The Lyon Saint-Exupéry TGV station was designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava Valls in the mid-1990s.

It is one of the most original and photogenic buildings in the Lyon area and is almost a must for any photographer who loves architecture.

The main entrance of the station being exposed to the west, I decided to go there for the first time at the end of the day, at the time when the sun rays illuminate its two wings and when a low-angled light penetrates more deeply inside the structure.

Calatrava’s “winged” organic architecture

The architect, sculptor and ceramist designed the Lyon Saint-Exupéry train station 20 years before Oculus, the World Trade Center Transportation Hub in New York.
The two architecturally spectacular stations look very similar on the outside and appear as giant sculptures evoking bird wings.

The Lyon Saint-Exupéry TGV station on the north side

Inside, the complex structure of the building is revealed: it is composed of metal beams and reinforced concrete bones topped by roofs mixing steel and glass.

Walkway of the TGV station of Lyon Saint-Exupéry, France

The interior of the station evokes a kind of rib cage and one enters this concrete skeleton with a particular sensation.
Each traveler finds himself “digested” in this immense carcass before being symbolically extracted by (the back) train…

TGV leaving Saint-Exupéry station

A deserted concrete cathedral

Cathedral station of Calatrava deserted

In 2020, at the time of my visit, after a month and a half of confinement due to Covid, we were used to seeing our cities and their public buildings deserted.

Gantries in the hall of the Saint-Exupery TGV station

During the deconfinement period, and while waiting for the airport to reopen, the station was all the more empty as it has always been a simple stop on the ParisMarseille TGV route.
Since its creation, the Lyon Saint-Exupéry station has been little used and has no rail connections!

A bird in the Saint-Exupéry station

The empty shell, open to the four winds, has become over time a refuge for many birds, who pay homage to its protective and familiar avian dinosaur architecture.

Lyon Saint-Exupéry station platforms

The bird station

Saint-Exupery TGV station on the west side

As a bird of good omen, I land on the statue of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry to photograph the hand extended towards the entrance of the station, as if to welcome imaginary travelers.
d’Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Exterior of the Saint-Exupéry station on the north side

The station unfolds in an almost rural context, despite its proximity to Lyon Saint-Exupéry airport and the surrounding parking lots.

Flight bird over the TGV station

Paradise for birds and hell for aircraft, a range of more than 50 species have been identified on the site of which 33 are protected!

Draw me a sheep

« Le petit Prince » – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Statue of Saint-Exupéry in front of the Saint-Exupéry TGV station in Lyon
Bronze statue of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

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