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Estació de França

The Estació de França, Barcelona's grand station, is a showcase of good taste and monumental architecture. Despite its size and beauty, few trains run from the station today. As we approach the lobby and platforms we'll discover a building whose elegance has often been compared to the old Gare d'Orsay in Paris.

It stands on the site of the old Granollers station from where the first train from Barcelona to Mataró departed in 1848. It was the only station located inside the city walls and this made it necessary to make a hole in the sea wall and build a bridge over the pit that had been excavated. The distinctive curved layout of the tracks is the result of having to bypass the military fortress.

On 22nd February 1923, the eminent scientist Einstein arrived in Barcelona at the Estació de França, on a train from Toulon in France, after completing his famous tour of Japan. He sent a telegram from Singapore announcing his visit to the Catalan capital, without specifying the exact date and time of arrival. This is why nobody went to welcome him. However, when he left Barcelona on 1st March, he was accompanied by the German consul, Ulrich von Hassell, and the provisional mayor of Barcelona, Enric Maynés, among other eminent figures.

In 1926, Barcelona was undergoing sweeping transformations and preparing itself for the 1929 International Exhibition. One of the projects was the Estació de França, designed by the engineer Andreu Muntaner and the architect Pedro Muguruza. They both joined forces to provide all the elements necessary to create a modern and elegant station worthy of the first line connecting Barcelona and France. The Estació de França comprises two main sections: the train shed and the lobby. There is a curved glass and metal canopy over the 12 tracks and seven platforms, a fine example of wrought-iron architecture, filling the train shed with natural light and creating a spacious area.

In the Estació, the same is true of the noucentista-style lobby, designed by Duran Reynals, creating a spacious area ideal for all kinds of activities. An elegant clock keeps accurate time and there is also a model of the station. The lobby and buildings around the tracks were constructed from luxury materials, including marble and bronze, which give the station its characteristic ornate appearance.

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