Located along the River Seine in the district of Salpêtrière, in the Parisian 13th arrondissement, the Gare Austerlitz is one of the six railway stations in Paris. Named after the Battle of Austerlitz (1805), one of the most important battles of the Napoleonic wars and opened in 1840, this railway station is a start for trains that link Paris with Bordeaux, Limoges, Toulouse and also cities in Spain such as Barcelona. The Austerlitz railway station is listed as a French historical monument since 1997, and this place is a subject of the important renovations that should be finished until 2020.
Opened in 1840 and rebuilt from 1862 to 1867 by a French architect Pierre-Louis Renaud, this railway station was originally called the Gare d'Orléans. But in 1900, the French railway company Paris-Orleans decided to open for the Universal Exhibition a new station in the center of the City of Light. The Orsay became the main railway station instead of the Austerlitz. And then, in 1906, the great hall of Austerlitz was even completely pierced by the Parisian subway line 5. The worst is yet to come. In 1910, during the great flood of the River Seine, the Austerlitz railway station was flooded, and the traffic was completely interrupted for several days. But in 1939, because of the short platforms, the Orsey station was used only for the suburban services and eventually even transformed in a museum in 1986, and the Gare d’Austerlitz became once again the main station. In February 1997, this railway station, its façade and roof, as well as its large hall were listed as a French historical monument.
Even if today the Gare d’Austerlitz, by the number of passengers, is far below the leading Parisians railway station such as the Gare de l’Est et the Gare du Nord, the intensive renovations and construction of new platforms started in 2011 and planned until 2020, should change this situation and significantly increase its traffic. Also, currently, there is no restaurant or bar in this station. On the first floor of this railway station, the restaurant named “Le Grenadier” (in honour of the battle of Austerlitz) was demolished in 2012. But this should also change. The initial renovation project includes the construction of many offices, shops, restaurants, etc.
In the hall of the Gare d’Austerlitz, a Parisian railway station, you can spot two large acrylic panels on wood representing Le Matin and Le Soir on the theme of Perseus' Voyage. This painting was made in 1987 by an Italian artist Valerio Adami (1935), who lived and worked in London and Paris and was much influenced by the Pop Art movement. This railway station was also used as a movie set in a French movie from 1998 “Ceux qui m’aiment prendront le train”, directed by Patrice Chéreau.
Cover Photo Credit © iStockPhoto/Leonid Andronov
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