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StaTrain stations: where railways meet

mercredi 25 juillet 2018

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  • Pacific 231, gare Saint-Lazare, par René-Jacques. Photo (C) Ministère de la Culture - Médiathèque du Patrimoine, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / René-Jacques.
    Four locomotives at Saint-Lazare station, le Boyer Noël.
    Photo (C) Ministère de la Culture - Médiathèque du Patrimoine, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Noël Le Boyer. Droits : Etat.

If all roads lead to Rome, all railways lead to a train station. Places of departure or arrival, separation or reunion, stations are a theatre set on which a multitude of travellers cross paths.

Railways revolutionised travel in the 19th century, connecting urban areas to rural ones more quickly. Stations, initially known as “embarcadères” (“quays” in French), multiplied across the country to facilitate access to trains.

Attesting to the development of urbanisation in this period of History, the architecture of train stations is now easily recognisable. A combination of elements borrowed from different historical, artistic and architectural eras, these buildings are numerous and varied, exemplifying architectural eclecticism.

Rail companies, keen to showcase their identity and the size of their network, paid particular attention to the architecture of the buildings’ façade. This is why these station buildings, built between the 19th and first part of the 20th centuries, feature allegorical statues or crests representing the emblems of the different towns and cities they served. Some also have a clock tower, symbolising the speed and punctuality of the trains.

The agency invites you on a tour of these multifaceted stations through its photographic archive. Whether through-stations or those at the end of the line, take some time – perhaps while waiting for your train – to look through our selection!

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