Le Train Bleu is the reason I want to visit the Gare de Lyon in Paris.
This restaurant, upstairs in the train station, was built around the same time as the Grand Palais, Le Petit Palais and the Alexandre III bridge to celebrate the Universal Exhibition in 1900.
It is totally over the top and gorgeous in that French Belle Epoque way.
Velvet banquettes, brass work, stained glass, crystal and the rooms are decorated with many very beautiful landscape and portrait paintings.
In 1963 the restaurant became Le Train Bleu after the luxury sleeping train that would scoot the wealthy down to play on the French Riviera.
Today the TGV train is no Le Train Bleu but rather a busy and practical commuter service connecting the northern part of the country with the south.
It is quick and it is efficient but it is also charmless; the modern demands for practicality have replaced the demands for glamour and lavishness.
That is why the old fashioned me arrives an hour before my train is due to depart, settles down in Le Train Bleu and orders something delicious to eat and drink.
I soak up the atmosphere, admire the decor and people watch.
Travelling in style I am not, but I starting my voyage in the most sumptuous way… xv