Essential Architecture-  Paris

Gare Montparnasse




Paris, France.


original 1840, second 1848, latest 1969.




stone facade, steel and glass train shed


Utility Transport Railway station
  Granville-Paris Express wreck on 22 October 1895
  View of the Gare Montparnasse from the Tour Montparnasse
  The interior of the TGV terminal
The Gare Montparnasse is one of the six large terminus train stations of Paris, located in the Montparnasse area, in the XVe arrondissement.

The station is used for the intercity TGV trains to destinations in the west and south-west of France including Tours, Bordeaux, Rennes and Nantes. Additionally, it is served by several suburban and regional services on the Transilien Paris – Montparnasse routes. There is also a metro station, and a high-speed moving sidewalk.


The original station opened in 1840. A second station was built between 1848 and 1852.

The Gare Montparnasse became famous for a derailment on 22 October 1895 of the Granville-Paris Express that overran the buffer stop. The engine careened across almost 30 metres (98 ft) of the station concourse, crashed through a 60 centimetres (24 in) thick wall, shot across a terrace and sailed out of the station, plummeting onto the Place de Rennes 10 metres (33 ft) below, where it stood on its nose. All of the passengers on board the train survived, five sustaining injuries: two passengers, a fireman and two crewmembers; however, one woman on the street below was killed by falling masonry. The accident was caused by a faulty Westinghouse brake and the engine drivers who were trying to make up for lost time. The train chief incurred a 25 franc penalty and the engine driver a 50 franc penalty; he was also sent to prison for two months.

On 25 August 1944, the German military governor of Paris, General Von Choltitz, surrendered his garrison to the French General Philippe Leclerc at the old train station, after disobeying Adolf Hitler's direct order to destroy the city (see Liberation of Paris). During the 1960s, a newer station integrated into a complex of office buildings was built. In 1969, the old station was torn down and the Tour Montparnasse built on its spot. An extension was built in 1990 to host the TGV Atlantique.

Popular culture
The picture of the locomotive standing on its nose appears on the cover of the album Lean into It from the hard rock band Mr. Big.

The story of the train crash and the picture feature in the 2007 children's novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. Much of the story is set in and around Gare Montparnasse.


See also
Gare de l’Est
Gare du Nord
Gare d'Austerlitz
Gare de Lyon
Gare Montparnasse
Gare Saint-Lazare