The Gare de l'Est was built as part of the great reconstruction of Paris by the Baron Haussmann. It was officially opened by Emperor Napoleon III in 1850. Initially known as the "Embarcadère de Strasbourg" (the Strasbourg Pier), the station had only one line serving the Alsatian city. Four years after it was inaugurated, a second line saw the light of day with as its destination Mulhouse. It was then that the station took its final name of Gare de l'Est (Eastern station). The Gare de l'Est has witnessed a number of historic moments with for example the departure of the first Orient Express for Constantinople. It was also from there that many soldiers left for the front in the First World War. Today, it is the oldest of the six large Parisian railway stations, but also the largest. It has 30 platforms, from where trains leave for all the major cities in the East of France, Germany, Switzerland and Luxembourg. In 2007, the Gare de l'Est got a complete facelift for the arrival of the Eastern European TGV.