Gare d’Austerlitz train station in Paris
The Gare d’Austerlitz is one of the main large train stations in Paris that is located on the left bank of the River Seine and originally called the Gare d’Orleans, it was first constructed in 1840.
A bit of history
The Gare d’Austerlitz was originally constructed in 1840 to serve the Paris to Corbeil line and the Paris to Orleans line, which was why the name chosen for this train station in Paris was originally the Gare d’Orleans, as it was constructed by the architect Felix Emmanuel Callet for the Orleans train company.
However, in the mid 1860s the train station was completely rebuilt by the architect Pierre-Louis Renaud, with its stone facade that has a lovely clock in the centre and statues on the columns either side of the main entrance building that are to depict Agriculture and Industry. It also included a large metal shed designed by Ferdinand Mathieu, which, because of its size, was a great feat in itself at that time.
Then in 1900 the Paris Orleans company expanded the line to the Gare d’Orsay in prelude of the World Fair, yet this train station has now been converted into the fabulous art museum in Paris called the Musee d’Orsay.
And it was at this time that the name was changed to the Gare d’Austerlitz in commemoration of the battle Napoleon Bonaparte I won at the Battle of Austerlitz in 1805, and over the next few years prior to World War I there further changes and improvements.
1926 saw the Gare d’Austerlitz stop receiving steam trains due to the arrival of electrification, and it was the first train station in Paris to make this move and over the years it continued to expand.
However, when the new Gare Montparnasse train station was completed, it took a weight load off, and then with the arrival of the TGV Atlantique at the Gare Montparnasse train station, many of the routes to the south west of France were transferred here from the Gare d’Austerlitz station.
Yet still receiving millions of tourists every year from Spain, Switzerland and France, the building was added to the list of historical monuments in Paris in 1997 and a major renovation plan was put in place.
The renovations of the Gare d’Austerlitz are still continuing including adding platforms for the TGV trains to take the weight load from the Gare de Lyon and Gare Montparnasse and are likely to run until around 2020, although the Paris city is trying to avoid disruption for its commuters, but the expansion capabilities will prove beneficial in the long term.
About Gare d’Austerlitz train station in Paris
The Gare d’Austerlitz has intercity trains that travel to different parts of France such as Limoges in the Limousin region, Toulouse in the Midi-Pyrenees, Orleans and Tours in the Centre region, Nice in the cote d’Azur region and many others.
However, there are also the night trains that travel to Madrid and Barcelona in Spain along with the RER trains via line C that serve places in the Ile de France region around Paris such as Versailles and the Orly airport.
The RER routes travel past many different tourist attractions in Paris such as the Musee d’Orsay, the Champ de Mars and the Eiffel Tower, the Pont de l’Alma bridge and many others. Yet if you are thinking about visiting the fabulous Chateau Versailles from here, then make sure you choose the Versailles - Rive Gauche route and not the Versailles Chatiers - St Quentin en Yvelines, otherwise you will have a far longer walk to get to this impressive chateau near Paris.
The Gare d’Austerlitz also has a metro station, which was first constructed in the 1930s and is also an intersection point for line 5 and a terminus station for line 10 of the metro.
There used to be a restaurant at this train station, but unfortunately, with all the renovation works and expansion, this has been demolished, yet you may be pleased to know that there are still fast food and snack outlets in the station.
Obviously there are public toilets, yet do make sure you have some change, as just like the other train stations, there is a charge, and as of 2013 this is €0.50. Plus there are the usual ticket counters along with automated ticket machines for the Metro and RER suburban train tickets, along with a few shops for those last minute purchases such as flowers.
Access to Gare d’Austerlitz
The Gare d’Austerlitz is located on the left bank of the River Seine in the 13th Arrondissement of Paris on the opposite bank to the Gare de Lyon, which can be accessed via the Pont Charles de Gaulle, which is one of the newer bridges in Paris over the River Seine that was only completed in 1996.
It is open from approximately 5am through to 1am every day of the year and the train station is situated by the Place d’Italie close to the Jardin des Plantes and of course the River Seine and as we mentioned earlier is served by lines 5 and 10 of the Metro and the RER via line C.
The buses numbered 24, 57, 63 and 89 along with the Noctilien night buses numbered N01, N02 and N131 stop here, plus the l’Open Tour, which are the tour buses in Paris and the Vogueo, which is one of the water transport in Paris, also stop nearby.