Gare de Lyon – France’s Third Busiest Railway Station


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Paris Gare de Lyon Station

Gare de Lyon, in the 12th arrondissement, is one of the six main terminus railway stations in Paris. Built for the World Exposition of 1900, the architecture of the building reflects the building style of the period, with a huge clock tower being its most prominent feature. Gare de Lyon is the northern terminus of the Paris – Marseille Line. With 90 million passengers passing through the station every year, this make Gare de Lyon the third busiest station in France, after Gare du Nord and Gare Saint Lazare.

Gare de Lyon Networks

The train networks that use Gare de Lyon include the:

  • TGV (French high-speed train)
  • Thello (an Italian night service from Gare de Lyon to Milan, Verona, Padua with Venezia Santa Lucia train station as the final destination)
  • Intercités (non-high speed SNCF network in France)
  • TER Bourgogne (the regional rail network serving the French Burgundy region)
  • AVE (Spanish high-speed train which began links from Barcelona and Madrid to France in December 2013)

In addition, Metro (Lines 1 and 14) and the RER (Lines A and D) also go through this station.

The destinations mostly commonly travelled to and from Gare de Lyon include the central and south-east of France, the French Riviera, French-speaking section of Switzerland, Italy and Spain.

Three Levels of Gare de Lyon

The main entrance to Gare de Lyon is on Boulevard Diderot. At the entrance there are taxis, the Air France coaches to CDG Airport and local buses connecting to other Paris train stations.

Gare de Lyon services are spread over three floors:

Niveau 0 (Level 0) – the Grandes Lignes (main lines) train platforms are on this level which is the street level.

There are two colour-coded train platform zones. The blue zone has platforms (voies) that are labelled A to N and the yellow zone has platforms that are numbered Voies 5 to 23 (uneven numbers only). If arriving by taxi, bus, car or on foot, the train platforms are on this level.

The platforms are clearly signposted. At the top-end of each platform there is a sign indicating the “voie”. Television monitors show detailed information about the next train leaving from the particular platform – the train number, its destination, the station stops the train will be making along its route.

There’s a range of food outlets on this level, including take-aways, cafes and restaurants such as l’Express Bleu and Le Train Bleu, an ornately-decorated restaurant that has been serving drinks and meals to travellers since 1901.

Niveau -1 (Level -1) – The rental car agencies are on this floor so if you need to rent a car or drop-off the keys for your rental car, head for Niveau -1. Also on this floor is the “Consignes” (luggage storage area).

If you’ve arrived on the Metro or RER on Level -2, you will need to make your way to this level from which there are direct access to the platform that you need to get to – look for directions to the yellow or blue colour code and your platform number.

Niveau -2 (Level -2) – The Metro and RER lines are on this level.

If you are arriving at the Gare de Lyon by Metro (Lines 1 and 14) or RER trains (Lines A and D), you’ll need to take the escalator or stairs up one level to Niveau -1 where you’ll see signs pointing to the Grandes Lignes (main lines) on Niveau 0. There are monitors on this level which show the type of train, train numbers, departure times, final destination and where the train will be departing from. The blue and yellow zones are at different sections of the train platform level so to make sure you’re not running round in circles with heavy luggage, look for your train number and which zone (yellow or blue) and the platform (voie) number. There are specific directions on which escalator you’ll need to go up to arrive at your platform.

Sometimes you may see destination names with blue and yellow squares next to it, but without any platform number. This means that the arrival zone has been determined, but the platform number has yet to be decided. In such instances, it is advisable to head for your train departure zone (yellow or blue) so that once a platform decision is posted, you will at least be in the right area.

Getting to and from Gare de Lyon

  • Metro – Lines 1 and 14
  • RER – Lines A and D
  • Buses – Lines 20, 24 and 29 (for Gare Saint Lazare); Line 61 and 65 (for Gare d’Austerlitz); Line 91 (for Gare de Montparnasse)
  • Air France Bus to CDG

Gare de Lyon
20 boulevard Diderot
75012 Paris

Paris Map:

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