It is very rare to walk into a café and feel immediately welcomed by both the decor and the staff. Situated on the Quai de Jemmapes by the Canal Saint Martin, the Hôtel du Nord is neighboured by trendy restaurants and endless fashion boutiques. The location, which is both beautiful and quintessentially ‘bobo’ (bohemian-bourgeoisie) is an exciting fusion of history and modernity; today the traditionally working class area has a distinctly chic and ‘happening’ reputation and represents a great social evolution.
The Hôtel du Nord itself is stepped in historical significance. Once a meeting place for workers on the canal in the late 1800s, the film, ‘Hôtel du Nord’ by Marcel Carné was set there and shot in the building itself, which was once a hotel.
It is no wonder that after such an impressive past, the café/restaurant has become so popular. The décor is appealing to contemporary tastes yet respects the importance of its past, creating a feeling of modern purpose and the warm, cosy allure of the traditional French café. Having only visited for coffee, the menu for lunch and evening meals is yet to be sampled, but the choice on offer is both extensive and original. Blackboards detailing the choice of food adorn the walls and included is a range of locally bought produce, with soup, fish and meats of the day.
The establishment is both a café and a restaurant and it really is a joy to combine the casual and relaxed coffee drinking atmosphere of the daytime with the ambience and formality of eating out. Prices are reasonable in consideration of the wonderful setting; expect to pay 2 Euros for an espresso and 25 Euros for a main course. After a stroll along the picturesque banks of the canal, finishing the afternoon or evening with meal or a drink at the Hôtel du Nord would be a real treat in an interesting corner of the city.
Café: Everyday 9:00 – 1.30
Restaurant: Everyday 12:00 – 15:00 and then 20:00 – 00:00
Address: 102, Quai de Jemmapes, 75010
Tel: 01 40 40 78 78
Metro: Jacques Bonsergent (Line 5), République (Lines 3, 5, 8, 9, 11)