Orient-Express: the route and price of the most legendary train in Europe

Observe the landscapes slowly passing by. Feel the magic of stopping time. Relax in a luxurious and comfortable cabin. Who has never dreamed of experiencing, at least once in their life, a railway epic aboard the legendary Orient-Express?

The timeless elegance of the Nostalgie-Istanbul-Orient-Express train, seen from the outside.© Maxime d’Angeac & Martin Darzacq

Nearly one hundred and fifty years after its inauguration, this iconic train returns with a design inspired by the 1920s, redesigned by interior designer Maxime d’Angeac. “For this legendary train whose name evokes only dreams and fantasies, it was not a question of making a copy and paste of the original Orient-Express, but rather of recreating the atmosphere of an exceptional train which would convey the same spirit, 21st century version », explains the architect. Embark on history as you explore the rich past of this legendary train… Why not even plan a trip on board?

Where does the fame of this legendary train come from?

It all starts with heartbreak. In 1867, Georges Nagelmackers, a young Belgian engineer, went into exile in the United States to escape a romantic disappointment. There, he discovered the world’s first sleeping cars. Inspired by his stay, he returned to Europe and founded the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits in 1872. His ambition? Integrating beds into trains to offer its wealthy clientele the comfort of a hotel.

The carpeted corridor of the Orient-Express.© Maxime d’Angeac & Martin Darzacq

A luxurious suite on the OrientExpress.

A luxurious suite on the Orient-Express.© Maxime d’Angeac & Martin Darzacq

In October 1883, the first journey of the Orient-Express – thus baptized by journalists – was inaugurated. He leaves Paris-Est station to reach Constantinople. For the first time, the famous train will allow its travelers to cross Europe without connections. In one trip, the geography is turned upside down; the notion of travel is redefined.

The daring Georges Nagelmackers does not stop there. In 1894, he launched the Compagnie Internationale des Grands Hôtels, opening sumptuous palaces along the Orient Express route to extend the luxury experience. In the 1920s, decorators René Prou ​​and René Lalique brought an Art Deco touch to the salon cars. Agatha Christie then published “The Crime on the Orient Express” (1934), a detective novel that fueled the imagination of travelers. However, these innovations are not enough. The rise of aviation and the arrival of high-speed trains marked the decline of the Orient Express, too slow to keep pace with the revolution that was underway. On May 20, 1977, the train sadly made its last journey between Paris and Istanbul. The legendary wagons are put up for auction, converted into museum objects or renovated trains. An era is ending.

The sophisticated restaurant by Maxime d'Angeac.

The sophisticated restaurant by Maxime d’Angeac.© Maxime d’Angeac & Martin Darzacq

The bar with its warm green hues is a place of conviviality.

The bar with warm green hues, a place of conviviality.© Maxime d’Angeac & Martin Darzacq

Today, the Orient-Express is reborn. “By slipping into the shoes of its creators, from René Prou ​​to Suzanne Lalique, I tried to reinterpret the history of this legendary train, without any nostalgia, but with the desire to extend its history”, specifies Maxime d’Angeac, who designed the decor for the Accor hotel group’s new Nostalgie-Istanbul-Orient-Express train. Made up of seventeen cars, this legendary machine offers sumptuous suites that combine leather, wood, mother-of-pearl and bronze. Inside, Art Deco lighting and carpets meet. The restaurant, under a mirrored ceiling and dark wooden arches, evokes the tapestries of Suzanne Lalique. The musts? The Bar Car with its warm green hues and the spectacular Presidential Suite.

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