Big Ben Bar
An extravagantly beautiful backdrop, albeit one with an incongruous cast of average folk waiting for the 10.44 to Grenoble, this café/bar occupies the end of the historic Train Bleu restaurant. A long, carpeted, suitably train-like corridor leads from the main restaurant, with a room off to the side for waiting, people-watching and tucking into smoked salmon with dill Chantilly and blinis, Caesar salad or the ‘formule teatime’. They do a decent full English breakfast, as well as the Continental kind; brunch is offered on Sunday, though not during midsummer. You can eat till around 8pm; top-drawer teas and good if costly cocktails take you up to closing time. The faded grandeur of this elegant time-warp is a must if you’re travelling to or from the Gare de Lyon. The indistinct train noises and announcements make it very Brief Encounter, and the ladies’ loo is just something else.