One of the easiest – and most stress-free – ways of travelling to and from Paris is on the Eurostar. And now there’s yet another reason to hop on a train to the French capital: the opening of Eurostar’s new Business Premiere lounge at Paris’s Gare du Nord station.
I recently had the pleasure of spending a long weekend in Paris and was invited to take a peek at this swish new space, just after it opened in February 2017.
Located on the top floor of the original 19th century building, the lounge – accessible to passengers travelling in Business Premier and Carte Blanche club members with sufficient qualifying miles – was designed by London architects Softroom. They have masterminded everything from the interiors of Virgin Atlantic Upper Class to the design of Yotel New York, Manhattan, and here their idea was to create the feel a lavish Parisian apartment, a luxurious home from home in which to relax before travelling.
To me, it felt more like a plush private members’ club, with its double-height corniced ceilings, marble fireplaces, cocktail lounge and dining area. I soon made myself at home in one of the soft seating areas, soaking up the abundance of natural daylight streaming through the huge windows.
The main living-room style space in which to relax
ALL THE SMALL THINGS
I could quite happily have curled up there, perusing the complimentary magazines, until the final call for my train. But keen not to miss out on all the little luxuries on offer, I took a wander to the gorgeous circular black and gold sunken bar. Here, you can sample cuisine from Michelin Star chef and Eurostar culinary director Raymond Blanc, the menu offering a tempting array of canape-style British/French fusion dishes. There’s also a bespoke tea blend – the world’s first Manuka-smoked Earl Grey tea, made in Cornwall by Tregothnan teas – which has been designed exclusively for the lounge.
The stylish circular sunken bar
Sadly, I only had time for a few snacks, so headed for the buffet area and piled a plate full of pastries, fruit and olives, to keep me going, before sampling a cocktail at the sunken bar. The menu has been designed jointly by Raymond Blanc and cool bar chain The London Cocktail Club. (I highly recommend the Angélique, made with Toujours 21 gin, which was specially-designed by Blanc for the 21st birthday of Eurostar. It was AMAZING.)
A VISUAL TREAT
The contemporary French artworks hanging in the lounge have each been selected in partnership with London haunt The Hospital Club and are for sale, should you wish to take home the ultimate French souvenir. But with prices from 7,000 euros, I decided to pass on last-minute retail therapy!
Of course, if you’re here simply to get your head down and work (and all credit to you if you manage it, with so many distractions), a series of alcoves with plush seating provide more secluded quarters for meetings, while plug sockets, Wi-Fi and wireless chargers all make business travel stress free.
Overall, this is a chic, stylish and peaceful hideaway, and the perfect place to while away an hour. Unlike other lounges, it feels less like a stopgap – in fact, I’d actually factor more time into my journey just to spend a little longer in this beautiful and exclusive lounge.
Eurostar’s lounges are accessible to passengers travelling in Business Premier and Carte Blanche club members with sufficient qualifying miles. Eurostar operates up to 19 daily services from London St Pancras International to Paris Gare Du Nord with one-way Business Premier fares costing £245; one-way economy fares cost from £29 (eurostar.com; 03432 186 186).
Author: Kirsty Nutkins
Kirsty is an experienced journalist and travel writer, currently working on a national newspaper supplement as Features and Travel Editor. She is the founder of TravelLuxe.co.uk.