It was a recommendation from a friend in London that brought us to Le Train Bleu at the Gare de Lyon in Paris. Having been to the Gare de Lyon many times before, we had no idea there was a restaurant of note there. Why hadn’t we ever heard of it before?
A Hidden Gem
The Gare de Lyon in Paris seems an unlikely place for the location of a rare dining experience, and from the outside, Le Train Bleu reveals little of its opulent and somewhat overwhelming interior. However, I defy anybody to walk inside for the first time and not be jaw-droppingly overawed.
An Opulent Experience
This is the Paris of La Belle Époque: a time that brought the world the Eiffel Tower and The Grand Palais, a time that popularised venues like the Moulin Rouge and the Folies Bergère, a time when subtlety and understatement were not on the menu. Dining here is like thrusting yourself into a time machine that whisks you back to the early 20th century. It wouldn’t have surprised me to see Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec dining at the next table.
The History of Le Train Bleu
Opened in 1901, Le Train Bleu was originally known as “La Buffet de la Gare de Lyon“. Its walls and ceilings, painted by prominent artists of the period, feature paintings that depicted the events of the time and the beautiful destinations accessible by the rail network. In 1963, the buffet became “Le Train Bleu” , in homage to a train which served the towns of the Côte d’Azur, along the Mediterranean.
The food and service were exceptional, if a little on the pricey side. But for a special occasion, it would be hard to beat this restaurant as a venue. For us, however, the food wasn’t the main attraction. It was the whole sumptuous experience of being there in that amazing dining room, soaking up the surroundings. Definitely an experience we’ll never forget.
If you’re a Mr Bean fan, you’ll enjoy this short video of his experience dining at Le Train Bleu!
For further details and bookings (recommended) here’s a link to the official website: Le Train Bleu