2 Feb 2010

Thinking of Paris… Gare de Lyon


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

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How right you are to arrive at the station early to linger in Le Train Bleu to enjoy the ornate decoration. Put some much needed zip into the tiring travel routine.
Enjoy Paris!

My Carolina Kitchen

Vicki, that restaurant is really over the top. The Belle Epoque architecture is so grand and you've described Le Gare North and the restaurant beautifully. I would want to linger there also in all of that luxury.

Is that the train station that people going to and from Avignon on the TGV use? From your description, it sounds like it.


How beautiful and what a pleasure to take the train with such an inviting place to start your journey.

It's as if your able to step back in time for a moment.


How gloriously,wonderful I remember (a long, long time ago)when Sydney's Central Station had that feel and we would hop of the sleeper steam train in the early hours of the morning and run into the warmth of 'the dining room' for a magic breakfast before heading back to school. Now its all electric trains, Maccas and Hungry Jacks! very disappointing so thank you for the memories

Patricia Torres

Oh my gosh.. I love all the lovely stuff on your blog.. I visited France a few years ago.. and was absolutely in love with the people, the streets, the wine, the olives, the bread, the cheese, the ice-creams & crepes… huuuummm… brings back some lovely memories..


I'm quite the opposite! I love the energy that's in the air at train stations, the feeling that everyone's headed somewhere. Folks going on vacation, nervous students leaving for the very first time for their studies in a new city, people coming home after being away for too long or just everyday commuters with their newspapers & coffeecups. Also the sense of anticipation when I'm going on a journey, I like it even on the occasions when I'm dashing through and running late:)

Dumbwit Tellher

Vicki I have such sweet memories of riding trains in my youth. In Europe I never had the opportunity to ride in any lavish cars but in the U.S., in the 60's, trains still were a well regarded way to travel. In use was the china, white table cloths & silver. My grandfather was an RR engineer and I had the good fortune of riding on on a train that we was engineering. Something I will never forget. I adored reading about your experience and appreciate that you look for the positive and reach for it.
Cheers x deb

Fat, frumpy and fifty...

l am hoping to squeeze in a trip to Paris of Vienna this year..on the cheapo of course…as I wont be able to get to see Johnny perform, tant pis!!

I shall add this La belle bleu to my list of where to go…

merci bien!

Sara x



Michelangelo wrote "Gazing on beautiful things acts on my soul, which thirsts for heavenly lights."

Creating the ritual of arriving early to lunch at this beautiful building, transforms an ordinary moment when living becomes art.

ayez un beau jour
the dowsers daughter


Dear Vicki,
I don't always like looking back and try to go with the flow of modern technology but there is no doubting that some of the old ways were the best. How wonderful and civilised, to sit in such beautiful surroundings, with something delicious to eat and drink whilst waiting for ones train…..a heck of a lot better than a polystyrene cup! I'm afaid that I'm old enough to remember steam trains…I still remember the smell and the door handles and the water colours in the carriages….oh dear, I sound REALLY old. XXXX


You and your daughter are remarkably blessed…I will say a prayer for her safety and education. Thanks for sharing Vicki.

A Thousand Clapping Hands

Sumptuous is right! I keep wondering what you had to eat. Not that it matters in a room like that. I would be so distracted by the beauty that I'd forget to eat. I'd love to be in Paris now. Have a great time, Vicki.



Vicki, I so enjoy your blog and can't wait to read your next posts on Paris. May I make a request? My own favourite corners of Paris are the Square du Vert Galant and the Place des Vosges – would they be worth including in a post?
Many thanks!


Not only does it have style, it has soul. You can almost hear all the conversations that have taken place within it's walls.


Love your blog :) All your pictures of Paris are beautiful and I'll get to see some soon as mom just spent 3 weeks there :)


Wow that picture absolutely took my breath away, I even made a noise. So beautiful can't wait to go there. Again WOW.

Naja Vrettakou

The sweets I had at that place were simply divine…I can still recall every single taste of that elaborate pretty little thing I was served back in April 2007…


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