Train Bleu restaurant sign
 

The Train Bleu restaurant at Paris Gare de Lyon, ideal for lunch between a Eurostar from London and a TGV to Nice, Milan, Zurich or Barcelona.  Book a table online at www.le-train-bleu.com.

If you've time for lunch or dinner in Paris...

Journeys from London to the South of France, Italy, Spain or Switzerland often mean a morning Eurostar to Paris to catch an onward afternoon TGV.  Consider booking an earlier Eurostar and having lunch at the celebrated Train Bleu restaurant inside the Gare de Lyon, on the main concourse in Hall 1.  Originally the Gare de Lyon's grand buffet, it opened in 1900 and is decorated in a sumptuous art nouveau style which it retains to this day, see www.le-train-bleu.com.  Anyone who's anyone has eaten here, from Salvador Dali to Brigitte Bardot.  It makes your journey special!

The two set menus cost around €56 or €68 including a half bottle of wine, the food is excellent and the surroundings perhaps the most spectacular in which you'll ever eat a meal, truly an experience in itself.  You can book a table online at www.le-train-bleu.com, although you'll often find a table free if you just turn up.

Don't worry about your luggage.  The restaurant has a large secure cloakroom, your luggage will be taken by the hostess at the entrance and you'll be given a numbered luggage tag.  If you can't manage the steps from the concourse with luggage, there's a small lift in a passageway accessed from the station forecourt, it just takes a bit of hunting to find it.  As you stand on the concourse looking at the steps up to the Train Bleu restaurant, the lift is through a passageway at the right-hand end of the restaurant.

Catching an overnight train from the Gare d'Austerlitz?  The Train Bleu is also a good place for a late dinner before strolling over the Seine to the Gare d'Austerlitz for a couchette train to the South of France, French Alps or the Spanish border.

The Man in Seat 61 says:  "This place is special, and beautifully, authentically, typically French.  I ordered a Rum Baba for dessert, expecting a feeble confection of the sort served in most British restaurants.  A bottle of exotic Martinique rum materialised on my table.  The waiter reappeared, carrying a generous sausage-shaped sponge roll.  Whipping out a long knife, he deftly slashed the Mark of Zorro into the sponge, and with a flamboyant gesture emptied half the bottle of Martinique rum over the top.  One deliciously dangerous Rum Baba later, I somehow still managed to stagger onto my train to Nice. The Train Bleu reopened in September 2014 after a full refurbishment, the photos below are post-refurb.  I'm glad to say that the place has lost nothing of its character...".

...Or just use the Big Ben Bar as your VIP Departure Lounge!

A leather armchair in the Train Bleu's tranquil Big Ben Bar section is far better than a draughty cafe table downstairs on the concourse - it's not the cheapest coffee or beer in the world, but it has bags of character so consider it as your VIP departure lounge for your onward trip by train.

Train Bleu restaurant exterior, Paris Gare de Lyon Hall 1  

The entrance to the Train Bleu restaurant, up the steps from the main Hall 1 concourse at the Gare de Lyon.  There's a lift to the right & round the side.

 

A dining room at Versailles?  No, the Train Bleu restaurant for lunch before taking the train to the South of France, Italy, Switzerland or Spain...

Ceiling at the Train Bleu restaurant

The ceiling and walls are decorated with paintings of the cities served by the PLM - the Chemin de Fer Paris-Lyon-Mediterranée.  You'll spot the company's initials PLM in various places.

Painting of Marseille  

Beats a burger a Luton airport, any day...

 

A typical starter from the set lunch menu...

 

A main course from the set menu...

 

Rum baba.  Watch out for that Martinique rum!

The Big Ben bar areaThe Gare de Lyon's VIP lounge!

If you can't stretch to a meal, at least have a coffee or a beer in the Big Ben Bar.  Walk into the main entrance and turn left for the bar area.  Make sure you gaze at those ceilings first!  It's not the cheapest coffee or beer in the world, but consider it as the Gare de Lyon's VIP departure lounge, a great & atmospheric place to wait for your train.  These photos show the bar area after its summer 2014 refurbishment, below left shows the bar's main corridor, below right one of the areas off the main corridor.

Big Ben bar - main corridor   Big Ben bar - side room lounge

...or at the Gare du Nord, try the Brasserie Terminus Nord...

If you'd like a decent meal near the Gare du Nord rather than the Gare de Lyon, try the typically French Brasserie Terminus Nord (www.terminusnord.com), just across the road from  the front of the Gare du Nord.  It's good quality French cuisine in classic Parisian brasserie surroundings, and so handy for Eurostar.  Main dishes cost around €18-€20.


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