There is a special dimension to long-distance train journeys. They invite you to discover varied landscapes in a calm atmosphere and in pleasant comfort. So when it comes to a route signed Venice Simplon-OrientExpress, a Belmond Europe train, the journey becomes epic and remains etched in the memory forever.
We can easily imagine ourselves in the captivating atmosphere of the Roaring Twenties, men in tuxedos, women in evening dresses, a glass of champagne in one hand, a long cigarette holder in the other, while an American jazz band plays the joyful notes. We expect to meet Great Gatsby, Scotus and Zelda Fitzgeraldor in a less glamorous but also endearing version, the famous Hercule Poirot. A fantasy? Rather, a beautiful reality by boarding one of the 17 blue and gold cars that cross Europe more than 30 weeks a year. The characters have changed, not the habits. Especially not!
The sleeping cars built between 1926 and 1931 seem to have come out of those years without a wrinkle, at least true to all the images we’ve seen in the movies that have magnified the moment. Purchased back in 1977 and painstakingly restored for the train’s relaunch in 1982, their authenticity is undeniable, from the ornate original marquetry. by the Art Deco master René Prou to the etched glass panels of Rene Lalique. However, modernism insinuates itself discreetly, for example in the toilets, which have been restored identically and still offer hot water produced by small wood-burning stoves.
The train includes the original sleeping cars from the 1920s and 1930s plus four stylish day cars, including the shop corner. By wandering through the 18 carriages (450 meters!), you can better understand the excellence that reigns in every place, every thing. So we pass in front of simple cabins, but can we talk about simplicity in front of so much elegance, to reach the three new suites, which are added to the first three in a permanent amazement, to finally find the sumptuous interior of the three dining cars (The Oriental, North Star and Côte d’Azur). Leader John Imbert, who is decidedly omnipresent on the international gastronomic scene, gets down to business with us. He has also redesigned the atmosphere and visual identity on board to reflect his vision, while staying true to the charm of the golden age of travel that they represent, in collaboration with very talented interior designers. . Thus, the new mood lighting with its warm subdued glow illuminates the tables dressed in crisp white tablecloths and the glittering silver cutlery, while the specially decorated French porcelain service and the exclusive menus illustrate the history and the palette of characteristic colors of each car. The chef’s new concept is found in all the menus and all the onboard experiences: during breakfast served directly in the cabin; for lunch; during afternoon tea; for an aperitif, with refined canapés offered in bar car 3674, an unavoidable meeting place on the train; or around a tasty dinner. It is clear that the evening dress for this dinner is an integral part of the glamorous atmosphere of this train like no other. Delicious specialties are also served in the cabin, day and night.
Climbing aboard, greeted by staff dressed like they were in their 20s, in sparkling blue suits, is a first step towards the happiness of slow travel. You will be directed to your cabin where a cold glass of champagne awaits you before starting this multi-faceted journey. Time flies fast, but not the kilometers, because we are on board for almost 20 hours to connect Rome with Paris. It has quickly become dinner and everyone is busy dressing up in their best clothes. Formal tuxedos for the men, evening gowns for the ladies. A trip to the famous bar car, where there is a jazzy atmosphere with a pianist tickling the keys of a beautiful grand piano, to taste an Aperol spritz to remember the country where we boarded. Then comes the table service. Chef Jean Imbert comes to greet us, a unique opportunity to congratulate him on the feat of preparing excellent dishes in a small kitchen. Finally comes the time to “get the mood”, with musicians equipped with brass instruments from another era, or rather from the era that we are supposed to relive. Dancing in a camera of a few square meters, and at the same time compensating for the many brakes that characterize the night, is an unprecedented activity that deserves to be practiced at least once in a lifetime. The night will be long, depending on the cocktails and the intoxicating smells of the brake rubber of the day, but it will be for the better to enjoy his suite, which your purser has prepared in night mode. The breakfast that will be served there in the morning will mark the end of our aptly named slow journey of which we will retain an indelible memory.
Today, it remains one of the most popular travel experiences in the world, and even more so when romance and glamor collide. All that remains is to choose your destination, especially with the launch of new exclusive routes. We can thus leave one night ago Venice to participate London Where Parisin one direction or the other, side Florence to Paristhereafter Paris on Genevaor of Brussels towards amsterdam ; you can wish for four lovely days and as many nights to be with you Vienna or Budapest from Venice or from the latter join Paris Where London. The great tour of Europein seven days and as many nights with stopovers in dream cities and enchanted breaks in the most beautiful palaces are made for you. Departure from London or Paris, reach Venice, then Vienna or Budapest and back. Don’t forget to send us postcards!
<< Læs også: AccorHotels og SNCF vil sætte den mytiske orientekspress tilbage på sporet >>>