History of Le Train Bleu restaurant

The Gare de Lyon train station in Paris was part of the major town planning initiative put into action by the French President for the 1900 World Fair, which is also when other buildings were constructed such as the Grand Palais and the Petit Palais.

From the outside the Gare de Lyon train station in Paris is actually quite discreet compared to many of the buildings and monuments in Paris in a Belle Epoque style, although it is easily recognised by the impressive clock tower that is similar to Big Ben in London.
Le Train Bleu clock
And it was the Paris-Lyon-Mediterranean Company that had the restaurant constructed on the first floor for the Universal Exhibition in 1900, which was originally called the Buffet de la Gare de Lyon.

However, due to the impressive interior decoration, this restaurant in Paris was not actually inaugurated until the 7th April 1901 by French President Emile Loubet.

And it was only in 1963 that the buffet restaurant was renamed Le Train Bleu, which was as a tribute to the Paris-Vintimiglia service and the original luxury express train with its blue sleeping cars that would take aristocrats and wealthy Parisians down the Cote d’Azur.
It was then in 1972 that it was decided Le Train Bleu restaurant would became classified as an historical monument in Paris.

About the Interior of the Train Bleu

It was the Paris-Lyon-Mediterranean Company, known as the PLM network that had the Train Bleu restaurant produced as an exquisite and opulent restaurant with elegance and the feelings of richness with its waxed parquet flooring, the wood panelling and the leather upholstered seats.

The large rooms have many different sculptures and everywhere you can see the gilt effects along with original coat stands and much more that make you feel like you are stepping back in time in a luxurious setting.
Le Train Bleu gilded walls
Le Train Bleu restaurant painting
However, it is the paintings on the walls and ceilings that have made this restaurant in Paris so well renowned with the most famous ones representing landscapes within areas that the PLM network of trains would travel through.

In fact there are a total of 41 paintings that were produced to depict the rail network sites along with different places and portraits such as one of the famous French actress Sarah Bernhardt, not forgetting that the network company originated from the Alps, so there is a beautiful mountain painting of Mont Blanc which was painted by the artist Eugene Burnand.

There are three ceiling paintings in the main dining room by different artists and one named Paris was produced by the artist Francois Flameng who also decorated the Opera Comique Opera House.  Yet on the end wall of the main dining room there is a fabulous painting by the artist Albert Maignan that depicts the Theatre d’Orange.
Le Train Bleu gilded plate
Other paintings include those named Villefranche and Monaco that were produced by the artist Frederic Montenard who was also the founder of the National Fine Art Society, a painting on the ceiling of the Gold Room by Henri Gervex and two within the Gilded room including one of Marseille by Olive.

The enchanting compositions with the elegance and prestige of the Train Bleu restaurant in Paris have delighted many thousands of people throughout the years, and after major restoration from the damage caused by the old steam engines along with the years of deterioration, these paintings and the rest of this historical monument in Paris have been restored back to their former glory.

This means that for many years to come visitors can follow in the footsteps of famous names such as Coco Chanel, Salvador Dali, Brigitte Bardot and others with a fine dining experience in a unique setting and will be an experience you will never forget whilst on holiday in Paris.