This is the time of year when people really start traveling in France. The two week school vacation for Parisian children has just ended, and the May holidays are still to come. Train stations and airports have been busy with families going to the north and west coasts, and the south of France, or to other parts of Europe. In a month or two the school trips for springtime will begin. College students will be returning from abroad, being met at airports and railway stations. Then come the summer vacations.
This is the Gare du Nord, in Paris, the busiest train station in Europe, and in fact the busiest train station in the world, outside of Japan. It is one of six large train stations that serve Paris, connecting inter-city trains, suburban trains, and the Paris metro lines.
Claude Monet painted the Paris train stations. He painted a series of paintings of the Gare St-Lazare, at least one of which you can see in the Musee D’Orsay. He was interested in the changing light, the colors, the smoke and steam from the railway engines and early morning mist. Unlike the steam engines of Monet’s time, the high-speed trains in my drawing above produce no smoke. In this drawing of the Gare du Nord I focused on the line and structure of the station, in contrast to the movement of the crowds of people moving from place to place.