The legendary Orient Express returns

The glamor of the Orient Express, that luxurious and iconic train that became the stuff of myth and legend thanks to, among other things, Agatha Christie’s novel and subsequent film versions, including Kenneth Brannagh’s most recent, returns to its former glory. .

Nostalgically remembered as the most elegant and expensive way to travel across Europe in times gone by, the Orient Express will take passengers to relive the legendary journey.

Again, a luxury travel show

The new version of the train, scheduled to start operating in 2025, is owned by the Orient Express brand, which in turn belongs to the French hospitality group Accor, and will operate 17 carefully restored original carriages that were discovered in Poland in 2015.

The Orient Express began its journey from Paris to Istanbul in 1883, and its opulence and comfort radically changed the concept of luxury travel. The train derailed in 1977.

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The mythical train has “a complex history,” according to Travel and Leisure. “The first Orient Express route was inaugurated in 1883, connecting Paris to Istanbul (then Constantinople) by trains and ferries. Since then, a number of operators have used the Orient Express name, traveling on a variety of routes across Europe.”

The end of the world’s most famous train

The itineraries of the world’s most famous train included, according to Vanity Fair France, first connections between Paris and Vienna, then Venice and Istanbul. After that, he made his way from Budapest to Bucharest via Belgrade, Amsterdam, Cologne, Sofia, Central Europe. “For a while, it was even possible to reach Baghdad, Jerusalem and Tehran by train thanks to its sister company, Taurus Express.”

Despite attempts at modernization in the 1950s, the difficulties of traveling in a Europe cut in two by the Iron Curtain, the administrative problems of crossing from one country to another, the slowness of trains compared to the evolution of air travel, put an end to the Orient Express at Gare de Lyon in Paris in 1977 after a failed attempt to relaunch the Paris-Istanbul and Paris-Athens lines.


The revival of the legendary train is in the hands of French architect Maxime d’Angeac, who is renovating and updating the carriages, dating from the 1920s and 1930s, to their original luxury.

The dining car will have a classic art deco look “with mirrored ceilings, marquetry panels and decorative motifs that nod to the tapestries of 20th-century illustrator Suzanne Lalique.” Travel and leisure explain.

“The rugs are a bit more contemporary – still in a vintage brown and jewel color palette, they play with quirky geometry, from the square panels and perspective-shifting circular mirrors that adorn the walls to the abstract comet pattern on the rug.”

The main piece is the presidential suite, which has an entire car of 592 square meters. Retaining many of the restored original features, it has a private entrance and interiors decorated with Lalique panels and custom furniture.

The opulent suite has a spacious bedroom, a bathroom, a gas fireplace, a living room, a secondary sleeping car and an office, all dedicated to “pleasure, escape and reflection”, according to a statement published by Accor.

The Orient Express, being manufactured near Grenoble and in northern France, will accommodate around 60 passengers in its 17 cars. It will have one departure per week from Gare de l’Est in Paris, and for journeys of a minimum of two nights.

Other initiatives of the Accor group will be part of the Orient Express project, including two hotels in Rome and Venice that will open in 2024 and a third in Saudi Arabia.

Ahead of its official relaunch, the Orient Express makes a virtual appearance through an immersive exhibition at Design Miami in Miami Beach from November 30th to December 4th.

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