Nothing brings the proximity of Paris to London into sharp focus quite like the Eurostar. In just over two hours, you can swap the Big Smoke for the City of Lights – ideal for a weekend break, or even a daycation if you’re feeling daring and indulgent. Olivia Emily checked in to the quirky Paris outpost of the 25hours Hotel brand, located mere steps from the Gare du Nord, the train station that the Eurostar pulls into. Having opened in January 2019, it is the ideal base for a city exploration.
25hours Hotel Paris Terminus Nord – Review
From the moment you step through the towering glass doors at the 25hours Hotel Terminus Nord – which reimagines a listed building with flair – the interest in quirky interior design becomes very clear. An urban oasis, the concrete floor, market-stall-style reception desk and gift shop, and fleet of bikes (available to hire, if you like) draw some of Paris’ hustle and bustle from the outside in, but the stylish rooms keep you comfortable and nicely tucked away from the flurry.
Choose from 237 rooms across a range of sizes, from the cosy-but-comfortable Small rooms to the expansive Extra Large Plus rooms. All are stylish and colourful, featuring quirky light fittings, ornaments, rain showers with sustainable STOP THE WATER WHILE USING ME! cosmetics, a free snack bar, and a sustainable Canvasco bag to borrow on city excursions. Though many rooms have large windows and delightful balconies – ideal for a morning coffee, with incredible views of the Gare du Nord, Montmartre and the Sacré Coeur – thick windows keep the noise of the city at bay, and hefty blackout curtains block out the morning light. Along with large, cocooning beds, you’re sure to have an incredible night’s sleep.
From the foyer to the rooms, there’s art on every wall – whether murals or in frames – as well as knick-knacks on all of the surfaces, colours everywhere, funky light fittings with industrial influences, and whimsical floor paintings that look like rugs. It’s eclectic yet precise, all inspired by Alex Toledano’s Portraits of the Gare du Nord (which you’ll find a copy of in your room), an art book brimming with photographs and stories of the Gare du Nord. Toledano is an academic who studies the role of visitors and residents in shaping community; in Portraits, he writes that ‘a station is also a terminus. It is an end unto itself and that is the theme I explore. The Gare du Nord, in capital letters – the sum of its surrounding streets and neighborhoods, which rely upon its trains to populate their streets and buildings – is a cosmopolitan, crucial part of Paris.’
Situated in the heart of the 10th arrondissement, the 25hours Hotel Terminus Nord pulls the area’s long association with multiculturalism through its doors, splashing it on every wall and filling rooms with references to and tidbits from Toledano’s book. The murals are inspired by specific characters – real people – that Toledano photographs and tells the story of in Portraits; if any catch your eye, a member of staff would be thrilled to tell you the story behind it.
Whether you’re an art lover or an urban explorer, landmark spotter or café lover, or perhaps you are visiting for a romantic getaway, there’s something for everyone in Paris – families included. From the 25hours Hotel Terminus Nord, much of Paris is walkable; a 40 minute stroll will easily get you to the Seine and its nearby attractions like the Cathédrale Notre-Dame, Sainte-Chapelle, Musée du Louvre, Jardin des Tuileries and the Place de la Concorde. On that walk, take in the scenery as you pass through the 9th, 2nd and 1st arrondissements – or hop on the nearby Metro for a quicker journey.
Closer to home, stroll through the streets of the 10th arrondissement, absorbing the culture Toledano and the 25hours team love so much. The 10th is home to two of Paris’ few covered markets, Marché St-Quentin and Marché Saint-Martin – visit for an exciting flurry of people, butchers, florists, fishmongers, shoemakers and even beer boutiques. Don’t miss a stroll down Canal Saint-Martin, which splits the arrondissement in half and is always flanked by readers, walkers and chatters. Make sure you also stop by the Sacré-Cœur for the best views in Paris.
The 25hours’ Paris hotel team insist that the best way to explore Paris is by bike. Hire a Schindelhauer bike direct from the hotel – it’s included in the price of larger rooms – with tour guides Siegfried, Ludwig, Viktor and Lotte on hand to guide you around the city. 25hours Hotel Terminus Nord also has a tour map of charming routes around the city, curated by bike professionals especially for the hotel. If you’re looking for something a little less strenuous, Bizebike is just around the corner with a fleet of chic electric bikes available to hire for the day, week, or month.
EAT & DRINK
Inspired by the elegant and flamboyant clothing of Paris’ sapeurs (particularly within the 10th arrondissement), head to the mood-lit, intimate Sape Bar, just up the stairs from the hotel reception, for a delicious, pre- or post-dinner cocktail. The dark wood floors, small lamps and sumptuously cosy velvet armchairs and stools create a speakeasy vibe, in subdued contrast with the continuation of colour pulled in from the hotel foyer; framed artwork fills the emerald green walls, in such a volume that it appears to overlap.
For dinner, you can’t miss NENI Paris – where a delicious breakfast banquet is also served from 7 until 10:30 AM every morning. Perhaps, by now, as expected, 25hours Hotel Terminus Nord rejects the tradition of Paris eateries – there’s no escargot, cheese or bread here, although you will find fresh croissants at breakfast. Instead, NENI – the Molcho family’s restaurant that appears in some of 25hours’ other city hotels, including Zurich and Cologne – embraces some of the city’s multicultural heritage with Televivian cuisine drawing on Persian, Arabic, French and Russian influences.
Amid plush, blushed-pink interiors and even more artwork on the walls, tuck in tapas-style (or ‘Balagan’ style, a Hebrew word evoking the congenial chaos of sharing plates). Scoop classic, curry mango, and beetroot hummus onto pitta bread, and don’t miss the falafel – chickpeas have never tasted better.
THE FINAL WORD
Though mere steps from the Gare du Nord, the 25hours Hotel Terminus Nord provides much more than a convenient stop-over. With whimsical interiors, the comfiest of beds, and delicious food and drinks to boot, this hotel will introduce you to a new side of Paris, one you’ll wish you’d met before.
Rooms from €184 per night, based on a Small room. 25hours-hotels.com
Featured Image: The exterior of 25hours Hotel Paris Terminus Nord.