Gare du Nord 5 hours to spare

Old Aug 29th, 2008, 04:36 AM
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Gare du Nord 5 hours to spare

Hi
We will be arriving at gare du nord coming back from our holidays in the south of france. We will arrive at gare du nord around 10am and our eurostar is not till 3pm. We have decided against using the left luggage (Just in case any goes wrong). So I was wondering if anyone could advise us what to do for around 5 hours around or near the station bearing in mind we have a trolley case each.
Many Thanks
paulg1 is offline  
Old Aug 29th, 2008, 05:38 AM
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Go across the street and have a big bowl of moules frites at one of the restaurants that face the Gare. Sit on the sidewalk area and people watch. We always go over there for moules when in Paris. La Maison Blanche is a nice place.
Gretchen is offline  
Old Aug 29th, 2008, 05:44 AM
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If you feel like going farther afield, take a taxi over to Musee Jacquemart-Andre located at 158 blvd. Haussman. It's a beautiful house/museum with a very nice café. If time allowed you could walk a few blocks north to Parc Monceau and if you did not eat at the museum you could pick up food along the way and eat it sitting on a bench people watching in the park. You could head back to gare du nord either by public transit or another taxi.

Knowing that you will have your suitcases, you should probably check to make sure that the museum would be able to check your bags.
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Old Aug 29th, 2008, 06:00 AM
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It's the luggage that's the clincher, since you won't want to be lugging it around the Metro, or any museum or destination buildings (even if they were allow you to, which most won't).

The area immediately around the station is no more attractive than around any major railway terminal in any city.

So your choice is bus or taxi. You don't say how many people there are, which could make a difference. For the bus you will need to buy tickets in advance, but I think there are machines downstairs at the Gare du Nord, rather than having to queue at the Metro ticket counter. If the weather's nice, and if the bus isn't too crowded for your numbers and luggage, you could go up to the bus station beside the regional/local train lines to take the 48 (direction porte des Lilas) to the Mairie du 19e for the Parc des Buttes Chaumont, or the 46 (direction Vincennes) just a couple of stops to the Ecluses St Martin, to have a sit beside the Canal and a breath of air. There'd be plenty of places along the Canal to have some lunch. You could also take the 26 (direction Nation) from the front of the Gare du Nord to Jaurès-Stalingrad for the Bassin de la Villette, at the top of the Canal, but you might find that a bit less interesting, though there are places to eat in the area.

http://www.ratp.info/orienter/cv/cartebus.php

You don't have 5 hours, but at most 4h 30, by the way.
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Old Aug 29th, 2008, 06:01 AM
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I seem to recall a sign at the Jacquemart-André saying they didn't have room for luggage, but it would be worth calling to check.
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Old Aug 29th, 2008, 06:10 AM
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What can go wrong with left luggage?
Allow plenty of time to get your luggage back, but why be lunbered with carrying luggage around? I've left luggage at the Paris stations many times, and never had a problem.
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Old Aug 29th, 2008, 10:36 AM
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I can see if you'd really rather not have anything go wrong, you wouldn't check bags. There is some slight problem (I suppose) of it getting lost? That can happen in some luggage rooms or coat check places, or they give it away to someone else because it looks similar. But I do think there isn't much risk of that.

I think with luggage, I'd just stick with hanging out in the area, although that isn't very interesting for so long, actually. For a couple hours, it would be fine, but five hours is very long.

YOu don't say how big your trolley case is, but if you were going to go to a museum, I'd go to a bigger one than the Jacquemart Andre, as the bigger ones have more services, more to see, and are more likely to accept your bags in their checked coats/bags place (vestiare). I checked and the Orsay would allow you to check a small suitcase, for example (their limit is 40x60x60 cm which is big enough for a 22-24" trolley case). I suspect the other big museums would, also, like the Louvre.

For ease, however, you could just go by RER to Notre Dame as it is on the same line -- hanging out there and people watching would be more fun than around Gare du Nord, that's for sure. And at least there you have Notre Dame to look at (and someone could watch our bags if you were at an outdoor cafe, while one of you went and browsed the bookinistes on the quay, for example). There are some fairly open cafes with terraces where you could sit with a small trolley case next to you -- there are a couple right at the corner of quai de Montebello and bd St Jacques that I like well enough (not the ones right on the sidewalk closer to the RER station, but east a block or two).

The Pompidou center has smaller size limits on checked bags than the Orsay, they an only be up to 50x40x25 cm, which would be like a 19" trolley bag.
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Old Aug 30th, 2008, 10:41 PM
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The lockers at Gare du Nord are next to the car rental counters.
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Old Aug 31st, 2008, 10:08 AM
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And I assume they are like most French railway stations, lockers that you put your luggage into yourself, with a code that you enter to reclaim them. I wouldn't thnk there's much problem. When we fly from Toulouse we usually take the train down, leave our bags in the locker and go off for a nice lunch before heading out to the airport. No problem. Much easier than lugging them around with you.
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Old Aug 31st, 2008, 10:51 AM
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The only problem with the lockers this summer at Gare du Nord has been the quite long security lines in which people must stand for the x-ray screening before they reach the lockers.
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