Summer 2014 - The Orient Express Museum in Paris

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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 looked like.

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 original train.

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.


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