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montparnasse

October 4, 2009

Meet Me At Montparnasse: I've always thought it would make a very romantic title for a novel. But having passed through the station four times in the past ten days, I can safely say that there is nothing at all romantic about this ugly, grey concrete bunker of a building.

It manages to assault all the senses simultaneously: the screech of TGVs pulling in and out of the station; the unwelcome contact with other people's wheelie cases as they cut across your path; the smell of fosse septique (the onboard toilets) wafting up from the tracks and the cloud of cigarette smoke from the huddle of smokers around each train door. Oh and if you're hungry, there are the overpriced, stodgy sandwiches from Paul to look forward to or the plastic wrapped on-board fare. (Why is the food at railway stations always so bad?)

It's unremittingly grey and bleak. (Even the discovery of the salle Pascale, the secret, much calmer salle d'attente on the first floor, accessed by lifts on each of the platforms, does little to improve the experience.) Many times I've wished that my train arrived at/departed from the Gare d'Austerliz or the Gare de Lyon. What's the solution? Other than not going to Paris or moving south - admittedly an extreme measure to avoid a railway station - I don't know.

comments (4)

1. Posted by Sidney on October 4, 2009 10:47 PM

Meet Me At Montparnasse -
i would meet you there any day.
No matter how dark and grey the place is.
It would shine with your radiance and for me, it would be a love story.


2. Posted by Patti on October 4, 2009 11:38 PM

I go through the Gare du Nord and Gare St Lazare to go back to my parents, can testify about the depressing effect of these two stations as first contact with 'la Belle France'!


3. Posted by Alex (in Bretagne) on October 6, 2009 12:37 PM

It's no use I've been trying to think of a redeeming feature, something to show my intimate knowledge of Paris, so I could say "But Mimi, what about....?" But nothing comes to mind. Montparnasse is what it is, a small vision of hell. From Mme Pipi's over-priced loos, she's far too busy taking the money to actually clean them, to the cracked pavement outside, it's all bad.

The only solution is private jet I think.


4. Posted by mimi pompom on October 6, 2009 12:53 PM

Alex

Private jets - the obvious solution!
you are clearly a woman after my own heart

Mimi x


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