Station F, the world’s largest start-up campus, includes an Italian-themed 24/7 restaurant called La Felicità (which means happiness in Italian).
With five kitchens and a thousand indoor seats (plus another five hundred outdoor seats on the terrace), La Felicità claims to be the largest restaurant in Europe, which certainly seems plausible. This restaurant is open to the public, not only to the budding entrepreneurs of Station F.
There used to be five railroad tracks in this hall, where freight trains were unloaded and re-loaded for over ¾ of a century. Most of the tracks were removed when the building was renovated and re-purposed from 2013 to 2017, but two short sections of track and several old-timey passenger wagons were preserved. These wagons have been coupled together into two short trains, one of which is now a walk-through train where people can buy ice cream and other desserts.
Appropriately, the restaurant La Felicità is managed by a former start-up company, now well-established, namely the Big Mamma group, an innovative restaurant group founded in Paris in 2013 by two young French entrepreneurs, Tigrane Seydoux and Victor Lugger. Their company now has seven restaurants in Paris, and several more in other European cities.
(Tigrane Seydoux, born 1984, is a distant cousin of the actress Léa Seydoux, born six months later, but he claims he has never even met her. Both are members of the far-flung Seydoux Fornier de Clausonne family, one of the most prominent — and no doubt wealthiest — families in France.)
I think there must be some way to order and pay for your food and drink without a smartphone, but the default method is to whip out your phone (if for some reason you don’t have it in your hand already), access their app using one of the many QR-codes scattered around the restaurant, and then place your order with a few taps on the screen. After a short wait, they will send you a text message (SMS) telling you where to pick up your order. I have never done this, so I don’t know exactly how it works, but it seems quite similar to the method used at McDo and other international fast-food joints in Paris. I assume you have to register the first time you do this, so they will already have your bank account on file along with your permission to delete the amounts from your account.
My visit to La Felicità was in the morning, shortly after I had eaten breakfast at my hotel, so I didn’t attempt to eat or drink anything there.
Even the toilets at La Felicità were designed by a start-up company, in this case Trone, a young start-up that was or maybe still is enrolled in one of the support programs at Station F.
The entrance to the toilet area, as shown in my photo on the left, is identified only by two words in English, on the theory that these will be understood by everyone.
Apparently each toilet cubicle has its own unique design. My photo on the right shows one of them.
My photos and text in this post are from 2023.