This is our review of the Eurostar Business Premier lounge at Gare du Nord in Paris.
It’s been a couple of years since we last looked at this lounge so I thought it was worth covering it again after a trip last week. I’m not re-reviewing the London lounge as Rhys reviewed it here, although I should note that the upstairs part now has new carpet and new seating.
One of the lesser known benefits of American Express Platinum is that you and your supplementary Platinum cardholder get free access to all Eurostar lounges. You can’t pay for access and you can’t use Priority Pass or any other lounge card so this is a genuine benefit.
The ‘sweet spot’ with Eurostar ticketing is Standard Premier. This gets you the same business class seat as Business Premier, and you still get a meal, albeit a more basic one. The only real loss (apart from the use of business class check-in) is lounge access. If you have American Express Platinum and can use the lounges then you are getting 90% of the Eurostar Business Premier experience for half the money.
The new Eurostar lounge in Paris opened in 2017. We wrote a very enthusiastic piece after the opening party which involved us being whisked to Paris for the day and then wined and dined by Raymond Blanc. My visits since then have been a little underwhelming due to overcrowding and the lack of food on offer, but it was very pleasant last week.
Getting to the Eurostar lounge at Paris Gare du Nord
If you haven’t take Eurostar since 2016, the old lounge disappeared entirely in the rebuilding of Gare du Nord. A brand new facility was built, accessed via a lift or set of stairs which you will find directly after the security area.
If you find yourself turning right and passing the shops, you have gone the wrong way.
There is a small reception desk outside the lounge, together with two large magazine racks. The selection is always upmarket, with (British) Vogue, GQ and Wallpaper amongst the titles available. The Guardian, The Times, The New York Times and Financial Times were available.
If you are getting in with Amex Platinum, you simply need to show your card at the door. No guests are allowed although you may be allowed to bring in children at quiet times – I have. Your card is not swiped (they don’t have a card machine) but the expiry date is checked.
Business Platinum cards are NOT allowed. Personal Platinum cards issued outside the UK, France, Belgium and (I think) the Netherlands will also be refused.
Inside the Paris Eurostar lounge
The lounge used to be offices in its previous life. The space has character and what appears to be a lot of original architectural features, although it is not as evocative as St Pancras.
Unlike St Pancras, the Paris lounge is all on one level. It is substantially brighter than its London sibling, being higher up with bigger windows and less obstruction outside.
Whilst the lounge is effectively one long shoe-box shaped space, it feels completely different because of the way it is partitioned off into separate areas.
This is the seating area nearest the entrance:
…. and the same view but taken from further back – you’ll see there is a hot desking area in the centre:
Here’s an example of some of the retained features:
In the next room is the cocktail bar:
For what I think is the first time I ever, I had a drink there. This is an ‘Angelique’, one of two cocktails created exclusively for Eurostar by Raymond Blanc and using Blanc’s own Toujours 21 gin:
The comments below suggest that the cocktail bar is closed at weekends, unfortunately.
There is also a small but smart seating area behind the cocktail bar:
On the side of the lounge overlooking the station concourse, Eurostar has created a number of small nooks like this:
…. or if you want more comfort:
Food and drink in the Paris Eurostar lounge
The food selection is, frankly, pathetic. This is the entire food selection available to you around 4pm:
There is no shortage of drinks available, whether you want wine, soft drinks or coffee:
Don’t be fooled by the lack of people here. I arrived just after the previous train had boarded and with no other service due for an hour. The lounge filled up rapidly about 10 minutes after I’d taken these photographs.
With very few other facilities available once you have gone through security – there is a fraction of what is available at St Pancras, which is a far bigger space – the lounge is a welcome respite.
Over my last couple of visits I have come to realise that I preferred the old lounge. Spread over two levels, it had more space and it was easier to find a quiet corner. The new space looks good in photos and, with a bit of investment in decent snacks, it could be improved although there will always be pressure on seats.
If you use Eurostar on a regular basis, but not enough to get a Carte Blanche card to get automatic lounge access, it is worth looking at Amex Platinum to guarantee lounge access on every trip. There is currently a ludicrous sign-up bonus of 100,000 Membership Rewards points which would convert into 6,666 Club Eurostar points. Our Amex Platinum review is here and you can apply here.
PS. Club Eurostar transfers from Amex are currently suspended due to IT issues but I am told they should return in the next few days
How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (February 2024)
Here are the four options to get FREE airport lounge access via a UK credit card.
The Platinum Card from American Express comes with two free Priority Pass cards, one for you and one for a supplementary cardholder. Each card admits two so a family of four gets in free. You get access to all 1,300 lounges in the Priority Pass network – search it here.
If you have a small business, consider American Express Business Platinum instead.
Additional lounge visits are charged at £24. You get four more free visits for every year you keep the card.
There is no annual fee for Amex Gold in Year 1 and you get a 20,000 points sign-up bonus. Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.
HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard gets you get a free Priority Pass card, allowing you access to the Priority Pass network. Guests are charged at £24 although it may be cheaper to pay £60 for a supplementary credit card for your partner.
The card has a fee of £195 and there are strict financial requirements to become a HSBC Premier customer. Full details are in my HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard review.
PS. You can find all of HfP’s UK airport lounge reviews – and we’ve been to most of them – indexed here.