At the Hôtel du Nord, still the same old atmosphere

« Atmosphere, atmosphere… » One line, and Arletty made « Hôtel du Nord » a classic of french cinema, a movie that everyone know even if no one sees it anymore. The real hôtel du Nord still exist, in Paris, near Amélie Poulain's beloved canal Saint-Martin.

Blue ceramic tiles that form the letters "Hôtel du Nord' and catch the passerby eye. That's the first things you will see. the second thing will be, near the entrance, the information panel put ther by the city of Paris. Yes, this is the real Hôtel du Nord, the one that you can see in 1938 Marcel Carné's movie, the one with Arletty and Louis Jouvet. The movie was an adaptation of a book"L’Hôtel du Nord", by Eugène Dabit, painter and writer who crossed paths with André Gide and Louis-Ferdinand Céline. Son of the owners of the hotel, Eugène Dabit wrote the novel here, and it was a huge succes in 1931, succes that led to the Roman Populiste Price. Book and movie made the place a legend, in France and abroad.

Stables yeasterday, restaurant today

And movie fanatics stills visit the Hôtel du Nord, even if the movie was released 80 years ago. "Every day, people takes pictures", says Isabelle Seznec, who works there. "A lot of them come inside and ask questions. And we are happy to answer them."

If you have seen the movie, you will recognisze the front of the hôtel and the street. The inside as seen little change. It's still the same Années Folles touch, but adaptation were made. "The mezzanine was built where stables stoods. Horses where used to pull boats on the canal Saint-Martin! The bar is the original one,it juste moved from one side of the room to an other."

Curious eyes will nonetheless noticed somm odd discrepancies, like the steepy street. Why was it flat ont he movie? Because it was not actually shot there. Street, bridge, canal, floodgates... All of it was reproduced on a movie set.

Arletty superstar

"I would say that 40 % of our clientèle comes because of the movie. Or at least, 40 % is talking about it! And Arletty's "Atmosphère, atmosphère..." can be heard at least once a day here! Most of the people are cinema fanatics who wants to eat once in this famous place, who still has a very parisian soul."

Fans who can come for a meal or a drink, but not for a sleep: the Hôitel du Nord is not an Hotel anymore. "Rooms upstairs have been turned to flats."

Other movies

"Working here as something more", says Adriano Sappracone, the barman. "It's a legendary place, full of history. And other movies have been shot here since Hotel du Nord!" The 2013 comedy "It Boy" (20 ans d’écart) with Virginie Efira and Pierre Niney, for example. And several commercials who where looking for a "Paris in the thirties" vibe. A vibe that is still very present here, thanks to the posters of Bourvil or Lino Ventura hanging in the walls...

  • Hôtel du Nord,
  • 102, quai de Jemmapes, 75010 Paris
  • Bistrot et restaurant. Menus à 15,50€ et 19,50€.
  • www.hoteldunord.org

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