Gare du Nord train station - need advice

I need transportation from the Regina hotel in Paris(across the street from Louvre Museum)to the Gare du Nord train station for the Eurostar to London. I read many reviews claiming the Gare du Nord is dangerous and the employees won't help tourists. So, 2 questions: Is the station really that scary? And, please recommend the best transportation to get to the station for 3 adult females. One review said the Eurostar Lounge is the worst and most crowded he has encountered so not to wait in there for the train. Really? Thank you for your advice and help.

Posted by Norma
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
3405 posts

Where the heck are you getting your information? Dismiss this stuff from your mind! First of all, for 3 people with luggage, take a taxi to the Gare. Ask your hotel to get you one. Secondly, the Gare du Nord is perfectly fine. Get out of the taxi, walk in and follow the signs for the Eurostar. If you want to board the Eurostar you have no option but to wait for your boarding time in the lounge. I have taken the Eurostar about 6 times and have never encountered huge crowds in the lounge. There can only be as many people as there will be passengers on your train. It is really quite a pleasant experience so stop stressing about it. And do stop listening to people who know not of what they speak!

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
7820 posts

What sort of help do three adult women need?? Get out of taxi. Walk inside. Look up for sign that will direct you to Eurostar( its upstairs). Go upstairs. The station is not scary,, you've been talking to some prissy scary pants.. The employees have always helped me, when I get in the LINE at the information booths and they are quite helpful.. many but not all speak English. Please be sure to say "bonjour madame or bonjour monsieur " before you ask anyone for anything, help or directions, not to do so is seen as rude and demanding.. The Eurostar Station is upstairs so you are hardly in the bowels of the station .. which is large and can be confusing if you have to go downstairs. Relax. Do not pack too much stuff as there are no porters rushing to help you.. I think there may be push carts inside for a fee, but I am not sure as I just pull my own bags.. so did my children.. The only issue you will have to deal with is not letting strangers approach you and say they will help you with your bags.. they will have their hand out for euros.. say NO or better yet completely ignore them and get inside and upstairs. Do not leave one bag unattended for one second.. there are pickpockets about looking for frightened and distracted looking people. You don't have to be those people. You are not going to a war zone.. you don't have to be "scared" millions of people travel through Gare Du Nord every week/ month.. Keep calm, keep your stuff to you and go upstairs. Easy. Easiest if you don't look a bit silly with like 20 pieces of luggage with you..

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
7971 posts

I took a couple of runts through there twice last winter. They didn't stay exactly beside me. Nobody swiped them.

Posted by Cheryl
Usa
8 posts

Norma and Pat, thanks for setting my mind at ease about it not being dangerous. Those dire reviews can be found on Tripadvisor and there are many, which is why I was getting concerned. By asking for your "help" I didn't mean physical help like a porter. I should have said "advice." A few of the reviewers said they felt "lost" and "confused" at Gare du Nord, so, I thought it would be a good idea to prepare in advance, learn a little about the layout of the inside of the building, but, if as you say, the signs are easy enough to follow, that's great! Oh, and by the way, we three ladies travel with NO luggage, so that shoots down the stereotype quite nicely! lol. As suggested by Rick, we travel with only one backpack each (carry on size) and a hidden money belt. So, no chance of us "looking silly" with too much luggage. I had to laugh at that one. Thank you again for your advice.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
7820 posts

Cheryl,, have to admit I did buy into a sterotype( that people who could afford the Regina weren't likely the type to travel light.. ) you have so shown me up! But that's great news you will have little problem,, those reviews about Gare Du Nord being a bit confusing are probably based on two things.. first off some people are overwhelmed easily in large stations, they may have never been on a subway or underground , and secondly.. they are not referring to just going to Eurostar ,, which is the only station upstairs and very easy to find ,, unlike perhaps someone who is arriving on an RER and transferring to a metro line,, a bit more complicated then just walking in door and looking up.. Have a great trip..

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
2687 posts

Hi, You're going from the hotel to Gare du Nord to catch the EuroStar? It's the station I know most about. It's the area I stay in. Gare de l'Est would be second. Gare du Nord is very crowded but so is Gare de Lyon, even more so. No worries about Nord. Just be alert and don't let anyone interupt you. Anyone saying that Nord is scary and "dangerous" (real bunk here) does not know how to travel. Once you enter Nord, look for the stairs (easy to notice) up to the EuroStar area, you've left Gare du Nord behind. Be sure to fill out that card for Border Control. Your Passport will be stamped twice, exiting and entering.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8742 posts

and check in at least 30 minutes ahead. Not in the queue 30 minutes ahead, already checked in 30 minutes ahead - or you don't go. It is strictly enforced. The queues can be long, so please get there ahead. Not scary - just prepared.

Posted by Tim
Wyckoff, NJ, USA
668 posts

The only thing I could say against Gare du Nord is for arrival not departure as in the OP: It can be so crowded that there is a very long line to buy Metro tickets-either by machine or human. As a result, you need to consider buying a single ticket from a tout working the line -- which is a little scary, but you're only talking about a Euro or two in the unlikely event that their Metro ticket doesn't work!

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8742 posts

The tout working the line is breaking the law. The tout working the line usually is selling used and worthless tickets and no better than a beggar - worse, because after giving them your money and failing to access the barrier you either get really upset and draw the attention of the authorities that you are trying to use an illegal ticket or you frustratedly get back in the line to buy another, losing all that time, cool, and the money; and come home complaining of those %^&$ Parisiens.

Posted by Swan
Napa, CA
2858 posts

I was through there a few months ago. When I first entered the waiting area there were passengers for two trains and the area was crowded. In a few minutes the first crowd departed on their train and the crowding wasn't bad after that. Just pay attention to monitors and signs to get on the right train through the correct gate. It isn't complicated. Mostly you just follow a crowd to the train platform and then walk to your train car.

Posted by Tim
Wyckoff, NJ, USA
668 posts

Nigel, I guess we were lucky. We got two tickets for only about 0.5 Euros extra each, and saved probably half an hour in a hot line. (It's hard to remember, but we may have walked with luggage between Gard du Nord and Gare de L'Est, but the Metro crowding was just as bad at the second station!)

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
7820 posts

Tim, you were lucky,, often touts sell child tickets to adults.. or just plain worthless ones and you wouldn't likely know until stopped by a metro inspector and forced to pay an on the spot fine ( it does happen) . there is not metro machine line long enough for me to use a tout..

Posted by Bets
Bloomington
1965 posts

How about the guy at Gare du Nord who sold a ticket to a woman telling her it was good for ten entries. She posted the scam a few months ago.