Gare du Nord of Paris!

Oh yes, this is the most busy train station in Paris at least until the latest figures of 2019. As it happened, even if known to be a road warrior all over Europe, you bet yours that I have taken plenty of public transports from trams, bus, and trains, even a grand voyageur frequent train traveler! yes! One of the train station I have gone thru is the Paris-Nord or Gare du Nord of Paris. Let me update this older post on this emblematic station of Paris.

At the time of writing this post in my blog, we were fully into Summer ! Plenty of hot weather in August around my belle France rising as much as 37C in the south, while we were at 33C in sunny Morbihan Breton! This is hot but it is ,also, a time to say farewell to collegues who take vacation earlier.  While, I will tell you a bit about one of the train stations in Paris, and one used often by me on my trips to London, Brussels, and Amsterdam for business. I have gone to all those cities by car with the family as well.  Oh yes , written posts on transportation in Paris but not on this train station in specific, talking about the Gare du Nord. The North station or Paris-Nord. My first encounter with it was circa 2011 on a business trip to Olen near Anvers! I went from Nord to Midi in Brussels where tired of the train rented a car to get to Olen lol!


A bit of history I like:

The Gare du Nord station as we know it was opened to the public on April 19, 1864, in the 10éme arrondissement of Paris. It replaces a first station, inaugurated on 14 June 1846, a pier of the north railway  which was then the second Parisian station after Saint-Lazare (see post). The line was opened with the Northern Railway Company  on the north line to LIlle, it covered 12 000m ² and serves only two lanes, one for arrivals, the other for departures;  the structure of the building remained  almost  the same today. The large Universal exhibitions of 1854, 1889 and 1900 have been opportunities for expansion work, which are also needed by the strong growth of its attendance. For the 1889 and 1900 Universal exhibitions, the number of  tracks increased from 13 to 18.

The most notable changes were  in 1906, with the arrival of the Metro (line 4); In the years 1950 and 1960, with the electrification of the tracks, between 1977 and 1983, with the titanic site of the underground station dedicated to the suburbs, in 1993 and 1994, with the arrival of high speed train with the TGV Nord and the Eurostar. June 1996: Commissioning of the Thalys, connecting Paris with Amsterdam via Brussels; 12 July 1999: Inauguration of the E line of the RER and the station of Magenta; 1998 to 2002: Operation Gare du Nord station exchanges. The Gare du Nord , also known as the Paris-Nord, is the Parisian head of the railway network serving the north of France, as well as the neighboring countries. Because of the proximity of Belgium, the Netherlands, Great Britain and Germany, it has always possessed a marked international vocation, before its regional traffic has developed strongly.

It is, with an endowment of thirty-two lanes at the quays  since 1993, of which four underground, the station Gare du Nord occupies, in France, the first place in traffic. On this set, from west to east, track 2 (track 1 has been removed) is located between the Post Office building and the Eurostar-controlled area, four customs lanes reserved for the Eurostar service, 15 lanes for Thalys services, main lines ( TGV and Intercité) and TER Hauts-de-France, seven lanes for services in the northern suburbs of Île-de-France (line H and line K of the Transilien Network), and under the latter a underground station consisting of four lanes used by the traffic of lines B and D of the RER. The trench extending north of the establishment has fourteen lanes, four of which are destined for suburban traffic alone. There are four underground lanes under the latter, heading towards the underground station and beyond, to the interconnected lines of the suburbs, apart from Japan is the world’s first station in terms of traffic. It remains to be seen with the Brexit how the traffic will continue as the loads from the UK were huge.


Now let me tell you a bit on the architecture.

The Roman-inspired façade is organized around a central pavilion forming a triumphal arch framed by two smaller pavilions. It is characterized by the use of large blocks of stone. The façade is adorned with twenty-three statues ordered from thirteen eminent sculptors of the time, representing the main cities served by the company the most majestic statues, which crown the building, are 5.50 meters high are of international renown. National destinations, represented by statues placed on the facade and less high, of only 4 meters. The statue of Paris, naturally is at the summit top of the façade.

And about all those transport options here

Transports by here are the metro station Gare du Nord, where lines 4 and 5 pass, which also serve the Paris-East (Gare de l’Est station) (see post).  Since the 1990’s, a connecting corridor connects the underground station to the metro station La Chapelle of line 2. On the surface and in the bus station you can find the buses: Lines 26, 30, 31, 35, 38, 39, 42, 43, 46, 48, 54, 56, 65, 302, 350 and the OpenTour tourist line of the RATP bus network; and the lines N01, N02, 14, N43, N44, N140 and N143 of the Noctilien night time network. These due to current times of the covid needs to be verify when trying to use them.

These are the exits/sorties when coming out of the Gare du Nord métro lines !

Exit or Sortie 1 Rue du Faubourg Saint Denis, 2 Rue de Saint Quentin, 3 Rue de Dunkerque, and 4 Boulevard de Denain.


Some artsy things inside the Gare du Nord

Several works of literature have as a setting this station as well as several films were shot at the station. A couple I remember are the 2001: The Fabulous Fate of Amélie Poulard of Jean-Pierre Jeunet; and the  2004: Ocean Twelve by Steven Soderbergh. Some scenes from the police television series Quai n ° 1, aired on French TV channel FR2  between 1997 and 2006, were shot in the station. As well coming up in several older songs.

The Gare du Nord station will triple in volume by 2023, from the perspective of the 2024 Olympics. And, world premiere, a 1 km trail will be installed on its rooftops for the benefit of all athletes. It was with the Auchan Group (Ceetrus) that the railway company finally chose to do the work for 600 million euros  invested to transform the station, by 2023. In the long run, the SNCF will only be a minority shareholder, while Ceetrus will be the majority shareholder for a period of 46 years. Remember that the Gare du Nord station is already the largest station in Europe. And it is not likely to lose its title since its surface will go from 36 000 m² to 110 000 m², i.e. a multiplication of spaces for travelers. Again, to be seen the impact on the Brexit.

It will be first of all, the creation of a single entrance, large loggia open on the forecourt, to the east of the historic station which gives access to an inner hall  of 300 meters long covered by a canopy. This path of light crosses the new building, guiding users to the departures of all destinations and serves the new activities, commercial, cultural, sporting and co-working. Existing surfaces are quintuplets. The interior façade of the Great Hall designed by Jacques-Ignace Hittorff in the 19C has been restored to its original state and becomes a masterful element of reception for travelers of the European main lines. A new departure terminal will be built and significantly increase the station. Thus the arrival and departure of the station will be distinct and improve the flow. The construction of footbridges above the existing lanes will allow the movement of those who leave while the arrivals leave the station by the quays. An expansion of the Eurostar terminal will also better meet the challenge of strengthening customs controls related to Brexit. If the original hall will overall remain the same, the entrance Transilien, with its glass walls, will be deeply transformed. This entry will indeed become a central “street” in the station, surmounted by a transparent roof, a passage of more than 300 meters by 18 meters wide, from where it should be easy to access the various quays: Eurostar, TGV, RER and Transilien. The station will be beautiful with a new façade, on the Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Denis and direct access to the departure terminal.

And places to eat I have enjoyed over the years here are:

The hotel Terminus-Nord, facing the station, and its 1925 Art Deco-style restaurant was renovated. The Exki by the Eurostar area. By the Rue Dunkerque Le Zinc du Nord.  The Café du Nord at 19 rue de Dunkerque. Also, Costa Coffee at the level -1 hall of Londres. A couple for the memories just mentioned here were the Buffet and the L’étoile du Nord of Thierry Marx.

The city of Paris on Gare du Nord renovations:

The official SNCF on the Gare du Nord:

The region Ïle de France Transilien on the Gare du Nord:

The Paris tourist office on the Gare du Nord:

You are now set to go, the Northern encounter to France is ready and will be even better soon. Enjoy the Gare du Nord of Paris, me waiting!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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