Hotel near Gare de l'Est Paris : within fifteen minutes on foot or five by taxi, you can easily reach the famed East Station of Paris from the conveniently located Hotel Opera Lafayette. This station services high speed trains such as Thalys, TGV and ICE, and links to cities such as Stuttgart, Strasbourg, Cologne and Luxembourg. Further afield, it serves destinations as far as Belarus and Russia. Today the station is a terminus of the SNCF, the French state-owned national railway company, but it also has an illustrious past.
The Gare de l'Est railway station was opened in 1849 by the Paris Strasbourg Railway Company, during the boom years of railway expansion often referred to as the beginning of a golden age of rail travel by transport historians. The impressive building was designed by the architect Francois Alexandre Duquesny and has a Romanesque Revival main body and Neo-Renaissance wings; a combination which works surprisingly well.
There is a striking arched glass roof, again revealing the high-minded splendour of the age. Sculptures on the east and west facades represent Strasbourg and Verdun; significant locations serviced by the station. History was made on the 4th October 1883 when the station was the departure point for the maiden journey of the Orient Express to Istanbul.
In the main hall a huge painting by Albert Herter shows the departure of French troops for the battlefields of the Great War, a conflict in which the artist himself lost a son, lending the work additional poignancy. Gare de l'Est was almost doubled in size in 1931, but has maintained its architectural integrity, and remains highly impressive today.
The comfortable and strikingly designed Hotel Opera Lafayette is well situated on the rue Lafayette, a vibrant area of shops, bars and restaurants. Here you are not far from the wide reaching transport options available at the famed Gare de l'Est.
Picture copyright holder : Tourist office Paris - Photographer Amelie Dupont