Paris train stations: 19th-century architectural heritage

Paris train stations combine historical and living heritage.

Gare de l'Est, vue panoramique, Paris © Fotolia - eyetronic

Paris’s imposing train stations serve as landmarks for tourists and residents alike, and have influenced the city’s layout and development. Dating from the origins of the railways in the 19th century, they have modified entire sections of the city. 

Saint-Lazare was the first station to be built, in 1837, soon followed by the Gare du Nord, the Gare de l’Est and the Gare de Lyon. All the stations boast exceptional and unique architecture, like the Gare du Nord with its neoclassical façade and 23 sculptures by famous artists.

While they are worth visiting for historical interest, the main Paris stations are not frozen in time. Each one has undergone major renovation work in recent years to cater for increased train traffic, especially high-speed trains, as well as the constant growth in the number of rail travellers.

The nerve centre of the French and European rail networks, the stations have also become lively urban spaces with sprawling shopping centres frequented by ever-increasing numbers of people.

Gare Saint-Lazare

Train stations and left-luggage
13 rue d'Amsterdam, Paris, 75008

Located in the 8th arrondissement, in the heart of the largest business district in Paris's inner city, Gare Saint-Lazare - built......

Gare de l'Est

Train stations and left-luggage
Place du 11 novembre 1918, Paris, 75010

Located in the heart of the 10th arrondissement and just a 10-minute walk from Gare du Nord, Gare de l'Est welcomes 37 million......

Gare du Nord

Train stations and left-luggage
18 rue de Dunkerque, Paris, 75010

Located in the heart of the 10th arrondissement and ten minutes' walk from Gare de l'Est, Gare du Nord is Europe's leading......

Gare de Lyon

Train stations and left-luggage
Place Louis Armand, Paris, 75012

Located in the heart of the 12th arrondissement, Gare de Lyon welcomes 110 million visitors a year. Trains depart to serve......

Gare d'Austerlitz

Train stations and left-luggage
85 quai d'Austerlitz, Paris, 75013

Located opposite the Seine, in the 13th arrondissement, the Austerlitz station welcomes more than 20 million visitors a year.......

Gare Montparnasse

Train stations and left-luggage
17 boulevard de Vaugirard, Paris, 75015

Located on the Left Bank, at the crossroads of the 6th, 7th, 14th and 15th arrondissements, the Montparnasse station welcomes 70......