Le Train Bleu is located in the Gare de Lyon, a spectacular belle époque train-station that dates back to 1901. Although you’ll come to enjoy a meal (we’ll get to the food in a minute), thanks to the incredible gildings, chandeliers and frescoes covering the walls, dining here will also have the added benefit of making you feel as if you’ve stepped into a beautiful museum.
In fact, twenty-seven French artists have helped shape the restaurant’s decor, including prominent figures such as François Flameng, Henri Gervex, Gaston Casimir Saint-Pierre and René Billotte. In addition to the gorgeous hanging art, the ceiling and walls are decorated with paintings of the cities served by the French railway company PLM (Chemin de Fer Paris-Lyon-Mediterranée) to pay homage to France’s railroad heritage. Keep a close eye out and you’ll even be able to spot the company's initials in various places throughout Le Train Bleu. Also worth noting is that the restaurant recently underwent a restoration in 2014, meaning the frescos feel fresher and the gilded mirrors glisten more strikingly now more than ever.
If presentation of food is important you’ll find that here too. Cuisine here is—you guessed it—traditionally French. With leg of lamb carved on a trolley in front of you and the tartar seasoned at your table. Some of the most notable dishes on the menu include the lobster served on walnut oil-dressed salad leaves as a starter, and the veal chop topped with a cap of cheese as a can’t-miss main. The risotto cakes and home-smoked Scottish salmon with fresh fennel are also noteworthy. Word to the wise, be sure save room for the rum baba saturated with vanilla and syrup and topped with fluffy whipped cream.
Photography: Le Train Bleu | Jared Chulski
If you’re short on time, Le Train Bleu’s elegant cocktail bar is also an excellent spot to enjoy a drink between trains. Try the ‘Americano du Train Bleu’ made with Campari, vermouth rouge and tonic as you soak up the incredible atmosphere. Also important to consider is that you don’t have to worry about your luggage while enjoying a drink or a meal, as the restaurant has a large secure cloakroom, your bags will be taken by a hostess at the entrance and you'll be given a numbered luggage tag.
Photography: Le Train Bleu
It’s no wonder that over the years the list of diners reads like a who’s who of the twentieth century, with guests such as Coco Chanel and Brigitte Bardot (to name but a few). The restaurant has even served as the setting for films, including Nikita by Luc Besson. Of course all of this glamour makes this venue one of the most in-demand in the city of lights, and Le Train Bleu can tend to get busy (especially during lunch hours), so be sure to book in advance to reserve your spot at this unforgettable venue.
Photography: Le Train Bleu