Gare Denfert-Rochereau train station
This is actually the oldest train station in Paris, still standing as it was with its unusual layout, in the fact this station was built as a circle, yet it is still in use today as an RER train station with has architecture dating from the 1800s.
About Gare Denfert-Rochereau
This historical train station in Paris was designed by Alexis Dulong and construction started way back in 1842, yet it was not completed until the year 1846, and at that time it was named the Gare de Sceaux, which was due to the fact that it was a part of the old Sceaux railway line at the time.
It was Claude Arnoux who had originally designed a rail network going into Paris that worked on a large gauge, yet also required places where trains could turn around, and this was why this train station was originally constructed.
In fact, the train station itself is circular, which meant that trains could turn around by doing a u turn on a loop, or racket as it is referred to. However, the type of railway track designed by Arnoux was not to last, due to the complexity of the type of trains that would have to be constructed to negotiate this track gauge and the types of curves.
But this train station in Paris did survive, can still be seen today, and is now classified as one of the historical monuments in Paris, with its two allegorical figures on the top part of the front facade located either side of the clock. These two bas relief allegory sculptures on the top triangular pediment were designed to depict two different railway inventions.
Of course, over the years, there have been additions and renovations, and track 3 along with platform 3 of the Gare Denfert-Rochereau were in use at one point, but this changed in 1937 when a new configuration was adopted with the introduction of electric trains. And it was in 1937, that a canopy on Platform 3 was installed.
In 1977 the Gare Denfert-Rochereau became an RER train station for line B in order to extend the line to meet up with line A of the RER, or Reseau Express Regional as it stands for, at Chatelet - Les Halles.
Things have also changed since then, when a panel was installed on the 60th anniversary of the Liberation of Paris on Metro Line 4 that was dedicated to Colonal Rol-Tanguy. On the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of Paris, this was then extended to honour the efforts and the contribution of Colonel Rol-Tanguy with the FFI, which stands for the Forces Francais de l'Interieur de l'Ile de France that translates to French Forces of the Interior of Ile de France.
Honouring the memory of Colonal Rol-Tanguy is very important within the city, with streets named after him including where the entrance to the famous underground burial site of the Catocombes de Paris are located.
Upon putting a subtitle to different metro and train stations including Gare Denfert-Rochereau through its signs and plaques, the idea is that heroes will never be forgotten. There was of course a major ceremony and speech from numerous officials and some quotes we have translated are below..
"Honouring the memory of Colonel Rol-Tanguy from the very place where he led the Liberation of Paris is to pay a fair tribute to the heroism of those who fought, and for some, gave their lives, to liberate the capital city."
Minister of Ecological and Inclusive Transition
"75 years ago, Paris rose up, led by heroes who paved the way for its liberation. Their names must not be forgotten, because they bequeathed us the most precious possession that there is: freedom. One of the great names of the Liberation was that of Colonel Rol-Tanguy, who directed the central liaison post installed under the Denfert-Rochereau station."
President of the Ile-de-France Region & President of Ile-de-France Mobilities
"We are very proud to dedicate these stations and the Denfert Rochereau station to the memory of Colonel Rol-Tanguy. Thus, we bring an additional stone to the link between metro and society, through this cultural and memorial act, inviting the general public to share a duty of memory. This very strong link is natural since the passive defense shelter from which Henri Rol-Tanguy commanded his troops was installed in the Denfert-Rochereau station. It is also an opportunity to recall that the use by the Resistance of the metro, then closed, was fundamental in these battles for the Liberation of Paris, and to pay tribute to the 3,000 Parisian transport agents who took part in it, 32 losing his life."
Chairman and CEOP of the RATP Group
When Colonol Rol-Tanguy was added underneath Gare Denfert-Rochereau at the same time there was also an official ceremony relating to the re-opening of museums relating to World War II, and the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, gave a lovely speech regarding both aspects, which again has been translated from French to English..
"The City of Paris is very happy to be associated with this happy initiative which further strengthens the presence of the name of Colonel Rol Tanguy in the metropolitan heritage. This name will undoubtedly make users of metro stations and RER stations want to take an interest in the fate of this extraordinary man who played a major role in the Liberation of Paris. Just outside the Denfert - Rochereau stations, they can go to the brand new Museum of the Liberation of Paris - General Leclerc museum - Jean Moulin museum which opened on August 25. This museum of the City of Paris is precisely installed above the passive defense shelter which served as the FFI command post under the authority of Rol Tanguy during the glorious and tragic days of the Liberation of Paris. This mythical place in the history of our capital and our country can now be visited 20 meters underground, and will amaze Parisians and visitors alike."
So as well as the street named in memory of Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy we mentioned earlier, within the Gare Denfert-Rochereau train station you can discover a detailed biography of this courageous man displayed in a memory panel. And it is thanks to this type of cultural sign, that RATP who run the Paris Metro and many train stations in Paris, allow travellers to discover more plus retain heritage by further enriching the Paris public transport experience.
Visiting Gare Denfert-Rochereau Train Station
Obviously, as you have realised this is a train station in Paris that serves the RER via line B, which is ideal for getting to Charles de Gaulle Airport.
It is also a connection hub to the Metro lines 4 and 6, and located within the Place Denfert-Rocheleau, this historical building can be found within the 14th Arrondissement of Paris.
You do also have different Paris buses that will get you to this part of the city including the bus line 38, 59, 64, 68, 88 and 216.
Additionally, outside the train station you have the OrlyBus stop, which is the dedicated shuttle bus for getting to Orly Airport, which is also run by RATP, as are the other buses mentioned above.