2014 - The Orient Express Museum in Paris
The actual Orient Express antique train
is on display in Paris for a limited time. Below are some photos
that I took,
The map above shows with white lines the
routes of the Orient Express. The Orient Express then linked up with
the Taurus Express to continue down of Cairo, Egypt and other areas
in the Middle East as shown by the black colored lines.
Above is a sketch of what the train once
Above is a photo of the interior of one
of the Orient Express rail cars that is a currently open restaurant.
This is a reproduction of a photo of the current restaurant.
Below is quoted text off the internet about the dinning event.
Scroll down and then there are more photos about the train.
We did not have dinner there.
If you happen to be
strolling along the Seine near the tip of the Île Saint-Louis in
Paris this summer, you'll be startled by a strange soundtrack.
Wheels rumbling, a steam engine sighing. But wait, could that be
a train whistling?
And there, at the foot of the Institut du Monde Arabe (IMA),
you'll see it: the mythical Orient Express, resurrected from
storage and put on display as part of a museum exhibition called
"Once Upon a Time the Orient Express." The vintage railway
carriages are a throwback to the golden age of travel, when
passengers dressed to the nines for a slow journey across the
continent to Constantinople. First launched in 1883, the
long-distance luxury train stopped serving Istanbul in 1977,
then officially retired from service in 2007.
Judging by the curious crowds surging towards the locomotive,
snapping photos with their smart phones, the train's reputation
lives on to this day. This blockbuster event - staged by IMA in
partnership with SNCF (the French national rail company) - is
captivating visitors eager to catch a glimpse inside the
And for serious bragging rights, food lovers can reserve a table
at a pop-up restaurant inside the "Anatolie" dining car. This
isn't your typical train take-out. At the helm is Chef Yannick
Alléno, who pioneered the Terroir Parisien culinary concept
while orchestrating the Michelin three-star restaurant at Le
Meurice. Alléno champions the local growers and forgotten
culinary heritage of the Paris region at his two popular urban
bistros. For his latest venture, Alléno immersed himself in
Orient Express history, studying archives and original menus.
The resulting dishes are contemporary takes on the lavish feasts
of yesteryear. Changing every two weeks, his menu pays homage to
both the Orient and the Occident, and all the different
countries traversed en route. Think famous Bresse chicken in vin
jaune (France), parmesan soufflé (Italy) and a lokum-infused
dessert from the Bosphorus (Turkey).
"In designing the menu, I wanted to respect the old chefs,"
Alléno explains. "When you look at what they served, it's
stupefying. How could they make 40 soufflés on a moving train?
So I said, 'Ok, we are going to make a soufflé.' I wanted to
take the risk. They also prepared consommés [soup]. Imagine the
chef in front of a charcoal-fired stove letting the soup simmer
for hours! So I decided to build a menu around consommé [with
lobster shell and locally-grown peas]."
The food isn't the only showstopper. Carefully restored by
artisans, the heritage-listed dining car is paneled with inlaid
mahogany wood. Crimson curtains frame the windows, matching the
color of the plush carpet. There are just 14 tables, topped with
white cloths and vintage lamps. Above the leather chairs, ornate
brass luggage racks stow today's designer handbags.
Diners kick off the soirée with an aperitif in the bar car. Part
of the museum exhibit, the "Train Bleu" salon is kitted out with
relics: a pipe and glass of port, vintage copies of Agatha
Christie's mystery, a fur stole draped over a chair, a string of
pearls and a gold cigarette lighter. On the wall - decorated
with Lalique flower bouquets - a movie projection flashes Albert
Finney, Ingrid Bergman, Sean Connery and Lauren Bacall as Agatha
Christie's fictional characters. The mise-en-scène is so
perfect, you half-expect to see Detective Poirot investigating a
Murder on the Orient-Express.
"It's a privilege to cook in such a place, charged with history.
A legendary restaurant reopened to the public - everybody wants
to eat there!" says Alléno. Indeed the restaurant has been such
a hit that when reservations are open 15 days in advance, the
tables book up within hours.
Bien sûr, an experience like this commands sultan-high prices.
But it's a small price to pay for time travel - at least for a
few unforgettable hours.
Reservations by internet only. Open for dinner Tuesday-Saturday
nights until August 2014. Menu Anatolie priced at 120 euros per
person, with a mise en bouche, appetizer, main course and
dessert. The Menu Flèche d'Or, inclusive of an aperitif and
three paired wines, costs 160 euros per person. Luxury caterer
Potel & Chabot realizes the menus devised by Yannick Alléno.
Below is a tour of the train interior.