Paris is home to one of the largest metro systems in the world. The six mainline terminus stations of SNCF connect Paris to its suburbs, French areas and international destinations.
The names of the metro stations give hints to their places and the areas they serve. For instance, someone who has been on a Louvre Museum tour will likely know that Louvre Rivoli is closest to the former royal palace. All places can be reached by you via metro in an easy way. Designed to impress, the city’s subway stations are rich in architecture, art, and history.
Gare du Nord
Station of the North as it is also known, Gare du Nord resides just north of central Paris, hence the name. The stone façade has a similar appearance to a triumphal arch, which is crowned with statues that represent Paris and other destinations. The busiest station in Europe serves northern France and the capital city’s northern suburbs.
The cinematic architecture of the station has graced films Amélie, Ocean’s Twelve, and The Bourne Identity. Inside, there is a restaurant named L’Étoile du Nord, luggage lockers, Paul bakery, shops, and currency exchange. Art Deco-style French brasserie named Terminus Nord is just outside it. You can also obtain produce from the historic Saint-Quentin covered market nearby.
This station founded in 1840 was known as Gare de l’Ouest in French, which means “Station of the West” in English. The original metro was where a German military governor of occupied Paris surrendered to a native general back in 1944, after resisting an order from Adolf Hitler to wipe out the capital city.
In 1969, the historic Metro station was replaced with a modern edifice. The old adjacent site houses Tour Montparnasse, which offers panoramic views of the city from its observation deck. The intercity TGV-A trains serve Bordeaux, Brittany, and southwest France. Transilien line N trains run to the Versailles–Chantiers railway station.
Facilities of the Metro station include currency exchange, left-luggage, and shops. Nearby there is the Parisian bistro named Le Petit Sommelier.
Gare de l’Est
This Metro station is within walking distance of Gare du Nord. The elegant building has lofty sculptures of Verdun and Strasbourg cities. In 1883, the first-ever “Orient Express” left for Istanbul from this station, and it hosts Venice Simplon-Orient-Express trains even today. A monumental wall mural by Albert Herter inside the main hall of the Metro depicts soldiers departing for World War I battlefield.
Trains link to eastern France, Germany, and Luxembourg, in addition to the eastern suburbs of the City of Lights. For refreshing, head to the brasserie La Consigne or rooftop bar named Le Perchoir de l’Est.
Gare d’Austerlitz is one of the major Metro stations in the French capital. It is situated in the 13th arrondissement. Beside the Seine River, it offers leafy views. Trains head south to Vendôme, Chateaudun, Tours, Orléans, Cahors and Limoges, with connections to the city of Toulouse. The majority of long-distance trains to the southwest of France run from the Montparnasse Station, with Gare d’Austerlitz concentrating more on its southeast. The “RER C” trains connect to Versailles Château Rive Gauche and Versailles Chantiers.
Opened in the year 1840 and originally known as Gare d’Orléans, its present name originates from the Battle of Austerlitz, which Napoleon won. The Gare d’Austerlitz Metro offers a pharmacy, cafes, lockers, and newsagents. The botanical Jardin des Plantes garden is nearby the Metro, so you can easily reach and have a good time picnicking there on Paris tours.
Gare de Lyon
Do not be fooled by the Lyon part of this Metro’s name – it is in the nation’s capital itself. It is an atmospheric station and a short amble across the Seine River from Austerlitz Station. Set in the 12th arrondissement, Gare de Lyon was constructed for the 1900 Exposition Universelle and boasts of classic architecture. The clock tower of the station is similar to London’s Big Ben and is iconic in this part of the world. France’s third busiest Metro is also the northern terminus of the Paris to Marseille railway line, with TGV trains heading to the southwest of France often via Lyon city. Destinations include Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, Cannes, Antibes, Nice, Grenoble, Montpellier, Perpignan and Dijon. International routes connect to Italy, Germany, Switzerland, and Spain.
The half of the Station of Lyon houses the restaurant named “Le Train Bleu”, which whips up French food. The station services include charge points and luggage lockers.
Opened way back in 1837 as a wooden structure, the splendid Saint-Lazare is the oldest existing station in Paris, and the city’s second-busiest one. It is the main gateway for long-distance trains to the Normandy region, to the northwest of France, through the Paris-Le Havre line. Destinations include Caen, Cherbourg, and Rouen. Transiliens trains reach the western suburbs of Paris.
The bronze suitcase sculptures and the towering clock here bring the forecourt to life. The Saint Lazare shopping mall in the Metro station’s passenger hall houses about 75 shops, including Petit Bateau, Lacoste, and Sephora, in addition to food courts.