Inaugurated in 1837, the Gare Saint-Lazare (St. Lazarus Station) is one of the busiest railway stations in Paris. Situated near the Parisian temple of shopping - the Galeries Lafayette Haussmann, this station is a start for many trains departing to the northwest suburbs of Paris and towards Normandy. The Gare Saint-Lazare was also a very inspirational place for many artists, especially for the impressionist painters. It was immortalized by Monet and Manet, but also by a famous photographer Cartier-Bresson. Since December 1984, this railway station is listed as a French historical monument.
Marie-Amélie, a French queen and the wife of Louis-Philippe I, King of France, inaugurated the Gare Saint-Lazare in August 1837. At the time, this station was the terminus for only three lines, but soon, it became one of the busiest Parisian and French railway stations. A French architect Alfred Armand and an engineer Eugène Flachat reconstructed this railway station between 1842 and 1853, and from 1885 to 1889, the station was enlarged. Even if this station is today mainly devoted to Parisian suburban trains, until 1974, it was also a very important place for international traffic. Many trains starting from the Gare Saint-Lazare were directly connected with the transatlantic ships, leaving from Le Havre-Maritime and Cherbourg-Maritime to New York. In March 2012, the Gare Saint-Lazare was renovated and modernized. Today, this railway station houses a new shopping mall, and it is a place where you can find many bars and restaurants.
The Gare Saint-Lazare was also an inspirational place for artists, especially for the impressionist painters. Many among them such as Claude Monet and Edouard Manet even lived near this railway station, in the period between 1870 and 1880. Claude Monet painted 11 paintings of this railway station. One of the most famous ones is probably the “Gare Saint-Lazare” from 1877. But this place was not only a playground for impressionist painters. Henri Cartier-Bresson, a very famous photographer, immortalized this railway station by taking the picture “Derriere la Gare Saint-Lazare”. The station was also used as a set in several movies. The last scene of the “French Kiss”, a 1995 French romantic comedy directed by Lawrence Kasdan, with Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline, was filmed at the Gare Saint-Lazare.
The Grand Hotel Terminus was opened in 1889 in order to accommodate travelers from Great Britain coming to Paris, to visit the Universal Exhibition. The hotel was named the Grand Hotel Terminus because it was located in front of the main façade of the Gare Saint-Lazare. People arriving from this Parisian railway station could directly access the hotel by the bridge specially constructed for the hotel guests. The Grand Hotel Terminus was luxuriously furnished by a French architect Juste Lisch and decorated with paintings and sculptures by an artist Charles Joseph Lameire. The façade and roof of this hotel were listed as a French historical monument in 1984. In 2014, this hotel was purchased by the Hilton Group, and it was renamed - Hilton Paris Opera.
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