The Gare de Lyon in Paris is one of the most beautiful train stations in the world, with its imposing clock tower and stunning Art Deco architecture. It is also the departure point for one of the most iconic and luxurious trains in history: the Blue Train. This famous train, which operated from 1922 to 2008, was the epitome of luxury travel and was once the preferred mode of transportation for Europe’s elite. In this article, we will take a journey through history and luxury as we explore the Blue Train at the Gare de Lyon.
History of the Blue Train
The Blue Train, or “Le Train Bleu” in French, was inaugurated in 1922 as a luxury train service that ran between Calais and the French Riviera. The train was operated by the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits, which was also responsible for the Orient Express. The Train was designed to cater to the wealthy and the aristocracy, offering a level of luxury and comfort that was unparalleled at the time. The train was named after its striking blue livery, which was inspired by the Côte d’Azur’s blue skies and the Mediterranean sea.
The Experience of Traveling on the Blue Train
Traveling on the Train was an experience unlike any other. Passengers were treated like royalty from the moment they stepped on board, with a level of service that was second to none. The train was fitted with luxurious cabins, each with its own private bathroom and an attendant on hand to attend to passengers’ every need. The dining car was equally impressive, with elegant table settings and gourmet meals served on silver platters. There was even a grand piano in the bar car, where passengers could enjoy live music and cocktails.
The Art Deco Design of the Train
The train’s design was just as impressive as its service. The train’s Art Deco style was typical of the period and was characterized by sleek lines, geometric shapes, and bold colors. The interior of the train was adorned with beautiful wood paneling, plush fabrics, and intricate detailing. The train’s design was a reflection of the glamour and sophistication of the 1920s and ’30s.
The Blue Train’s Famous Passengers
Over the years, the Blue Train attracted many famous and influential passengers. Among them were Coco Chanel, Pablo Picasso, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. The train was also used by politicians, diplomats, and royalty, who appreciated the privacy and exclusivity that the train offered.
The Decline of the Blue Train
The train’s popularity declined after World War II, as air travel became more affordable and accessible. The train continued to operate, but it was no longer the preferred mode of travel for the elite. In 1977, the Blue Train was sold to the French National Railways, and it was eventually retired in 2008.
The Legacy of the Blue Train
Although the train is no longer in operation, its legacy lives on. The train remains an iconic symbol of luxury and glamour, and its design continues to inspire designers and architects today. The Train also paved the way for modern luxury train travel, with many companies now offering similar services. The train’s influence can also be seen in popular culture, with many films and novels featuring the Blue Train as a backdrop.
The Gare de Lyon Today
Today, the Gare de Lyon remains one of the busiest train stations in Paris, with millions of passengers passing through its halls each year. While the Blue Train is no longer in operation, the station still retains much of its original Art Deco charm. Visitors can admire the station’s stunning clock tower, explore its elegant waiting rooms, and enjoy a meal in one of its many restaurants.
The Future of Luxury Train Travel
While the train may no longer be in operation, luxury train travel continues to be popular among travelers who want to experience the glamour and elegance of a bygone era. Many companies now offer luxury train journeys that take passengers through some of the world’s most beautiful landscapes, while also providing a level of comfort and service that is reminiscent of the Blue Train.
The Blue Train at the Gare de Lyon was a true masterpiece of luxury and elegance. From its Art Deco design to its impeccable service, the train was a symbol of sophistication and glamour. Although the train is no longer in operation, its legacy lives on and continues to inspire designers, architects, and travelers alike. If you ever find yourself in Paris, be sure to visit the Gare de Lyon and experience the station’s rich history and stunning architecture for yourself.
The Blue Train was in operation from 1922 to 2008.
The Blue Train ran between Calais and the French Riviera.
Coco Chanel, Pablo Picasso, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor were among the famous passengers on the Blue Train.
The Blue Train’s design was characterized by Art Deco style, featuring sleek lines, geometric shapes, and bold colors.
Yes, luxury train travel continues to be popular among travelers who want to experience the glamour and elegance of a bygone era.