When travelling on business, our normal routine is often interrupted. As a result, we either have a tendency to over indulge or miss meals. One way of catching up on sensible nourishment and avoiding over eating upon arrival is to have a light bite during business ‘down’ times, which business related journeys often equate to. However, this can be problematic when passing through train stations, such as the Gare du Nord, where options are rather restricted.
When travelling from Paris on the Eurostar recently, I was struck by, what appeared to be at first glance, a real lack of readily available, healthy food choices. Gare du Nord has about 190 million passengers passing through each year and being in the world renowned capital of cuisine, I had expected the station to be lined with delectable eateries. Sadly, this was not the case.
On the trip, I was sat amongst French delegates who were travelling to London for a 5 day convention. As I sat there, eating my purchase of Eurostar canteen chicken tikka and rice, one of the French delegates pulled out a packet of steamed potatoes to share. Popular in France, vacuum packed potatoes are delicious cold and perfect served as a convenient finger food to share amongst companions on the same journey. I admired their initiative, and wished I had thought of the same solution to snacking on the return journey.
This reminded me that not only is simplicity a fundamental approach for great tasting food, as the French often demonstrate, but it is also a central component of eating healthily. I have to admit when I walked around Gare du Nord, I struggled to find a variety of items to choose from which fitted this approach.
So I’ve gone in search of some simple innovative choices you could purchase when hurrying to catch the Eurostar to London. Each suggestion is equipped with places that you can grab items just prior to boarding.
In the Gare du Nord Train Station;
- Filled baguettes are plentiful in Gare du Nord train station. In fact you will be hard pressed not to find them at any of the bakeries/cafes on the train station frontage. They are freshly made and fillings generally include tomato & mozzarella, chicken & salad, ham & Emmental cheese, and tomato & mayonnaise.
- A prepared salad. If it comes to a push, you can always purchase a prepared salad from Malongo cafe. Malongo cafe is located on the main terminal platform directly opposite the Eurostar arrival platform and also in the Eurostar waiting lounge. Salads include ham & mozzarella, chicken & tabbouleh, egg & potato, and egg, olive & ham.
- Typical French delicacies, such as cheese, gherkins, olives, tapenade and mini toasts can also be purchased on the fly, at the store just past the security. Aelia Gourmet sells a wonderful collection of cheese, although generally a high fat content, they could be a healthier snack than cake and chocolate items available in the Eurostar canteen. When combined with other items (mini toasts, gherkins, tapenade and olives) there will be a reduction in proportional fat content and possibly lower in total fat if you use the other items for filling up. What’s more, you can take the remaining cheese and accompaniments home for a snack another time.
If you have a little more time, then you will find even fresher options in a couple of locations near the Gare du Nord train station. These include;
- Monop supermarket on the corner of Rue de Maubeuge and Rue de Dunkerque, just left of the station’s entrance, has a wide selection of salads, breads, cold meats, smoked salmon, houmous, sushi and fruit. Just to name a few. I spotted a couple of business executives here when I was checking it out, and they had a train to catch within the hour. It looked as if they were regulars to stocking up before boarding, so they knew exactly where to come.
- Fresh market produce. Just south, only a few blocks from the Gare de l’Est and Gare du Nord is Le Marche Covert Saint-Quentin. This popular market attracts both locals and commuters who need fresh provisions. If you have a spare 20 minutes or so prior to checking in and just passing by, then this is a good place to purchase fresh snacking items or even a light meal. Here you will find a variety of ethnic eateries (Lebanese, African, Brazillian), along with fresh fruit, bread, cheese and meat stalls as well as a popular cafe for a quick bite.
On my last trip I stopped at Le Charicuterie du Marche at Saint-Quentins, where I purchased a slice of spinach and goats cheese quiche and three freshly made salads; potato and sausage with mustard dressing, cous cous with peppers and olives, and beetroot with onions and chives. All items were deliciously fresh and proved to be a great alternative to the usual options available at the Paris Gare du Nord train station or Eurostar fare.
- A seafood takeaway. Directly opposite the Gare du Nord main entrance is the Terminus Nord restaurant. It is highly commended by some reviewers for having both excellent food and service. Best of all they propose the option of a take-away. So if you don’t have time for their express menu, then you may be able to request a takeaway of fresh seafood. A quick visit to their website www.terminusnord.com will provide you with the option to email an enquiry/order in advance. Please do check it out in advance, as sometimes the staff might not be aware it is an option.
I will be going back to test out some more options in the near future. In the meantime, do let me know how you get on with these suggestions and any additional suggestions you would like to share with us. Simply use the comment box below.
© Extravitality 2014