The Gare De Lyon station in Paris is a rather beautiful, but a somewhat confusing space to navigate for first time users - particularly when departing by train.
Hence our guide to using the station, plus how to access central Paris and the city's other stations from Gare De Lyon and where to stay near the station.
The top two tips for using the Gare De Lyon are;
The Gare De Lyon lives up to its name as the TGVs to Lyon do depart and arrive from here.
Though the station also hosts high speed trains to/from a swathe of other fabulous destinations in the south of France, the French Alps, Burgundy, Italy, Switzerland and Spain.
So many high speed trains use the Gare De Lyon, that they can't all be accommodated in the original terminal building - in fact most now use an extension to the side of it.
The fact the Gare De Lyon is in effect multiple stations, sharing one location, is the source of much of the confusion.
Seven Things Worth Knowing about Gare De Lyon:
(1) Aim to arrive at Paris Gare De Lyon a minimum of 15mins before your train departs.
(2) The Gare De Lyon is in effect four stations in one building:
The trains which leave from Hall 1 can also be accessed from a Hall 3, which is beneath the trains; and when transferring from the RER to Hall 2, you will pass through this Hall 3
(3) The two parts of the station, which the long distance trains depart from and arrive at, are named Hall 1 and Hall 2.
They're some distance from each other, so being aware of which of these 'Halls' your train will be departing from, is important.
(4) Think of Gare De Lyon as you would a large airport, with these 'Hall's being the equivalent of 'Terminals'.
(5) But unlike an airport, for the long distance trains, there are no absolute rules at Gare De Lyon, as to which hall (terminal) your TGV, Lyria or Intercités train will be departing from.
It could be Hall 1 OR Hall 2, but which of these halls a train will be departing from, is included on all of the departure screens at the station.
(7) Gare De Lyon is also served by two lines of the network of RER trains in Paris - line A and Line D.
In central Paris these RER lines are the equivalent of express metro lines.
Both Line A and Line D link Gare De Lyon with Chatelet-les Halles.
Line A also calls at the city centre stations of Auber and Charles de Gaulle – Étoile.
Line D connects the Gare De Lyon to the Gare Du Nord.
The route between Hall 1 and Hall 2 is step free but they are approximately 200 metres apart.
In Hall 1 there are signs showing the way to Hall 2, the route is over to the left (when facing the trains) through the booking hall - when you enter the booking hall, turn right and walk passed the ticket booking desks,
In Hall 2 signs hanging down from its roof will direct you into this passage way by the ticket desks, however, there is an alternative route between the two halls which involves walking along the side of the main hall, near voie A
The long-distance trains depart from two distinctly separate parts of the station, which are now known as Hall 1 and Hall 2.
Prior to the specific voie (platform/track), that a train will be departing from, being confirmed, which Hall (1 or 2) that a train is leaving from, is indicated on the 'Grande Lignes' departure screens, which you can access around the station.
The departure halls are usually confirmed hours in advance.
Make sure you are looking at the departure screens marked 'Grande Lignes'.
So head to the Hall that your train will be departing from and wait there for the specific voie (platform/track) to be confirmed.
The older departure hall used by some long distance trains, which is directly behind the beautiful main frontage to the street, is the Hall 1.
To help distinguish it from Hall 2, it has letters in place of numbers for its voies (platforms/tracks) and they run from A to N.
The Hall 2 is to the left side of the main station building and it has voies (platforms/tracks) numbered from 5 to 23.
The majority of the high speed express trains leave from this part of the station.
The specific voie (platform/track) within a hall that each train will depart from isn't usually confirmed until 10 - 20mins prior to departure.
Therefore, Hall 2 in particular can be permanently crowded.
So if you arrive at the Gare De Lyon more than 45mins before your train departs, the Hall 1 concourse is a more pleasant environment in which to wait for a train than Hall 2 (Hall 1 tends to be less crowded).
You will have to access Hall 2 if your train will be departing from there, but you’ll have time to make the transfer from Hall 1 to Hall 2.
If you have a ticket issued by a machine or ticket office, don’t forget to stamp your ticket in the yellow machines at the entrance to the voie (platform/track).
There is no need to stamp tickets you have printed at home.
If you enter the Gare De Lyon from its main street entrance, what can be confusing is that you will be in Hall 1; but that may not be particularly obvious.
Hall 2 will be out of sight.
You will see people waiting around for trains , but avoid assuming that your train will be departing from this part of the station.
It is possible to access Hall 2 from the Hall 1 concourse, but they are approximately 200 metres apart.
There are signs showing the way to Hall 2, the route is over to the left (when facing the trains) through the booking hall; when you enter the booking hall, turn right and walk passed the ticket booking desks
This passage way to Hall 2 also houses the main ticket office.
If you will be arriving by TAXI then check the live departure info on the link above; as there are separate taxi drop off points for Hall 1 and Hall 2.
Making the transfer between arriving by RER or Metro trains and departing by long distance express trains at Gare De Lyon can be particularly confusing.
That's because there are multiple access points between this underground part of the station and the voies (platforms/tracks) above that the main line trains leave from.
Ideal for regular users of the station who will appreciate the quickest possible access to the trains, but awkward for first time users of the Paris Lyon terminal .
Arriving at Gare De Lyon by RER or Metro Line 14:
Taking Metro Line 14 to the Gare De Lyon can be a good option, its stations have comparatively easy access to and from the trains and its stop at the Gare De Lyon is no exception, so here are five things worth knowing about taking these trains or the RER.
(1) Having ascended from the voies (platforms/tracks) by escalator or elevator that your train will have arrived at, you will find yourself in the warren that is the the RER concourse at Gare De Lyon.
The Metro Line 14 and the RER share the same part of the station.
(2) Look for and follow the signs to the 'Grande Lignes' trains - and you then will enter into Hall 3 (pictured above).
(3) There is a lack of signs telling you are in Hall 3, but it is located directly beneath voies (platforms/tracks) A - N.
However it doesn't matter if your train is NOT departing from these voies (platforms/tracks) - there is easy access from this Hall 3 to the other voies (platforms/tracks) used by the long distance, express trains.
(4) The departure screens are different in Hall 3.
If your train will be departing from voies (platforms/tracks) A - N, you will be instructed to wait in the Hall 3 waiting area.
If you will be taking a Ouigo service, you will usually be directed to wait in this Hall 3 area.
However, if your train is leaving from voies (platforms/tracks) 5 - 23, you will be directed to wait in Hall 2.
This is accessed by the escalator, slopes and lifts up which you'll come to the far end of Hall 3.
(5) The specific voie (platform/track) that each train will depart from isn't usually confirmed until 10 - 20mins prior to departure, but Hall 3 isn't the optimum location in which to spend a long time waiting for a train.
So if your train will be leaving from voies A - N and you've got time to kill before your train departs, then make your way to Hall 1 and wait for your train there.
Though this waiting in Hall 1 suggestion probably won't be an option if you will taking a Ouigo train, as the boarding procedures for these trains are usually carried out in Hall 3.
Arriving at Gare De Lyon by Metro Line 1:
Metro Line 1 uses a separate part of the Metro station to that which is used by Line 14.
It exits into Departure Hall 1, so if your train is departing from Hall 2, you can access it from Hall 1.
If you will be taking a TGV, Lyria, Intercités or Ouigo service, you will need to check the blue screens which have the header 'Grande Lignes' above them.
What's unusual about these screens at the Gare De Lyon is that prior to the specific voie (platform/track) being shown, is that they direct travellers to await their departure in a specific Hall.
Those on the concourses will indicate whether passengers should wait in Hall 1 or Hall 2, while those in Hall 3 (by the exit from the RER station) will indicate whether you should wait in Hall 3 or Hall 2.
If you can’t see the specific station that you’re travelling to on the departure screens, find your train using the train number.
This will be a four digit number, which will be printed on your ticket - so match this number to the train number that will be on the departure screens.
If you’re cutting it fine and see a letter and not a number for the platform (voie) on the departure screens - then you need to head for Hall 1.
See a number from 5 to 23 and you need to head for Hall 2.
Though if you enter in Hall 3 and see a letter shown for the voie, you can head directly up to your train.
Your train will arrive in one of two distinct parts of the station, either at voies (platforms/tracks) A – N or 5 – 23; but you won't know which part of the station you will encounter until the train pulls in.
You will be in the older part of the station, which has a glass canopied roof spanning the tracks.
These voies (platforms/tracks) A – N have steps and escalators located along them, which lead down into the Hall 3 at Gare De Lyon.
The quickest route to the RER trains and to Metro Line 14 is to make use of these stairs/escalators; so don’t keep walking head until you reach the main concourse if you'll be taking the RER..
The entrance to the RER station and Metro Line 14 is located at one end of Hall 3; follow the sloping floor down.
However, if you're connecting into Metro Line 1, DO walk ahead to the main concourse; the quickest direct route to Metro Line 1 is over to the right of the Hall 1 concourse, which is located at the far end voies (platforms/tracks) A – N.
So work out if you will be taking Line 1 before you arrive at the Gare De Lyon.
If your train arrives at voies/platforms/tracks 5 - 23, the only option is to walk ahead to the front of the train and exit on to the Hall 2 concourse.
For Metro Line 1 keep walking ahead of you across the concourse, into the large passage way, which leads to departure Hall 1 through the ticket hall; the entrance to the Line 1 station is at the end of this passage way.
Four Things Worth Knowing about travelling on to the city from Paris Lyon station:
(1) If you have heavy luggage etc avoid the Metro Line 1 if possible - most of its ticket barriers aren't compatible with large items AND the majority of access from and to trains at other stations on the line isn't step free.
(2) In contrast the newer Line 14 has easier access to/from the trains - including at Gare De Lyon where it is linked to Hall 3 by escalators.
(3) Check the signs and make sure you are using the correct ticket gate/barrier - which gives access to the line/train that you need to take.
(4) Before arriving at the Gare De Lyon, it can be worthwhile to check which metro/RER station gives the best access to your final destination in the city - and therefore which line you need to take.
Metro/RER maps at the station can be harder to find than you’d expect.
Also the routes within the station to Metro Lines 1 and 14 are very different - so the best option is to follow the specific signs to each of these lines.
If your final destination is in the areas around Chatelet or to the north of The Louvre, take Metro Line 14 - rather than Metro Line 1 or the RER.
It’s particularly useful if you will be heading to the areas around Pyramides or Madeleine stations.
The trains on Line 14 are less crowded and they're faster than those on Line 1.
This line 1 operates in a parallel direction to RER Line A, but makes stops in many more locations.
It is theoretically the best option if your final destination in the city is
If you're heading to the Gare du Nord from the Gare De Lyon by train, we have produced a step-by-step guide (see below).
The easiest option is to make the 10 min walk.
There are signs pointing the way to Austerlitz at the far left (with the trains behind you) of the Hall 1 concourse.
Outside the station building is a grim escalator leading down to street level.
Cross the River Seine on the Pont Austerlitz, when you have crossed the bridge the station is immediately ahead of you to the right.
Take Metro Line 14 (direction Madeleine) to Chatelet and change for Metro line 4 (direction Porte de Clignancourt)
Metro line 1 to Bastille (direction La Defense) and change for Metro Line 5 (direction Bobigny).
The entrance to Metro line 14 has comparatively easy access from Hall 2 (voies/platforms 5 - 23) descend down into Hall 3 and the entrance to line 14 will be at the far end.
There are also stairs and escalators down to this Hall 3 concourse located along voies/platforms A - N.
In contrast the Metro Line 1 entrance is on Hall 1 concourse at the far ends of voies/platforms A - N.
However, this is a particularly awkward journey so a taxi is highly recommended.
Take RER line D as per this step-by-step guide.
Take Metro Line 14 (direction Olympiades) to Bercy and change for Metro line 6 (direction Charles de Gaulle Etoile).
There are several options for making the awkward transfer from Gare De Lyon to Montparnasse, but this suggested routing has 3 advantages:
(1) Line 14 has step free access at Gare De Lyon;
(2) the interchange at Bercy is comparatively straightforward;
(3) Line 6 at Montparnasse is located closest to the exit from the Metro station.
Though in hot weather and/or if you have luggage, a taxi can be worth every cent.
Go direct on Metro Line 14.
If you have luggage, persevere and use the elevators at St Lazare - the only alternative to the multiple flights of stairs at that particular station.
The streets/rue to the west of Gare De Lyon are host to numerous 3* hotels - so finding a room that suits near the station shouldn’t be a problem, if you don’t want luxury.
The area around Gare De Lyon makes a good base for exploring the city thanks to its public transport links.
It’s not the chicest part of Paris, but it’s not the shabbiest either and the numerous bistros and restaurants in the area are comparatively inexpensive.
Hotels within 5 min walk of Paris Gare De Lyon station:
There are no 5* hotels within a 5 minute walk of Paris Lyon station
(The Pullman Paris Centre Bercy hotel is further from Gare De Lyon than the location shown on Trivago)
Viator Gare De Lyon
My Open Paris Hotel
Money saving options with direct public transport links to/from Paris Gare De Lyon:
Le Homme (near Gare de Vincennes station on RER Line A)
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