Early Paleogene greenhouse climate culminated during the early Eocene Climatic Optimum (EECO, 50 to 53 Ma). This episode of global warmth is subsequently followed by an almost 20 million year-long cooling trend leading to the Eocene-Oligocene glaciation of Antarctica. Here we present the first detailed planktic and benthic foraminiferal isotope single site record (delta C-13, delta O-18) of late Paleocene to middle Eocene age from the North Atlantic (Deep Sea Drilling Project Site 401, Bay of Biscay). Good core recovery in combination with well preserved foraminifera makes this site suitable for correlations and comparison with previously published long-term records from the Pacific Ocean (e.g. Allison Guyot, Shatsky Rise), the Southern Ocean (Maud Rise) and the equatorial Atlantic (Demerara Rise). Whereas our North Atlantic benthic foraminiferal delta O-18 and delta C-13 data agree with the global trend showing the long-term shift toward heavier delta O-18 values, we only observe minor surface water delta O-18 changes during the middle Eocene (if at all) in planktic foraminiferal data. Apparently, the surface North Atlantic did not cool substantially during the middle Eocene. Thus, the North Atlantic appears to have had a different surface ocean cooling history during the middle Eocene than the southern hemisphere, whereas cooler deep-water masses were comparatively well mixed. Our results are in agreement with previously published findings from Tanzania, which also support the idea of a muted post-EECO surface-water cooling outside the southern high-latitudes. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.