Friday, January 26, 2007

Gare Montparnasse

Gare Montparnasse

A Bit of History
The streets around this station still have the names of the places it serves such as Avenue du Maine and Rue de Rennes. One of oldest stations in Paris (1840), it was completely rebuilt after WWII. The earlier neo-classical building was hiding behind it a cast iron roof (Fauconnier) which collapsed a few month after completion. A new station, by architect Victor Lenoir, was built between 1848-1852.
On October 22 1895, a terrible accident brought the locomotive engine and the first coach out the window from the first floor, where the platforms were situated, into the street. The building had suffered several major transformations, up through the 1960's, when the whole area was reorganized and the Montparnasse Tower, together with the present station, were built. Trains towards Brittany and western France leave from here, including the TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse) Atlantique.

1. A very modern interior, with automatic ticket machines, and departure listings.

2. A TGV Atlantique on track 8.


Three modern buildings (1969) arranged in "U"-shape surround the station : in the East wing, 1000 apartments ; to the West, the Air France Headquarters. The tracks have been recently completely covered by an impressive concrete structure bearing offices and gardens. The main hall is decorated by large op-art compositions signed by Vasarely. A small chapel, dedicated to Saint-Bernard (1969), accessible to all religions, has its lectern carved in a railroad tie.


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