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A shadow of its former glory...

The Gare d'Austerlitz is one of the main Paris termini, although these days a shadow of its former glory, merely handling the intercitÚ trains on the classic route from Paris to Limoges, Cahors, Brive & Toulouse, the intercitÚ de nuit overnight trains to Nice, Latour de Carol, Toulouse, Brianšon & Perpignan, and regional trains to Orleans, Blois & the Loire Valley.

The Gare d'Austerlitz was once the grand terminus of the Paris-Bordeaux railway, handling express trains to Bordeaux, Biarritz & Lourdes, the sleeper trains to Barcelona & Madrid and even at one time the Sud Express to Lisbon.  However, when the TGV Atlantique high-speed line opened in 1989-90, mainline trains to Bordeaux & southwest France switched to the Gare Montparnasse and the sleepers to Spain were discontinued in 2013.

The Gare d'Austerlitz is a dead-end terminus and has been for decades, but it was built as a through station, obvious when you look at its layout.  Until 1939, trains would continue along the banks of the River Seine to the Gare d'Orsay and beyond.  However, the suburban RER trains now run in tunnels underground, the Gare d'Orsay is now a famous Parisian art museum, and the Gare d'Austerlitz is a terminus.  Indeed, the buffer stops have recently been moved even further east and new platform canopies are under construction.  At the time I write this the original huge arched trainshed is a construction site, sealed off from the public.

Station overview   See tips   Location map

Platforms are numbered 1 to 21 from left to right as you look at them, starting with platform 1 on the north side.  The main station building with the main hall and ticket office is on the north side facing the Seine, although if you arrive by metro or taxi you may end up entering from the roadway on the north side.  You can find a detailed plan of the station and its facilities at www.gares-sncf.com.

The north side of station.  This is the main station building, facing the river Seine.  This side of the station is pedestrianised, with steps and a slope leading up to the road that runs along the left bank of the Seine.

 

The main hall, on the north side.

 

The platforms are currently a construction site.

Platforms at Paris Austerlitz

Platforms 1-7, looking towards the station toilets and showers.  Your IntercitÚ de Nuit may leave from these platforms.

Platform 4 at Paris Austerlitz

Another shot of the modernised platforms, this is platform 4.

Toilets and showers at the Gare d'Austerlitz

Toilets (marked Toilettes) and showers (in the Espace Services).  The showers are for those arriving by overnight IntercitÚ de Nuit.

The south side of the station.  The taxi rank and entrance to the station are at the far end of this roadway.  The exit to the street is behind the camera.

Note the bridge carrying metro line M5 into the metro platforms, which are actually built into the upper levels of the mainline station!  Line M5 climbs up from underground just north of the Seine, crosses the river on a bridge to arrive at the above-ground Gare d'Austerlitz metro station.

The north side of the station again, with the bridge over the River Seine on my right.

Taken from the same spot as the previous photo, but looking the other way, across the bridge over the River Seine with the Gare d'Austerlitz behind the camera.  You can see the clock tower of the Gare de Lyon on the other side of the river.  You can see how close the Gare de Lyon and Gare d'Austerlitz are.

Tips for using the Gare d'Austerlitz

Off Paris Seine restaurant starter   Off Paris Seine restaurant main course

Starter and main course at the floating restaurant Off Paris Seine, on the river right next to the Gare d'Austerlitz.


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