Barcelona França railway station (Catalan: Estaçió de França) was built in 1926 in preparation for the Barcelona International Exhibition which took place in 1929.
The Noucentista style station was designed by Pedro Muguruza and Andreu Muntaner as the main terminus for trains arriving from France.
Nowadays, the station has largely been superseded by Barcelona Sants and La Sagrera train stations and mostly serves middle distance and regional trains to cities in Catalonia as well as a few long-distance trains from other parts of Spain.
Trains from France last arrived at Estació de França in 2013 when the overnight train from Paris was replaced by the new, faster TGV service.
A model railway collector’s fair takes place in the station’s restaurant every Sunday morning, with stalls selling vintage and second-hand model trains and wagons.
History of Barcelona França Railway Station
The first train line in Spain was inaugurated in 1848, connecting Barcelona with the nearby town of Mataró. A small station (Estació de Mataró) was built between the Barceloneta neighbourhood and the Gothic Quarter. The line was later extended to Arenys de Mar and finally Maçanet-Maçanes.
In 1850 a second line was built from Barcelona to Granollers, followed in 1851 by a third line connecting Barcelona to Molins de Reí.
By the 1860s lines had reached as far as Lleida, Zaragoza, Madrid, and France and a second station had been built.
When Ildefons Cerdà drew up plans for the Eixample, he envisaged that the train lines would come together in a large terminus near to the port in the area that would be cleared once the large 18th-century citadel had been demolished.
In 1870, Barcelona Council authorised the construction of a new station next to what was to become the Parc de la Ciutadella, still in the planning stages at the time. The only proviso being that it should be a monumental building that reflected the importance of the city.
Finally, in 1922, plans were approved for a new station with 12 platforms covered by two large arched canopies made of iron and glass. The new station, called Barcelona Término, would replace the existing stations Barcelona-Mataró and Barcelona-Granollers. [source]
Barcelona Término was completed in 1929 and inaugurated by King Alfonso XIII in time for the Barcelona International Exhibition.
The station is made up of two, equally impressive, architectural elements:
- A U-shaped Noucentista style station building which houses an elegant marble-clad lobby, restaurant, and panelled ticket windows
- The Art Nouveau style, cast iron and glass canopy with two arches that shelter the station’s platforms and tracks.
During the 1980s Barcelona underwent a major transformation in preparation for the 1992 Olympic Games.
The waterfront was smartened up, the run-down industrial buildings which occupied the area were torn down and the railway lines which ran along the coast were diverted through underground tunnels.
The recovered land was used to build the Olympic Village, a wide seafront promenade, hotels, and a smart new marina. At the same time, much of the train traffic was re-routed to the new Barcelona Sants railway station which opened in 1979.
The newly downgraded Barcelona França station was given a facelift and had its name officially changed from Barcelona Término to Barcelona Estació de França. The name that was colloquially used by Barcelonians ever since the station was first opened.
Daily from 04:45 until midnight.
The station is located on the edge of the Gothic Quarter, between the Parc de la Ciutadella and the Barceloneta.
Address: Av. Marqués de l’Argentera (web)
How to get to Barcelona Estació de França railway station
The following regional train lines terminate at França train station: R2, R13, R14, R15 and R16 plus Alvia, Euromed and Talgo long-distance trains.
The nearest metro station is Barceloneta on the L4 (yellow line)
Buses numbers 47, 59, H14, D20, V13 and V19 all stop outside the station.