I had never heard of Le Train Bleu, a station buffet at the Gare de Lyon in Paris. And I had lived several years in Paris. How easy it is to miss a spectacular treasure of that city of so many treasures. The restaurant was built for the Paris Grand Exhibition of 1900, and is a splendid, almost overwhelming example of “Belle Epoque” style.
The myriad of statues and paintings makes the buffet a museum in its own right. The paintings represent the scenes from the sites along the railway route from the Gare de Lyon. All the furnishings are of the same style, giving you the impression of stepping back into the days of elegant luxury travel of a bygone era.Even the solicitous waiter service seems to match that of the decor, the young girl who takes your coats, the man serving tea or coffee, together with cakes or sandwiches that could be reminiscent of the 1900s – fresh, though. If you go to Le Train Bleu, take your time, dally over a full-course meal, savour a Clos Vougeot, and talk with the waiters – they are very attentive – oh, yes, they do speak a variety of languages, but you’ll get on better in French.