This guide to Paris Est train station explains what to look out for when departing from or arriving at the Gare de l'Est by train and how to access the other main stations in Paris from here.
The Gare de l'Est aka Paris Est train station has a comparatively rare quality of being as stunningly beautiful inside, as it is on the exterior.
Though it would look even more magnificent without the huge advertising posters, which hang down from its roof.
It's not only beautiful, it's also enormous - and it's this combination which earned it a place on our list of most awe-inspiring European stations.
Though despite its size it's a fairly easy station to navigate, so taking a train from here is usually a delight.
Seven Things Worth Knowing About Paris Est station:
(1) The station isn't named after its location, it's not on the eastern edge of Paris city centre, but towards the north.
It takes its name thanks to the destinations that can be reached from here by train; as they're to the east of Paris.
So this is the station to head to if you will be departing Paris for the likes of Belfort, Metz, Nancy, Reims or Strasbourg.
The high speed trains to central Germany and Luxembourg also depart from here.
(2) It is a terminus station, so the voies (platforms/tracks), which the TGV, IC and TER trains depart from, are all linked to the one concourse.
This concourse is at street level, so there is step free access to the taxi ranks and the bus lines/routes which serve the station.
(3) The concourse is large and airy, so the station rarely feels crowded.
Heaters are scattered around the concourse in winter.
(4) The specific voies (platforms/tracks) which trains will be leaving from, are usually confirmed no more than 20mins before departure.
(5) The Metro station serving lines, 4. 5 and 7 has its own hall in the middle of the station buildings.
(6) The Metro station has escalators which connect this hall, by the main concourse, and the Metro ticket hall - and an elevator which is available to travellers requiring Mobility Assistance.
Escalators also provide some of the access between the Metro trains and the Metro ticket hall.
(7) The left luggage office is located in the atrium, which gives access to the metro station, its down on the lower level by the entrance to the Metro station.
When you're at Paris Est station it can seem like an exceptionally easy station to take a train from.
It's a terminus station, so to access any mainline train, all you have to do is walk ahead from the main concourse.
However, how you FIND your train and make your way to it, is unique to Paris Est.
Because what won't be obvious is that the concourse at the Gare de l'Est (Paris Est) is so enormous, that it is divided into three sections, to make it easier for travellers to find their trains.
(1) The area on the left, in front of voies (platforms/tracks) 2 -13 is the 'plateforme jaune' = the yellow zone.
(2) The area on the right, in front of voies (platforms/tracks) 22-30 is the ‘plateforme bleu' = the blue zone.
(3) Voies (platforms/tracks) 14-21, the area BETWEEN these two zones, is used exclusively by the TER and 'Transillien' commuter trains, which depart from Paris Est.
So the TGVs and other express trains depart from either the yellow OR blue zones.
There are a lack of signs on the concourse marking these zones, we didn't notice them, but it's worth being aware of these zones if you're at Paris Est more than 20 mins before your train departs.
Validating your ticket(s):
If you have a ticket(s) issued by a machine or ticket office, don't forget to stamp it in the machines before boarding.
You'll find these at the entrance to the voies (platform/tracks).
The specific voie/platform/track that a train will be departing from will only be confirmed around 10-20mins before departure.
Prior to the specific voie (platform/track) that your train will be departing from being confirmed, these blue and yellow zones are indicated on the long distance train departure 'Grandes Lignes' information screens.
The zones are showing which part of the station your train will ultimately be departing from.
If you see a yellow square, then your train will ultimately be departing from voies/platforms 2-13.
If you see a blue square, then the train will be departing from voies/platforms 22-30.
So for easy boarding, you can head for the side of the concourse that your train will be departing from.
If you can’t see the station that you’re travelling to on the departure screens, find your train using the train number.
This will be a 4 digit number, which will be printed on your ticket - so match this number to the train number that will be on the departure screens.
The blue zone is furthest away from the main exit from the metro, but you won't know if your train is departing from here until you arrive at Paris Est
So aim to be stepping off of the Metro a minimum of around 7 mins before your train is due to depart.
In contrast, the 'plateforme jaune' (yellow zone), the location of voies/platforms 2–13, is directly ahead of the main entrance to the station and in front of the Metro station exits
The Gare de l'Est is a terminus station so the exits on to the main concourse are towards the front of arriving trains.
Simply walk ahead when you step off of the train and then when you are on the concourse you will discover that all the exits from the station are step-free and level with the surrounding streets.
Paris Est is a comparatively easy station to navigate as all of the facilities at the station are grouped around its one main concourse.
Though a staircase outside the station does lead up to the shortest pedestrian route to the Gare Du Nord.
The access to the Metro is roughly in the centre of the main buildings, which span the concourse on the opposite side to the voies (platforms/tracks) that the mainline trains arrive at.
The Metro station entrance is at a lower level - by the left luggage office.
The Gare de l'Est Metro station is understandably named after the full name in French of Paris Est station.
It is served by
As seen on the Paris Metro map lines 4 and 7 provide direct links to many of the most popular areas of the city centre.
Line 4 stops at:
Line 7 stops at:
Though think twice about using the Métro if you have luggage etc as virtually all the exits from the metro stations aren't step-free.
Walking between the Gare Du Nord and and the Gare de l'Est takes 5 - 8 mins; but on the most direct route you need to use a steep flight of stairs.
Find out more and discover the alternatives on the guide below.
This is an awkward transfer, as there are no direct metro or RER lines that link the Gare De L’Est and Gare De Lyon.
There are direct TGVs from destinations including Frankfurt (Main) Luxembourg, Metz, Nancy and Strasbourg to some of the destinations served by trains from the Gare De Lyon including Lyon, Marseille and Montpellier; so take those if you can, the journey will be exponentially more convenient.
If you do need to make the transfer between these stations in Paris then the first stage of the easiest option is take Metro Line 5 (and not Metro Line 4) one stop to Gare Du Nord (direction Bobigny).
This may seem odd because you will initially be heading north despite the Gare De Lyon's location to the south.
Then when you're at Gare Du Nord transfer to RER Ligne D Sud, it's the comparative cross-city speed of the RER trains, which gives this route and advantage.
Once you’re on the RER platform, any Line D Sud train will take you to the Gare De Lyon.
But before boarding a train, check that you’re heading in the right direction; use the electronic departure screen, or ask the SNCF staff, who can normally be found on the platform/voie.
Avoid both taking a Line B train, they depart from the opposite side of the platform - or heading north on Line D (Nord).
It sounds more straightforward than it is; so if you have luggage or the weather is hot, then a taxi ride can be worth every cent
Metro Line 5 (direction Place d'Italie) provides a direct link from Gare De L’Est to Austerltz, but think twice if you have luggage.
The Line 5 Metro station at Austerlitz is above ground and there are no escalators/lifts down to ground level where the mainline trains depart from - you have no choice but to use the stairs.
This is a transfer that looks straightforward as Metro Line 4 provides a direct link between Gare De L’Est and Montparnasse; direction Mairie de Montrouge.
However, if you have luggage it’s far from convenient.
Line 4 is the 2nd busiest line on the Paris Metro, so at peak times the crowds can seem overwhelming.
You'll be leaving the train at Montparnasse-Bienvenüe station; it's 13 stops from Gare De L’Est, so the train journey takes around 22-25 mins.
The part of Montparnasse–Bienvenüe metro station used by the line 4 trains is connected to the exit from the Metro into Paris Montparnasse mainline station by long passage ways.
They're so long, that despite the travellators, it takes 10 -12 minutes to make the transfer from stepping off the Metro, to arriving at the Paris Montparnasse main concourse.
You will also have to negotiate three flights of stairs within the Metro station!
When you finally exit the metro station at Montparnasse, the mainline trains will be two levels above, though there are banks of escalators and lifts.
If you will be taking a TGV from Paris Montparnasse, then from the Metro, follow the signs to ‘Lignes Grande Vitesse’
In the summer, making the transfer can be particularly uncomfortable, temperatures can soar at both main line stations, on the train and in the passage ways.
This is an awkward transfer; as there are no direct metro or RER lines, that link the Gare De L’Est and Gare St Lazare.
The easiest option is take Metro Line 5 (and not Metro Line 4) one stop to Gare Du Nord (direction Bobigny)
On arrival at Gare Du Nord follow the signs to RER Line E; the RER station at Gare Du Nord, that the Line E trains depart from, is named 'Magenta'.
From Magenta, there are trains every 5-10mins to Haussmann – St-Lazare, which is also where the trains terminate.
You should be at St Lazare within 25mins of arriving at Gare De L’Est.
The area around Paris Est station (Gare de l’Est) is packed with hotels, but those that are listed below are among the few that have user excellence ratings of above 80% - so if you want/need quality accommodation within 10mins walk of Paris Est, it pays to book ahead.
The Paris Metro and heavy luggage aren’t particularly compatible, but if you don’t want to take a taxi to accommodation in other areas of Paris - the other options listed below are exceptional hotels that have direct RER or Metro links with Paris Est.
Hotels within 10 mins walk of Paris Est station:
District Republique Hotel
Highly rated hotels with direct public transport links to Paris Gare De l’Est:
Les Bains Hotel (5mins walk from Etienne Marcel station on Metro Line 4)
Edgar Hotel (5mins walk from Strasbourg St Denis station on Metro Line 4)
Crowne Plaza Paris Republique (5mins walk from Reublique station on Metro Line 5)
Le Mareuil Hotel (5mins walk from Reublique station on Metro Line 5)
This is one of more than 300 station guides available on ShowMeTheJourney, which will make it easier to take the train journeys you want or need to make. As always, all images were captured on trips taken by ShowMeTheJourney.