The legend of Terminus Nord
Everyone stops in here!
Under the high ceilings of Terminus Nord, it looks as if the clock has been turned back to the beginning of the 20th century. Just as if they were continuously crossing paths on the platforms of the neighbouring train station, the Art Déco and Art Nouveau influences are subtly interwoven in a cocktail of copper, mahogany and mirrors. Art Déco asserts itself in the immense dancing fresco, posters, chandeliers and wall lights which adorn the main dining room. Meanwhile, Art Nouveau dazzles the adventurous visitors who make their way to the small lounge at the rear of the restaurant, an unparalleled jewel of the Belle Epoque. And in a joyful cacophony of styles, the straight and articulated lines of one call out to the floral designs sown by the other in the mosaics and glass features.
While the warm atmosphere of this former train station bistro is likely attributable to the feverish excitement and relaxing calm of stopovers, its history is already the stuff of legend. Fleeing his home province after Germany annexed it as a consequence of the Treaty of Frankfurt, an Alsatian hung his hat here and bought the site from the Compagnie des Chemins de Fer du Nord. Perhaps seizing the opportunity to stay close to the departure terminal in anticipation of the right time to return, the exiled Alsatian turned the spot into a brasserie where travellers and regulars would soon flock to eat, drink, play billiards and dance to the sounds of the player piano.
As the years went by, the brasserie's charm earned the favour of artists, actors and fashion luminaries. Alain Bashung, Jacques Higelin and Bernard Lavilliers sang here about faraway lands; acting students at Le Cours Florent found it to be a fine outlet for their aspirations; Patrice Chéreau came here to celebrate the success of his first film shot at the neighbouring train station and European Parliament members returning from Brussels come by to hold court. Escaping momentarily from the nearby Lariboisière hospital, surgeons and doctors come to contemplate the human comedy that they must often put back on its tracks while financiers and businessmen flow in and out from the frenetic Paris and London markets to the rhythm of the Eurostar train schedule.
Many have celebrated the furious pace that drives the footwork of the waiters at Terminus Nord, who have plenty of experience after more than a century of rail departures. It is even said that they can size you up in a single glance and guess which train you have to catch. If our brasserie is so devoted to wishing you a pleasant trip, it is because we fully understand what your ultimate destination is.