Perhaps you already know by name and location this railway station, the second largest in Barcelona after Sants Trian Station and the starting station of long distance trains that go to France, and some regional trains that come from south and east of Catalonia. This station on Avenida Marques de l’Argentera was begun being built in 1926 and opened in 1929 for the Universal Exhibition of that year, replacing the station built in Granollers or “Barcelona Term” in 1854. If you live in Barcelona or you’re spending some time in the city for study, work or vacation, you surely have been more than once in front of the “Estación de Francia! and you have been impressed by its interior dimensions and its cinematographic appearance. From ShBarcelona we invite you to learn more about its history in this article.
Who design it?
The structure of the station was designed by the Basque Pedro Muguruza and the engineer Andreu Muntaner. The first was an architect and National Councillor and Solicitor in Spanish Cortes during two legislatures of Franco dictator, as well as author of the “Palacio de la Prensa de Madrid”. The station was carried out in collaboration with Raimon Duran i Reynals, but the platforms’ cover were designed by Pelagi Martinez, the same that participated, along with Duran, in the projection of the Palace of Graphic Arts and the author of the Archaeological Museum of Barcelona. The decoration of the station was created by Santiago Marco. It was Alfonso XIII who opened the station for the Exhibition of 1929, which filled Barcelona with new buildings and architectural projects and Barcelona arise as one of the most important Spanish capitals. This first train line would link Barcelona with France.
The station and the owls
The whole Estación de Francia consists of two parts: the naves, which are the twelve tracks and seven platforms, and also the metal and curved canopy of 29 meters high and 195 meters long, clear example of the architecture of iron, which gives light and space to what it covers; and the lobby, a Noucentiste-style space designed by Duran i Reynals, elegant and topped by a huge clock that shows the time for anyone so they don’t miss their train. The latter space is made with luxurious materials like marble and bronze, which gives the entrance of the station an old aspect that don’t have any other train station in Barcelona.
If you pass by the Estación de Francia, look at the statues of owls strategically placed in some exterior and interior points of the enclosure. They are there to scare pigeons so they don’t nest on the highest points of the station, but they are also small statues of great beauty.
Currently the station has regained much of its splendor of the past it is the starting point of many middle-distance trains that head south and west of Catalonia, also of the Trenhotel that goes to Paris and trains heading to Vilanova and Sant Vicenç de Calders.
Address: Avinguda Marquès de l’Argentera, s/n
Phone number: 902 320 320
How to get there: Metro: L4 Barceloneta.| Bus: 14, 17, 39, 45, 51, 64, D20 y H16.| Barcelona Bus Turístic: Parc de la Ciutadella-Zoo.
Open times: from 5am to 12am