Paris Gare du Nord - a brief station guide (2024)

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The station for London, Brussels, Amsterdam & Cologne

The Gare du Nord is the busiest station in Europe, in fact the busiest station in the world outside Japan - although they include all the RER suburban trains running underground to get that accolade. It handles trains heading north from Paris, to Lille, Calais, London, Brussels, Amsterdam & Cologne. First opened in 1846 by the Chemin de Fer du Nord, the original station building proved too small and was moved to Lille where you can still see it as the Gare de Lille Flandres. The current Gare du Nord was built between 1861 & 1864.See city map of Paris showing stations.

Paris Gare du Nord - a brief station guide (2)Station overview

Paris Gare du Nord - a brief station guide (3)Which platform for your train?

Paris Gare du Nord - a brief station guide (4)Luggage lockers

Paris Gare du Nord - a brief station guide (5)Ticket office

Paris Gare du Nord - a brief station guide (6)

Paris Gare du Nord - a brief station guide (7)Tips for using the Gare du Nord

Paris Gare du Nord - a brief station guide (8)

Paris Gare du Nord - a brief station guide (9)Somewhere to eat

Paris Gare du Nord - a brief station guide (10) Hotels near the Gare du Nord

Paris Gare du Nord - a brief station guide (11)

Paris Gare du Nord - a brief station guide (12)How to walk to the nearby Gare de l'Est

Paris Gare du Nord - a brief station guide (13)How to take the metro/RER or taxi to other Paris stations

Overview:Station plan Location map

The Gare du Nord is a terminus with easy, flat & level access between the taxi rank, concourse & all mainline platforms, making it painless to navigate with wheeled luggage. See a station plan here, you can find more plans & information about the station and its facilities atwww.garesetconnexions.sncf.

The station is marked up as 4 halls: Hall 1 is the main concourse served by platforms 1-19. Hall 2 is the balcony upstairs leading to the Eurostar check-in for trains to London. Hall 3 is the eastern side concourse served by platforms 20-21 & 30-36 used by TER & suburban trains. Hall 4 is downstairs on the eastern side of the station leading to the RER platforms. For trains to Lille, Brussels, Amsterdam, Cologne you want Hall 1. For London, Hall 2.

Paris Gare du Nord - a brief station guide (14)

The beautiful facade of Paris Gare du Nord, dating from 1861-64. The statues represent the European cities served by the Chemin de Fer du Nord, the largest central figure representing Paris.

Paris Gare du Nord - a brief station guide (15)

Eurostar platforms 3, 4 & 5. On arrival, the glass gates are opened and passengers walk off the platform onto the station concourse. Departing passengers for London must check in at the Eurostar terminal as explained here. That's the Eurostar departure lounge behind the row of first-floor windows, passengers access the trains from two footbridges, visible above the trains here. Platform 6 can also be secured for a Eurostar arrival or departure.

Paris Gare du Nord - a brief station guide (16)

Main concourse showing platforms 3-10, taken from the long balcony leading to the Eurostar check-in. Steps down to the metro & RER are in the foreground.Eurostars to/from London use platforms 3-6 on the left,Eurostar (formerly Thalys) to/from Brussels, Amsterdam & Cologne use platforms 9-15.

Paris Gare du Nord - a brief station guide (17)

When you walk off Eurostar, this is your view of the concourse. With my back towards the Eurostar platforms 3-6, you can see the escalators down to the metro/RER with the main exit from station to street behind it. Turn right for taxis & luggage lockers. At the rear of the concourse you can see the long first floor balcony leading to the Eurostar terminal for departing passengers to London, accessed up an escalator opposite platform 17..

Paris Gare du Nord - a brief station guide (18)

Walk off Eurostar & turn right for taxis & luggage lockers. This is the west side exit from the concourse to the taxi rank, and the escalator down to the left luggage lockers.Taxi information.

Which platform for your train?

Platforms are numbered 1 to 36 from left to right, with platform 1 on the west side, See station plan. Platform numbers are usually posted on departure screens 20-30 minutes before departure.

  • Platforms 1 & 2 are not in public use.

  • Platforms 3-6 are sealed off forEurostar trains to/from London. Passengers arriving from London walk straight off the end of the platform onto the concourse. Passengers departing for London must check in at the Eurostar terminal upstairs (marked as Hall 2) and access these platforms down travelators from the Eurostar terminal,see advice for Eurostar check-in.

  • Platforms 7 & 8 are typically used by.

  • Platforms 9-19 are used by TGVs & TERs bound for Lille and northern France.

  • Platforms 20-21 & 30-36 are used byTER and suburban trains.

  • Platforms 41-44 are RER (express metro) platforms located underground, including the RER D trains to the Gare de Lyon.

Tickets & reservations

  • The main ticket office windows open onto the main concourse, opposite platforms 3-6. The Eurostar ticket office is upstairs on the balcony, accessed up an escalator opposite platform 17.

  • There are plenty of SNCF ticket machines, these have a touch screen with English language facility.

Left luggage lockers

  • The luggage lockers are downstairs, down the escalators opposite platform 3 where Eurostar arrives.. Bags are X-rayed before you access the locker room and you have to pass through metal detector.

    Update 2024: Building work means the lockers are temporarily closed. Try the ones at the Gare de l'Est instead, or useRadicalstorage.com, which allows you to leave your bags at nearby locations. Online booking required.

Taxis & metro

  • Taxis: There's a well-organised taxi rank just outside the western side exit from the station. After walking off the Eurostar platforms, turn right and walk out of the station's west side exit near platform 3.

    There are usually staff helping allocate people to taxis. Even if the queue looks long, it moves fast and doesn't usually take more than 10 minutes to get into a taxi. But always use an official taxi from the rank, don't accept offers from any touts. As anywhere, make sure they turn the meter on.More info on Paris taxis.

    Update 2024: Building work means the taxi rank has been temporarily moved a few minutes walk from its usual location along a clearly-marked pathway, just follow the signs.

  • Metro & RER:See the Crossing Paris by metro page for metro advice.

Tips for using the Gare du Nord

  • Take a moment to wander onto the forecourt and see the beautiful station facade.

  • Time on your hands before your train? The Gare du Nord is a very busy place, if you have significant time before your train I'd get away from all the bustle and have a coffee, beer or even a meal in quieter surroundings at one of the brasseries suggested below.

  • First class lounges. The Eurostar business lounge is upstairs inside the Eurostar terminal, but only for passengers with the most expensive Business Premier tickets or EurostarCarte Blanche loyalty cards. There's an SNCF Grand Voyageur first class lounge but this is only for holders of SNCF's (or other Railteam members) frequent traveller loyalty card, which you probably don't have, so of no use for most visitors even if you have a first class ticket.

  • Eurostar terminal. The Eurostar terminal for departures to London is on the first floor. Although in fact located above & alongside platform 3, you have to go up the escalator opposite platform 17, then walk along the first floor balcony across half the width of the station to reach the terminal entrance..

  • For more detailed information on the station & its facilities see the official SNCF site www.gares-sncf.com.

Paris Gare du Nord - a brief station guide (19)Paris Gare du Nord - a brief station guide (20)

Left luggage lockers on lower level near platform 3. Follow signs for consignes. Bags are X-rayed at the entrance.

Monop minimarket next to the station exit opposite platform 8, a good place to stock up for the journey.

Food outlets & supermarkets

  • There are plenty of kiosks around the station selling drinks, snacks, baguettes. There's a small Monop minimarket next to the station exit opposite platform 8, see the photo below.

  • There's a larger minimarket at the bottom of the down escalator opposite platform 7, just before the M4 metro ticket office.

  • For a wider choice at high street prices not station prices, there's a Monop minimarket 2 minutes walk away: Walk out of the main station exit, immediately turn sharp right and walk along the front of the station and beyond to the big junction where the rue de Dunkerque meets the Boulevard Magenta.It's marked 'Monop' with a trolley symbol on this map.

Somewhere to eat

If your kids insist, there's a MacDonald's just across the road and to the right, in the rue Dunkerque. But you can do better than that, here are two great places that make lunch before or after your train an experience in itself...

Brasserie Terminus Nord

The Brasserie Terminus Nord (www.terminusnord.com) is directly across the road from the Gare du Nord's wonderful facade, and a traditional French brasserie where train travellers have dined in Art Deco and Art Nouveau environs since 1925. The Brasserie Terminus Nord is a favourite of mine when I'm passing through Paris by train, and so handy for the station. Oysters and seafood are a speciality.

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The Brasserie Terminus Nord across the road from the station, after its refurbishment in September 2021.

Paris Gare du Nord - a brief station guide (22)Paris Gare du Nord - a brief station guide (23)

Oysters are a speciality at the Terminus Nord.

Seafood choucroute at the Terminus Nord.

Cafe du Nord

The Cafe du Nord (cafedunord10.business.site), opposite the station to the left of the Terminus Nord has also been recommended though I have yet to try it myself.

Chez Casimir

My favourite restaurant, l'Ardoise Gourmande - where Master 61 discovered he loved escargot - sadly closed down in 2019, but the nearby Chez Casimir, 4 minutes walk from the Gare du Nord at 6, rue de Belzunce, gets good reports,see the Tripadvisor.co.uk Chez Casimir page,see walking map from Gare du Nord.Feedback appreciated.

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Hotels near the Gare du Nord

The 3-star25 Hours Terminus Nord is directly across the road from the station and gets great reviews - it's also had great feedback from seat61 users. Formerly the Mercure Terminus Nord, it's been refurbished in a decidedly funky style, a great choice for an overnight stop or longer stay.

Other hotels near the station with good reviews include theLibertel Gare du Nord Suede (5 minutes walk from Gare du Nord, 2-star),Art Hotel (3-star),Avalon Hotel (2-star) &Hotel Cambrai (5 minutes walk from Gare du Nord, 1-star).

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The 25 Hours Terminus Nord, directly across the road from the station. I stayed at this hotel when it was a Mercure in a room with a balcony facing the station. But I've yet to experience its funky new 25 Hours makeover. If you stay here let me know!

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Paris Gare du Nord - a brief station guide (2024)

FAQs

How early should I get to Paris Gare du Nord? ›

Please arrive at the station at least 20 minutes before your scheduled departure time. Then, just look for your train on the departure board and scan your ticket to reach the platform. When the train arrives, hop on and find your seat.

How long does it take to get through customs at Gare du Nord? ›

If you're departing on a Eurostar to London, you'll want to arrive with plenty of time to get through security. Arrive between 45 minutes and an hour prior to departure, especially if you're traveling in the summertime when months like August host tons of passengers.

What is the most beautiful train station in Paris? ›

Gare du Nord

Opened in 1864, this majestic Beaux Arts complex in Paris's 10th arrondissem*nt is one of the oldest rail stations in the world, still one of the busiest, and perhaps the most magnificent. Twenty-three female statues adorn its façade, each personifying a destination served by the rail line.

Is Gare du Nord the same as Paris Nord? ›

Same station. Same as saying London Heathrow vs Heathrow airport. Regular people will call it Gare du Nord. The train authority uses Paris Nord on tickets.

Do you really need to be 90 minutes early for Eurostar? ›

Do you really need to get there 90 minutes before your Eurostar train departs? Yes, you really do. Cutting it fine can work out, but there are sometimes multiple trains from St Pancras, so queues can build quickly. Also seating inside terminals is limited, so do yourself a favor and get there on time.

Is Gare du Nord easy to navigate? ›

The Gare du Nord is a terminus with easy, flat & level access between the taxi rank, concourse & all mainline platforms, making it painless to navigate with wheeled luggage. See a station plan here, you can find more plans & information about the station and its facilities at www. garesetconnexions.

Is there passport control at Gare du Nord? ›

Passport control

Your passport will be checked twice – first by French authorities and then by UK Border Force.

What happens if I miss my Eurostar train? ›

If you miss your Eurostar train:

At your connecting station, our team will get you on the next available Eurostar train for free.

How long do you need to be at Gare du Nord before Eurostar? ›

Paris Gare du Nord
Standard & Standard PremierAccessible travel
How long before departure should I arrive? (mins)90-12060
How long before departure does the gate close? (mins)3030

How early should I arrive at Paris train station? ›

Please ensure that you have enough time to go through all the extra passport and security checks before your train departs. We recommend arriving around 30 minutes before your train leaves. Don't cut it too fine, as it is no longer possible to board the train within five minutes of departure.

How early should I arrive for Eurostar Paris to Brussels? ›

Please make sure you arrive at least 20 minutes before your train's scheduled departure time.

How early do you need to be at train station for Eurostar? ›

How long does the Eurostar check-in take? The check-in procedure for Eurostar train journeys takes roughly 20 minutes from start to finish, and depending on the class you're travelling in, it's recommended that you arrive at least 90 minutes before your Eurostar train leaves.

How early should I arrive for the TGV train? ›

For your journey with TGV, INTERCITÉS and TER

To have plenty of time to find your car, your seat, to store your suitcases etc... we advise you to arrive 20 minutes before departure. Access to the train is guaranteed up to 2 minutes before departure, so avoid arriving at the very last minute!

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