On board The Orient Express
Embark / Wonder
Today, the Orient Express is composed of seven historic cars. Each car creates a specific atmosphere, making the Orient Express an icon and emblem of luxury trains at the start of the 20th century. The comfort provided in the cars is accompanied by decor created by major artists and designers from the period. The completely restored bar, parlour and dining carriages are classified historic monuments, serving as rolling icons of the Art Deco style.
The Calais-Méditerranée-Express owes its nickname to the midnight blue carriages highlighted with a golden yellow detailing, inaugurated in 1922. Created by René Prou, the interior decor is distinguished by marquetry featuring bouquets of silver-leaf flowers and glass paste roses created by Lalique. In 1950, this bright space was redesigned to accommodate a solid mahogany bar. The set for the Sydney Lumet film “Murder on the Orient Express,” this car is one of two examples of the historic Blue Train.
Étoile du Nord
The Étoile du Nord set off in 1927, connecting Paris to Amsterdam in just eight hours. Entrusted to René Prou, the interior design of the parlour carriage is restrained: walls panelled in Finnish birch burl inlaid with exotic marquetry and a red carpet adorned with stylised flowers, highlighting the twenty-eight armchairs upholstered with an Art Deco pattern. The relaxed elegance of this car accommodated passengers on the Flèche d’Or (Paris-London), the Oiseau Bleu (Paris-Brussels) and the Sud Express (Paris-Lisbon).
Built in 1929 to connect Paris to London, the parlour car pays homage to the talent of master glassmaker René Lalique and his daughter, Suzanne, who designed the patterns for the tapestries. Plane wood panelling serves as a backdrop for molten glass panels adorned with mythological motifs, structuring a vast space, embellished with a small private lounge at each end. In 1977, Princess Grace travelled aboard the last journey of this Art Deco jewel to Monte Carlo.
Anatolia, Riviera and Taurus
The Anatolia car mainly featured on the Simplon-Orient-Express, connecting London to Istanbul via Paris, Milan, Venice, Bucharest and Athens. The decor featuring precious timbers (mahogany, kingwood, rosewood, ebony and plane tree) is the work of Albert Dunn, an inlayer working on large transatlantic liners.
The Riviera car was also used on the Simplon-Orient-Express route. Built in 1927, the interior design composed of mahogany, rosewood and ebony marquetry panels is attributed to René Prou.
The Taurus car ran from 1927 to 1940 on the Orient Express, accommodating passengers with decor combining mahogany inlays with polished bronze sconces and luggage racks. Hercule Poirot climbs aboard this car at the Aleppo stopover in the Sydney Lumet film “Murder on the Orient Express.”
Built in 1929, this car was part of the train that linked London to Ventimiglia via Paris, Nice and Monte Carlo. Restored in 2011 by master craftsmen, the original structure – a four-seater coupé – has retained the bar that was added in 1975. The panelling has been replaced, while the larger light wood panels were inlaid with exotic zinc marquetry, based on original designs by René Prou.