Le Train Bleu
This wonderful bustling restaurant located within the Parisian train station; Gare de Lyon is nothing short of spectacular. Frescos, sculptures and banquette seating. Waiters marching by carrying trays laden with food, high above their shoulders.
Ascend the wide staircase located in the Main Hall Number One of Gare de Lyon train station.
Leaving the hustle & bustle of Gare de Lyon train station below.
Slip into the revolving doors and enter the majestic and vibrant atmosphere of Le Train Bleu.
Large international train stations can be exciting and hectic.
People rushing to catch their train, travellers laden with backpacks or suitcases, business people on mobile phones, checking their schedule.
They can also attract the homeless and pick-pockets observing the newly arrived. All in all it can be fascinating and overwhelming.
So why do I recommend that you eat at a train station unless you were famished and had but no other option to grab something quickly before your departure?
This is why ….
Let me impart a little history to whet your appetite…
THE UNIVERSAL EXPOSITION OF 1900 was a very exciting time for Paris. For seven months the people of Paris showed off their city to the world. It was at this same time that Pont Alexandre III, The Grand Palais, The Petit Palais and Le Gare de Lyon were just a few of the now famous and iconic structures built in time for that expo.
The restaurant initially called “Buffet de la Gare de Lyon” was renamed “Le Train Bleu” in 1963 after the famous train of the same name.
Le Train Bleu offered luxury travel for the well heeled from Calais all the way through to the French Riviera stopping along the way at such places as Paris, Dijon, Lyon.
Most, would change trains at Paris.
Le Train Bleu was a chic and convenient place to take a rest, have something to eat and perhaps catch up with friends.
Some of the well known diners included, Coco Channel, Brigitte Bardot and Salvador Dali.
Many movies have been filmed here and Agatha Christie penned the novel; The Mystery of the Blue Train.
THE MAJESTIC AND OPULENT INTERIOR, which recently underwent a major renovation and change of colour scheme from red to blue, sparkles with frescos decorating the ceilings and walls, polished parquetry flooring underfoot, sculptures adorning arches and doorways, banquette seating with brass trimmings, clocks, timber panelling, chandeliers and gold leaf is all, quite magnificent.
Laid out over an expansive space and divided up into a number of large adjoining dining rooms with a bar at its centre and a casual area further down the other end.
Whether you have a fixed menu or a la carte in the main dining room, a burger and french fries in the casual area or a glass of wine in the bar section, whatever you choose, it is worth the visit.
Sit back and relax under the tremendous chandeliers, take in your majestic surroundings and capture a small glimpse of what it would have been like to travel in the early 1900’s with all the charm of a bygone era.
The opulent surroundings and entire experience of busy waiters scurrying about with trays laden with food or as I had witnessed, a precariously fully packed giant tray of wine glasses is all simply fabulous.
The food is promptly but not too quickly served, in case the diner needs to rush to their departing train. Coats and suitcases if you have them will be whisked away into a cloakroom. All executed with speed and panache.
If you want to sit in the main dining room, the best deal is the fixed menu.
Mine consisted of an entrée of scrambled eggs with truffles and small toasts, roast lamb for the main and a giant profiterole to finish off.
However if you are looking for a cheaper option, the bar section serves the best toasted sandwiches I have ever had, washed down with a glass of rose I was equally satisfied.
If only to witness the pure theatrics of the place just have a drink with complimentary nibbles of nuts, garlic and olives. You may very well end up sitting in Le Train Bleu as I did, with a grin from ear to ear. Take a look at my short, albeit poorly shot video for a snippet of live action.
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You could combine your visit to Le Train Bleu with this nearby utterly charming street :
- Rue CrémieuxA tiny paved street, that oozes charm, lined with pretty colourful houses that will take your breath away, still one of Paris' best kept secrets.
Some More of My Favourite Food Options :
- Bastille MarketsThe Bastille Markets are everything you could hope for in a typical Parisian Market; vibrant, colourful, delicious and intoxicating.
- Marché d’AligreThis small ancient and charming undercover, neighbourhood market which is full of friendly vendors and a sumptuous array of food also has a small flea market outside.
- Petit Fer a ChevalThis charming, historic bar in the 4th arrondissement and the heart of the Marais, is my all time favourite. Great food, full of character and friendly staff.
- Clown BarTucked away in the high Marais you will find this sweet little belle époque zinc bar with painted glass ceilings, wall tiles depicting clowns frolicking around and good food.
- L’Hotel du NordLeaving Canal St Martin, and entering through red velvet drapes, you will discover a zinc bar, black and white flagged flooring and tiled murals on the walls.
- Ambassade d’AuvergneMashed potatoes whipped into a silken white purée, delivered to the table and spectacularly stretched, as high as the arm will go.
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