daily, it is, not counting Japan, the first train station in the world in terms of traffic (262 million travellers in 2015).  Leaving and arriving at this station you have high-speed trains (TGV, Eurostar and Thalys), domestic inter-city main lines (Intercités), TER (regional train) serving the Hauts-de-France region, the Transilien (region of Paris network), the RER and metro.  Opened in 1846, the station was reconstructed in 1861 in a modern neoclassical style; the facade is adorned with twenty-three statues commissioned from thirteen famous sculptors of the time, representing the principal cities served by the rail company.

Gare Saint-Lazare

On Lucky Luke - A cow boy in Paris.

The passengers worried about missing their train better not count on these stacked up clocks to give the right time: their motionless hands all give a different one!  Commissioned by the state, “L’heure de tous” (“Everyone’s time”), erected in front of the station, is a sculpture by Arman.  Another work by the French artist is visible in the Cour de Rome of the station; also making sacred a very usual object, “Consigne de Vie” consists of a stack of suitcases in bronze.  The first station to be built in the Île-de-France in 1837, used mainly for suburb traffic, the Saint-Lazare station is today the second in Europe, with about 100 million users per year. 

Gare de l'Est

On Zazie dans le métro.

Famous for being the departure point, in 1883, of the first Orient-Express destined for Constantinople, the Gare de l’Est (East Station) is today twin station to the one in Moscow.  Other than the main lines serving the Champagne-Ardenne area, Lorraine, Alsace and European countries, the Gare de l’est enables travellers to access the inner suburbs thanks to the Transilien network.  Construction started in 1847 and it was inaugurated with pomp in 1850 by Emperor Napoleon III.  It would be doubled in size between 1924 and 1931 and renovated in 2007 to accommodate the TGV high speed train heading east.

Gare d'Austerlitz

On Les Cinq dernières minutes.

According to Patrice Chéreau, Ceux qui m'aiment prendront le train (Those that love me will take the train) at the Gare d’Austerlitz, destination Limoges for the funeral of painter Jean-Baptiste Emmerich (played by Jean-Louis Trintignant).  Inaugurated in 1840, rebuilt in 1867, the former Orléans station also serves south Île-de-France, the Orléans and Berry regions.

Gare de Lyon

On Bouge de Là.

Almost entirely destroyed by a fire during the Commune de Paris in 1871, the Gare de Lyon, put into service sixteen years earlier, underwent an identical reconstruction before getting a facelift for the Universal Exposition in 1900 with the addition of a splendid facade and a 67-meter high clock tower.  The architect Marius Toudoire was also in charge of building within the edifice a luxurious buffet.  This Second Empire style restaurant was renamed “Le Train Bleu” in 1963, in honor of the line Paris-Vintimille.

Gare de Port-Royal

On Blake et Mortimer - S.O.S Météores.

Get on board for a little voyage in time at the Part-Royal station.  The building has in fact conserved its original look with platforms protected by glass awnings.  Built in 1895, the station, today served by line B of the RER, was the first design to sit astride the rails thanks to a metallic walkway. 

Gare des Invalides

On Blake et Mortimer - S.O.S Météores.

The Invalides station has regained its former luster.  In the summer 2017, the suspended ceiling and the exterior fittings were actually removed to unveil the century-old metal structure.  Put into service for the 1900 Universal Exposition, the station used to service Brittany, before being reserved solely for suburb trains going to Versailles- Meudon as of 1935.  It is currently serviced by the RER line C.

Gare Montparnasse

On Gare Montparnasse.

Montparnasse station, the cursed?  Open in 1840, it has had an eventful history having been rebuilt, even moved, several times (1852 and 1969).  It is also known for the accident on October 22nd, 1895 when the Granville-Paris went through the large windows due to faulty brakes and ended its wild ride 10 meters below on the tramway station!  Servicing the west of France, the station is topped, since 1994, by the “Jardin Atlantique” (Atlantic Garden). 

Châtelet-les-Halles

On Subway.

Connected to three RER lines and five metro lines, the labyrinth of Châtelet-Les Halles, open in 1977, is the biggest underground station in the world with 1,500 trains per day and an average of 750,000 daily passengers.

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