The Comédie-Française or Théâtre-Français is one of the few state theatres in France. Founded in 1680, it is considered the oldest active theatre company in the world. Established as a French state-controlled entity in 1995, it is the only state theatre in France to have its own permanent troupe of actors; the company's primary venue is the Salle Richelieu, a part of the Palais-Royal complex and located at 2 rue de Richelieu on the Place André-Malraux in the 1st arrondissement of Paris. The theatre has been known as the Théâtre de la République and popularly as "La Maison de Molière", it acquired the latter name from the troupe of the best-known playwright associated with the Comédie-Française, Molière. He was considered the patron of French actors, he died seven years before his troupe became known as the Comédie-Française, but the company continued to be known as "La Maison de Molière" after the official change of name. The Comédie-Française was founded on 8 August 1680 by a decree of Louis XIV merging the only two Parisian acting troupes of the time, the troupe of the Guénégaud Theatre and that of the Hôtel de Bourgogne.
On the death of Molière in 1673, the troupe at the Guénégaud had been formed by a merger of the Théâtre du Marais and the Troupe de Molière. Two years they received a royal grant of 12,000 livres per year, thus the Comédie-Française may be said to have an unbroken tradition reaching back to the days of Molière. The company gave its first performance on 25 August 1680 at the Guénégaud, its leading actors included Molière's widow, Armande Béjart, her husband, Guérin d'Estriché, La Grange, Mlle Champmeslé, Baron and Raymond Poisson. The repertoire consisted of the collection of theatrical works by Molière and Jean Racine, along with a few works by Pierre Corneille, Paul Scarron and Jean Rotrou. In the 18th century, the Comédie-Française was enjoyed by the French nobility, since the price to watch at the theater was expensive. On the performance of Joseph Chénier's anti-monarchical play Charles IX in 1789, violent political discussions arose among the performers, they split into two sections: the Republican party, under the young tragedian Talma, establishing a new theatre under the name "Théâtre de la République," on the site of the present building in the Rue de Richelieu.
On 3 September 1793, during the French Revolution, the Théâtre de la Nation was closed by order of the Committee of Public Safety for putting on the seditious play Pamela, the actors were imprisoned though released later. On 31 May 1799, the new government made the Salle Richelieu available and allowed the actors to reconstitute the troupe; the Comédie-Française today has three theatres in Paris. The Comédie-Française has had several homes since its inception. In 1689, it was established across from the café Procope; the Odéon was designed by Charles De Wailly. From 1770 to 1782, the Comédie performed in the theatre in the royal palace of the Tuileries. Since 1799, the Comédie-Française has been housed in the Salle Richelieu at rue de Richelieu; this theatre was enlarged and modified in the 1800s rebuilt in 1900 after a severe fire. The membership of the theatrical troupe is divided into "sociétaires" and "pensionnaires." The former are regular members of the organisation and as such receive a pension after 20 years of service, while the latter are paid actors who may, after a certain length of service, become "sociétaires."
The names of nearly all the great actors and dramatists of France have, at some time in their career, been associated with that of the Comédie-Française. The chief administrator of the Comédie-Française has been given the title administrateur général since Simonis' term of 1850. Before that, a variety of titles were given. Troupe of the Comédie-Française in 1680 Troupe of the Comédie-Française in 1752 Troupe of the Comédie-Française in 1754 Troupe of the Comédie-Française in 1755 Troupe of the Comédie-Française in 1790 List of works by Henri Chapu. Bust of Alexandre Dumas Pere Brockett, Oscar G.. History of the Theatre, tenth edition. Boston: Pearson. ISBN 9780205511860. Clarke, Jan; the Guénégaud Theatre in Paris. Volume One: Founding and Production. Lewiston, New York: The Edwin Mellen Press. ISBN 9780773483927. Gaines, James F.. The Molière Encyclopedia. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. ISBN 9780313312557. Hartnoll, editor; the Oxford Companion to the Theatre. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780192115461.
Laugier, Eugène. Documents historiques sur la Comédie-Française pendant le règne de S. M. l'Empereur Napoléon Ier. Paris: Firmin-Didot. Copies 1, 2, 3 at Internet Archive. Maurice, Charles. Le Théâtre-Français, monuments et dépendances, second edition and enlarged. Paris: Garnier. Copies 1 and 2 at Internet Archive. Sanjuan, Agathe. Comédie-Française: une histoire du théâtre. Paris: Éditions du Seuil. ISBN 9782021343755. Comédie-Française's website The Comédie Française Registers Project includes performances from 1680 to 1791
Gare de Lyon
The Gare de Lyon Paris-Gare-de-Lyon, is one of the six large mainline railway station termini in Paris, France. It handles about 90,000,000 passengers every year, making it the third busiest station of France and one of the busiest of Europe, it is the northern terminus of the Paris–Marseille railway. It is named after the city of Lyon, a stop for many long-distance trains departing here, most en route to the south of France; the station is located in the XIIe arrondissement, on the north bank of the river Seine, in the east of Paris. The station is served by high-speed TGV trains to south and eastern France, Germany and Spain; the station hosts regional trains and the RER and the Gare de Lyon metro station. Main line trains depart from 32 platforms in two distinct halls: Hall 1, the older train shed, contains tracks labelled with letters from A to N, while the modern addition of Hall 2 contains tracks which are numbered from 5 to 23. There are a further 4 platforms for the RER underneath the main lines.
The station was built for the World Exposition of 1900. On multiple levels, it is considered a classic example of the architecture of its time. Most notable is the large clock tower atop one corner of the station, similar in style to the clock tower of the United Kingdom Houses of Parliament, home to Big Ben; the station houses the Le Train Bleu restaurant, which has served drinks and meals to travellers and other guests since 1901 in an ornately decorated setting. On 27 June 1988, in the Gare de Lyon train accident, a runaway train crashed into a stationary rush-hour train, killing 56 people and injuring a further 55. From Gare de Lyon train services depart to major French cities such as: Lyon, Nice, Perpignan, Besançon, Grenoble and a number of destinations in the Alps. International services operate to Italy: Turin and Venice, Switzerland: Geneva, Bern, Interlaken and Brig, Germany Freiburg im Breisgau and Spain: Barcelona; the following services call at Gare de Lyon: High speed services Paris - Lyon High speed services Paris - Avignon - Aix-en-Provence - Marseille High speed services Paris - Avignon - Aix-en-Provence - Cannes - Antibes - Nice High speed services Paris - Lyon - Montpellier - Béziers - Narbonne - Perpignan High speed services Paris - Lyon - Montpellier - Béziers - Narbonne - Perpignan - Figueres Vilafant - Girona - Barcelona High speed services Paris - Grenoble High speed services Paris - Bellegarde - Geneva High speed services Paris - Bellegarde - Annemasse - Evian-les-Bains High speed services Paris - Chambéry - Aix-les-Bains - Annecy High speed services Paris - Chambéry - Turin - Milan High speed services Paris - Belfort - Mulhouse - Basel - Zurich High speed services Paris - Dijon - Basel - Bern - Interlaken High speed services Paris - Dijon - Lausanne High speed services Paris - Dijon - Neuchâtel High speed services Paris - Dijon - Besançon - Belfort - Mulhouse - Freiburg im Breisgau High speed services Paris - Dijon - Besançon - Belfort - Mulhouse High speed services Paris - Dijon - Besançon-Viotte High speed services Paris - Dijon - Chalon-sur-Saône High speed services Paris - Lyon - Saint-Étienne High speed services Paris - Valence - Avignon - Miramas High speed services Paris - Chambéry - Albertville - Bourg-Saint-Maurice Night train Paris - Milan - Verona - Padua - Venice Regional services Paris - Montereau - Sens - Laroche-Migennes Regional services Paris - Melun - Moret - Nemours - Montargis Paris RER services A Saint-Germain-en-Laye - Nanterre-Universite - La Defense - Gare de Lyon - Vincennes - Boissy-Saint-Leger Paris RER services A Cergy le Haut - Conflans - Sartrouville - La Defense - Gare de Lyon - Vincennes - Val-de-Fontenay - Marne-la-Vallee Paris RER services A Poissy - Sartrouville - La Defense - Gare de Lyon - Vincennes - Val-de-Fontenay - Marne-la-Vallee Paris RER services D Creil - Orry-la-Ville - Goussainville - Saint Denis - Gare du Nord - Gare de Lyon - Combs-la-Ville - Melun Paris RER services D Goussainville - Saint Denis - Gare du Nord - Gare de Lyon - Juvisy - Ris - Corbeil Paris RER services D Châtelet - Gare de Lyon - Juvisy - Grigny - Corbeil - Malesherbes Paris RER services D Gare de Lyon - Juvisy - Grigny - Corbeil - Melun The station has appeared in the following films: 1972: Travels with My Aunt, directed by George Cukor 2005: The Mystery of the Blue Train, an Hercule Poirot mystery novel by Agatha Christie 2007: Mr. Bean's Holiday, directed by Steve Bendelack 2010: The Tourist, directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck List of stations of the Paris RER List of stations of the Paris Métro Gare de Lyon rail accident Gare de Lyon at Transilien, the official website of SNCF Gare de Lyon at "Gares & Connexions", the official website of SNCF Intercity and TGV schedules from SNCF The Mystery of the Blue Train on IMDb
Arc de Triomphe
The Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile is one of the most famous monuments in Paris, standing at the western end of the Champs-Élysées at the centre of Place Charles de Gaulle named Place de l'Étoile — the étoile or "star" of the juncture formed by its twelve radiating avenues. The location of the arc and the plaza is shared between 16th, 17th and 8th; the Arc de Triomphe honours those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, with the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces. Beneath its vault lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I; as the central cohesive element of the Axe historique, the Arc de Triomphe was designed by Jean Chalgrin in 1806, its iconographic program pits heroically nude French youths against bearded Germanic warriors in chain mail. It set the tone for public monuments with triumphant patriotic messages. Inspired by the Arch of Titus in Rome, the Arc de Triomphe has an overall height of 50 metres, width of 45 m and depth of 22 m, while its large vault is 29.19 m high and 14.62 m wide.
The smaller transverse vaults are 8.44 m wide. Three weeks after the Paris victory parade in 1919, Charles Godefroy flew his Nieuport biplane under the arch's primary vault, with the event captured on newsreel. Paris's Arc de Triomphe was the tallest triumphal arch until the completion of the Monumento a la Revolución in Mexico City in 1938, 67 metres high; the Arch of Triumph in Pyongyang, completed in 1982, is modelled on the Arc de Triomphe and is taller at 60 m. La Grande Arche in La Defense near Paris is 110 metres high. Although it is not named an Arc de Triomphe, it has been designed on the same model and in the perspective of the Arc de Triomphe, it qualifies as the world's tallest arch. The Arc de Triomphe is located on the right bank of the Seine at the centre of a dodecagonal configuration of twelve radiating avenues, it was commissioned in 1806 after the victory at Austerlitz by Emperor Napoleon at the peak of his fortunes. Laying the foundations alone took two years and, in 1810, when Napoleon entered Paris from the west with his bride Archduchess Marie-Louise of Austria, he had a wooden mock-up of the completed arch constructed.
The architect, Jean Chalgrin, died in 1811 and the work was taken over by Jean-Nicolas Huyot. During the Bourbon Restoration, construction was halted and it would not be completed until the reign of King Louis-Philippe, between 1833 and 1836, by the architects Goust Huyot, under the direction of Héricart de Thury. On 15 December 1840, brought back to France from Saint Helena, Napoleon's remains passed under it on their way to the Emperor's final resting place at the Invalides. Prior to burial in the Panthéon, the body of Victor Hugo was displayed under the Arc during the night of 22 May 1885; the sword carried by the Republic in the Marseillaise relief broke off on the day, it is said, that the Battle of Verdun began in 1916. The relief was hidden by tarpaulins to conceal the accident and avoid any undesired ominous interpretations. On 7 August 1919, Charles Godefroy flew his biplane under the Arc. Jean Navarre was the pilot, tasked to make the flight, but he died on 10 July 1919 when he crashed near Villacoublay while training for the flight.
Following its construction, the Arc de Triomphe became the rallying point of French troops parading after successful military campaigns and for the annual Bastille Day military parade. Famous victory marches around or under the Arc have included the Germans in 1871, the French in 1919, the Germans in 1940, the French and Allies in 1944 and 1945. A United States postage stamp of 1945 shows the Arc de Triomphe in the background as victorious American troops march down the Champs-Élysées and U. S. airplanes fly overhead on 29 August 1944. After the interment of the Unknown Soldier, all military parades have avoided marching through the actual arch; the route taken is up to the arch and around its side, out of respect for the tomb and its symbolism. Both Hitler in 1940 and de Gaulle in 1944 observed this custom. By the early 1960s, the monument had grown blackened from coal soot and automobile exhaust, during 1965–1966 it was cleaned through bleaching. In the prolongation of the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, a new arch, the Grande Arche de la Défense, was built in 1982, completing the line of monuments that forms Paris's Axe historique.
After the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel and the Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile, the Grande Arche is the third arch built on the same perspective. In 1995, the Armed Islamic Group of Algeria placed a bomb near the Arc de Triomphe which wounded 17 people as part of a campaign of bombings. In late 2018, the Arc de Triomphe suffered acts of vandalism as part of the Yellow vests movement protests; the astylar design is in the Neoclassical version of ancient Roman architecture. Major academic sculptors of France are represented in the sculpture of the Arc de Triomphe: Jean-Pierre Cortot; the main sculptures are not integral friezes but are treated as independent trophies applied to the vast ashlar masonry masses, not unlike the gilt-bronze appliqués on Empire furniture. The four sculptural groups at the base of the Ar
The Louvre, or the Louvre Museum, is the world's largest art museum and a historic monument in Paris, France. A central landmark of the city, it is located on the Right Bank of the Seine in the city's 1st arrondissement. 38,000 objects from prehistory to the 21st century are exhibited over an area of 72,735 square metres. In 2018, the Louvre was the world's most visited art museum; the museum is housed in the Louvre Palace built as the Louvre castle in the late 12th to 13th century under Philip II. Remnants of the fortress are visible in the basement of the museum. Due to the urban expansion of the city, the fortress lost its defensive function and, in 1546, was converted by Francis I into the main residence of the French Kings; the building was extended many times to form the present Louvre Palace. In 1682, Louis XIV chose the Palace of Versailles for his household, leaving the Louvre as a place to display the royal collection, from 1692, a collection of ancient Greek and Roman sculpture. In 1692, the building was occupied by the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres and the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, which in 1699 held the first of a series of salons.
The Académie remained at the Louvre for 100 years. During the French Revolution, the National Assembly decreed that the Louvre should be used as a museum to display the nation's masterpieces; the museum opened on 10 August 1793 with an exhibition of 537 paintings, the majority of the works being royal and confiscated church property. Because of structural problems with the building, the museum was closed in 1796 until 1801; the collection was increased under Napoleon and the museum was renamed Musée Napoléon, but after Napoleon's abdication many works seized by his armies were returned to their original owners. The collection was further increased during the reigns of Louis XVIII and Charles X, during the Second French Empire the museum gained 20,000 pieces. Holdings have grown through donations and bequests since the Third Republic; the collection is divided among eight curatorial departments: Egyptian Antiquities. The Louvre Palace, which houses the museum, was begun as a fortress by Philip II in the 12th century to protect the city from English soldiers which were in Normandy.
Remnants of this castle are still visible in the crypt. Whether this was the first building on that spot is not known. According to the authoritative Grand Larousse encyclopédique, the name derives from an association with wolf hunting den. In the 7th century, St. Fare, an abbess in Meaux, left part of her "Villa called Luvra situated in the region of Paris" to a monastery.. The Louvre Palace was altered throughout the Middle Ages. In the 14th century, Charles V converted the building into a residence and in 1546, Francis I renovated the site in French Renaissance style. Francis acquired what would become the nucleus of the Louvre's holdings, his acquisitions including Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa. After Louis XIV chose Versailles as his residence in 1682, constructions slowed. Four generations of Boulle were granted Royal patronage and resided in the Louvre in the following order: Pierre Boulle, Jean Boulle, Andre-Charles Boulle and his four sons, after him. André-Charles Boulle is the most famous French cabinetmaker and the preeminent artist in the field of marquetry known as "Inlay".
Boulle was "the most remarkable of all French cabinetmakers". He was commended to Louis XIV of France, the "Sun King", by Jean-Baptiste Colbert as being "the most skilled craftsman in his profession". Before the fire of 1720 destroyed them, André-Charles Boulle held priceless works of art in the Louvre, including forty-eight drawings by Raphael'. By the mid-18th century there were an increasing number of proposals to create a public gallery, with the art critic La Font de Saint-Yenne publishing, in 1747, a call for a display of the royal collection. On 14 October 1750, Louis XV agreed and sanctioned a display of 96 pieces from the royal collection, mounted in the Galerie royale de peinture of the Luxembourg Palace. A hall was opened by Le Normant de Tournehem and the Marquis de Marigny for public viewing of the Tableaux du Roy on Wednesdays and Saturdays, contained Andrea del Sarto's Charity and works by Raphael. Under Louis XVI, the royal museum idea became policy; the comte d'Angiviller broadened the collection and in 1776 proposed conversion of the Grande Galerie of the Louvre – which contained maps – into the "French Museum".
Many proposals were offered for the Louvre's renovation into a museum. Hence the museum remained incomplete until the French Revolution. During the French Revolution the Louvre was transformed into a public museum. In May 1791, the Assembly declared that the Louvre would be "a place for bringing together monuments of all the sciences and arts". On 10 August 1792, Louis XVI was imprisoned and the royal collection i
The Pont Neuf is the oldest standing bridge across the river Seine in Paris, France. It stands by the western point of the Île de la Cité, the island in the middle of the river that was, between 250 and 225 BC, the birthplace of Paris known as Lutetia, during the medieval period, the heart of the city; the bridge is composed of two separate spans, one of five arches joining the left bank to the Île de la Cité, another of seven joining the island to the right bank. Old engraved maps of Paris show how, when the bridge was built, it just grazed the downstream tip of the Île de la Cité. Today the tip of the island is the location of the Square du Vert-Galant, a small public park named in honour of Henry IV, nicknamed the "Green Gallant"; the name Pont Neuf was given to distinguish it from older bridges that were lined on both sides with houses. It has remained, it has been listed since 1889 as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture. As early as 1550, Henry II was asked to build a bridge here because the existing Pont Notre-Dame was overloaded, but the expense was too much at the time.
In February 1578, the decision to build the bridge was made by Henry III who laid its first stone in 1578, the year when the foundations of four piers and one abutment were completed. Pierre des Isles, one of the builders, convinced the supervisory commission that the bridge, planned straight, would be more resistant to the river currents if its two sections were built at a slight angle; the change they adopted in May 1578. Further design changes were made during the summer of 1579. First, the number of arches was changed from four to seven and five; this was not a problem on the north side, where nothing had been built, but on the south, where the four piles and the abutment on the Left Bank were laid, the addition of the fifth arch necessitated reducing the length of the platform on the island, the terre-plein, from 28.5 toises to about 19. Second, it was decided to allow houses to be built on the bridge; this required the widening of the bridge. The remaining piers were built over the next nine years.
After a long delay beginning in 1588, due to political unrest and to the Wars of Religion, construction was resumed in 1599 under the reign of Henry IV. The bridge was opened to traffic in 1604 and completed in July 1606, it was inaugurated by Henri IV in 1607. Like most bridges of its time, The Pont Neuf is constructed as a series of many short arch bridges, following Roman precedents, it was the first stone bridge in Paris not to support houses in addition to a thoroughfare, was fitted with pavements protecting pedestrians from mud and horses. The decision not to include houses on the bridge can be traced back directly to Henry IV, who decided against their inclusion on the grounds that houses would impede a clear view of the Louvre, which the newly built galerie du bord de l'eau linked to the Tuileries Palace; the bridge had heavy traffic from the beginning. It has undergone much repair and renovation work, including rebuilding of seven spans in the long arm and lowering of the roadway by changing the arches from an semi-circular to elliptical form, lowering of sidewalks and faces of the piers, spandrels and replacing crumbled corbels as to the originals as possible.
In 1885, one of the piers of the short arm was undermined, removing the two adjacent arches, requiring them to be rebuilt and all the foundations strengthened. A major restoration of the Pont Neuf was begun in 1994 and was completed in 2007, the year of its 400th anniversary.. The mascarons are the stone masks, 381 in number, each being different and which decorate the sides of the bridge, they represent the heads of forest and field divinities from ancient mythology, as well as satyrs and sylvains. They are copies of the originals attributed to the French Renaissance sculptor Germain Pilon, who sculpted the tomb of King Henry II of France and Queen Catherine de'Medici in the Basilica of St Denis, five kilometers north of Paris; the mascarons remained in place until 1851–1854, when the bridge was rebuilt. At that time six of the original mascarons from the 16th century were placed in the Musée Carnavalet, along with eight molds of other originals. Eight other originals were first placed in the Musée de Cluny – Musée national du Moyen Âge, are now in the French National Museum of the Renaissance in the Château d'Écouen.
At the time of the reconstruction, the Renaissance masks were replaced with copies made by noted 19th century sculptors, including Hippolyte Maindron, Hubert Lavigne, Antoine-Louis Barye and Fontenelle. Fontenelle made sixty-one masks which are found on the upstream side of the bridge between the right bank and the Île de la Cité. At the point where the bridge crosses the Île de la Cité, there stands a bronze equestrian statue of king Henry IV commissioned from Giambologna under the orders of Marie de Médicis, Henri’s widow and Regent of France, in 1614. After his death, Giambologna's assistant Pietro Tacca completed the statue, erected on its pedestal by Pietro Francavilla, in 1618, it was destroyed in 1792 during the French Revolution, but was rebuilt in 1818, following the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy. Bronze for the new statue was obtained with the bronze from a statue of Louis Charles Antoine Desaix, as well as from the statue of Napoleon in Place Vendôme, melted do
Le Charivari was an illustrated magazine published in Paris, from 1832 to 1937. It published political cartoons and reviews. After 1835, when the government banned political caricature, Le Charivari began publishing satires of everyday life; the name refers to the folk practice of holding a charivari, a loud, riotous parade, to shame or punish wrongdoers. Le Charivari was started by caricaturist Charles Philipon and his brother-in-law Gabriel Aubert to reduce their financial risk of censorship fines, they had published the satirical, anti-monarchist, illustrated newspaper La Caricature, which had more pages and was printed on more expensive paper. In Le Charivari, they featured humorous content, not so political. Ownership of the paper changed due to issues with government censorship, related taxes and fines. Le Charivari published daily from 1832 to 1936, weekly until 1937. In 1841 English engraver, Ebenezer Landells, together with Henry Mayhew, used Le Charivari as the model to establish their Punch magazine, subtitled The London Charivari.
Contributing with lithographs and with zincographies were: Cham Honoré Daumier Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps Achille Devéria Gustave Doré Eugène Forest Paul Gavarni André Gill Alfred Grévin Grandville Paul Hadol Alfred Le Petit Maurice Loutreuil Henry Monnier Louis Touchagues Gaspard-Félix Tournachon, known as Nadar Charles-Joseph Traviès de Villers, known as Traviès Louis Desnoyers Louis Leroy Henri Rochefort Agénor Altaroche Philibert Audebrand Charles Bataille Clément Caraguel Albert Cler Taxile Delord Louis Adrien Huart Jaime Henry Maret "Le Charivari". H. Daumier and His Lithographic Work. Retrieved 7 May 2005. Honoré Daumier exhibition, Masterworks fine art, archived from the original on 15 June 2006, refers to Charivari. "Le Charivari", Gallica, FR: BnF. Daumier Drawings, an exhibition catalog from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, which contains material on Le Charivari
Gare du Nord
The Gare du Nord Paris-Nord, is one of the six large terminus stations of the SNCF mainline network for Paris, France. It serves train services toward regions north of Paris, along the Paris–Lille railway. Near Gare de l'Est in the 10th arrondissement, the Gare du Nord offers connections with several urban transport lines, including Paris Métro, RER and buses. By the number of travellers, at around 214 million per year, it is the busiest railway station in Europe by total passenger numbers; the Gare du Nord is the station for trains to Northern France and to international destinations in Belgium, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom. The station complex was designed by the French architect Jacques Hittorff and built between 1861 and 1864; the first Gare du Nord was built by Bridge and Roadway Engineers on behalf of the Chemin de Fer du Nord company, managed by Léonce Reynaud, professor of architecture at the École Polytechnique. The station was inaugurated on 14 June 1846, the same year as the launch of the Paris–Amiens–Lille rail link.
Since the station was found to be too small in size, it was demolished in 1860 to provide space for the current station. The original station's façade was transferred to Lille; the chairman of the Chemin de Fer du Nord railway company, James Mayer de Rothschild, chose the French architect Jacques Ignace Hittorff to design the current station. Construction lasted from May 1861 to December 1865, but the new station opened for service while still under construction in 1864; the façade was used many slabs of stone. The building has the usual U-shape of a terminus station; the main support beam is made out of cast iron. The support pillars inside the station were made at Alston & Gourley's ironworks in Glasgow in the United Kingdom, the only country with a foundry large enough for the task; the sculptural display represents the principal cities served by the company. Eight of the nine most majestic statues, crowning the building along the cornice line, illustrate destinations outside France, with the ninth figure of Paris in the centre.
Fourteen more modest statues representing northern European cities are lower on the façade. The sculptors represented are: London and Vienna by Jean-Louis Jaley Brussels and Warsaw by François Jouffroy Amsterdam by Charles Gumery Frankfurt by Gabriel Thomas Berlin by Jean-Joseph Perraud Cologne by Mathurin Moreau Paris and Compiegne by Pierre-Jules Cavelier Arras and Laon by Théodore-Charles Gruyère Lille and Beauvais by Charles-François Lebœuf Valenciennes and Calais by Philippe Joseph Henri Lemaire Rouen and Amiens by Eugène-Louis Lequesne Douai and Dunkirk by Gustave Crauck Cambrai and Saint-Quentin by Auguste OttinIt was planned that a monumental avenue would be constructed leading up to the station's façade, cutting through the old street layout. However, this was never built due to a dispute between de Rothschild and Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann during his rebuilding of Paris. One version claims that the lack of a boulevard was due to Haussmann discovering that his wife was having an affair with the Gare du Nord's architect, Jacques Ignace Hittorff, though this story is unlikely, since Hittorff, born in 1792, was seventy-three years old when the station was completed, died two years later.
Whatever the reason, the station has persistently suffered problems with a lack of space and poor access. To remedy these problems, in 2015 SNCF engaged the architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte to "open the station towards the city", it is intended that the station will undergo a major refurbishment to be completed by 2024, when Paris is to host the Olympic Games. The station will remain open during the renovations; the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, has pledged to address the traffic problems in front of the station by reconfiguring its approaches. Like other Parisian railway stations, the Gare du Nord became too small to deal with the increase in railway traffic. In 1884, engineers were able to add five supplementary tracks; the interior was rebuilt in 1889 and an extension was built on the eastern side to serve suburban rail lines. More expansion work was carried out between the 1960s. Beginning in 1906 and 1908, the station was served by the Metro Line 4, which crosses Paris from north to south, the terminus of Metro Line 5, which ran to Étoile through Place d'Italie.
In 1942, Line 5 was extended towards the northern suburbs of Pantin and Bobigny, while its south terminus was set to Place d'Italie. Metro Line 2 is linked to the Gare du Nord via an underground tunnel. One enters the Métro station and, instead of climbing the stairs that lead to the elevated métro line descends several flights of stairs, before traversing a long, arched circular hallway to enter the station. In 1994, the arrival of Eurostar trains required another reorganisation of the rail tracks: Platforms 1 and 2: Service platforms, not open to the public. Platforms 3 to 6: Terminus of the London Eurostar via the Channel Tunnel. Platforms 7 and 8: Thalys platforms for Belgium and the Netherlands. Platforms 9 to 18: TGV North Europe, Main Line trains, some Picard TER. Platforms 19 to 21: Picard TER. Platforms 30 to 36: Suburban station and Picard TER Platforms 41 to 44: RER station, lines B and D. 4 Métro Platforms: Lines 4&5It is connected to Magenta RER Station and La Chapelle Métro Station.
Today, the Gare du Nord is the busiest railway station in Europe, with over 700,000 passengers daily. Most of the passengers are commuters travelling in from the northern suburbs of Paris and