Map showing station location

The Gare Montparnasse handles trains using the TGV Atlantique high-speed line to Brittany, Bordeaux, Biarritz, Lourdes, Tarbes and the Spanish border at Hendaye & Irun for onward trains to San Sebastian or Lisbon.

I have to say that the Gare Montparnasse is my least favourite Paris terminal station, an ugly concrete station underneath a 1969 office block which was extended to handle the TGV Atlantique trains in 1990.  Nothing now remains of the historic 1840 station best known for the famous train crash in 1895 when a train crashed through the buffers then the station facade ending up nose-down in the street below.  More about this famous train accident here.

Overview & orientation...   See tips

Level 0 = main entrance hall at street level...  You enter the station at street level through the main doors in the glass facade into a foyer (called Hall 4).  The French for level is niveau

If you arrive by metro you emerge up escalators into this same Hall 4 at ground level, just inside the glass facade.  If you arrive from Paris Nord or Paris Est on metro line 4 the metro station is called Montparnasse-Bienvenue, be aware that it's a few minutes walk along pedestrian tunnels including a long travelator from Montparnasse-Bienvenue metro station to Montparnasse SNCF TGV station.

Level 1 = mezzanine level with shops & toilets...  If you take the smaller escalators from ground level up to level 1 you'll find shops and toilets.  Further escalators then take you up to level 2 for the trains.

Level 2 = concourse, platforms & trains...  If you take the huge escalators just inside the glass facade on level 0 they'll take you directly up to level 2 two storeys above street level, where you'll find the main station concourse (called Hall 1), the platforms & trains.  The main ticket office is on this level next to platform 1.  There is another station exit/entrance at the platform 1 end of the main concourse, in the form of a long flight of steps down to the street.

Platforms 1-28...  The station is a terminus, so when you stand on the main concourse on level 2 you'll see the platforms lined up in front of you, numbered 1 to 24 from left to right.  Platforms 1-9 are used by TGVs, platforms 10-17 by suburban & local trains, and platforms 18-24 by more TGVs.  Platforms 25-28 are in a separate extension a few minutes walk from the main concourse, but these are only used by local trains so you won't need them if catching a TGV to Brittany or southwest France.

Level 3 = taxi rank, Salon Grand Voyageur...  Level 3 is directly above the platforms, here you'll find Hall 2.  There are escalators from the main concourse up to level 3 at the platform 1 end of the concourse and at the platform 24 end.  Here you'll find the taxi rank and the SNCF Salon Grand Voyageur (first class lounge) which you can use if you happen to have a 1st class full-price Pro ticket (but not just any 1st class ticket) or an SNCF (or Railteam) loyalty card. 

The station in pictures...

Gare Montparnasse, facade

The glass facade & main entrance of Paris Gare Montparnasse, at street level (Level 0).  Note the ugly 1969 office block sitting on top of the station.

 

Level 0, inside the main entrance looking straight ahead.  Note the small escalators up to level 1 in front of you, and the escalators down to the metro...

 

Level 0, inside the main entrance looking to the right.  On your right & left are the huge escalators directly up to the main station concourse on level 2, with the platforms & trains.

Concourse at Paris Gare Montparnasse

Level 2, the main concourse known as Hall 1.  The concourse runs the full width of the station along platforms 1-24.  The photo above looks along the concourse with the platforms & trains on the right and the escalators down to levels 1 & 0 on the left.  The mainline ticket office is in the far distance next to platform 1.  There are steps down to street level in the far distance, too.

 

Platforms 1-24 open off the concourse, numbered from left to right.  1-9 & 18-24 for TGVs.  10-17 for local trains.

 

TGV platforms are now being fitted with ticket gates, to scan your ticket before entering the platform...

Tips for using the Gare Montparnasse...

Restaurant Le Petit Sommelier   Inside Le Petit Sommelier

Le Petit Sommelier, across the road from Paris Gare Montparnasse...

The famous 1895 accident...

You've probably seen the photo below left many times, without even knowing where it was taken.  It shows an express train from Granville to Paris with failed Westinghouse brakes, which in October 1895 crashed through the buffer stops of the old Gare Montparnasse, ran across the concourse and smashed through the old station facade onto the street below.  Fortunately there was only one fatality, a woman selling newspapers in the street.  The historic 1840 station was located just to the northeast of today's Gare Montparnasse on the site now occupied by the Tour Montparnasse & shopping centre in front of it, see map showing the location of the old station & 1895 accident.  The yellow square in the photo shows what that spot looks like now.  For more detail about the accident see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montparnasse_derailment.

1895 train accident, Gare Montparnasse   What the 1895 accident site looks like today

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