THE ORIENT EXPRESS TRAIN CARS

Seven legendary cars

The Orient-Express has seven historic cars, each with their own particular vibe and rich history. They are the epitome of luxury and absolute comfort and thanks to the creativity of the greatest artists and decorators of the time and restoration by the best French artisans.

Le Train Bleu,
"the most beautiful train in the world"

The Calais-Méditerranée-Express or “Train Bleu” owes its nickname to its midnight blue metallic cars highlighted with a golden trim. Inaugurated in 1922, they took on the Art-Deco style dear to the decorator René Prou through marquetry of bouquets of flowers with silver flakes and roses in molten glass by Lalique. 30 years later, a mahogany bar reconfigured a decor sublimated in 1974 by the filmmaker Sydney Lumet in his adaptation of the novel, Murder on the Orient Express. This car is one of two examples of the historic ‘Train Bleu’.

L'Etoile du Nord, "elegance is born"

The Etoile du Nord (or “the north star”) set off in 1927 and linked Paris to Amsterdam in eight hours. René Prou once again designed the interior of this lounge car. The style was understated and functional with a warm elegance. The walls were paneled with Finnish birch burr wood and inlaid with exotic marquetry, the red carpet was decorated with stylized flowers, and twenty-eight armchairs were upholstered with an Art Deco motif. A very chic ambiance that also welcomed passengers to the Flèche d’Or (Paris-London), the Oiseau Bleu (Paris-Brussels) and the Sud Express (Paris-Lisbon).

La Flèche dOr "contemporary luxury"

In 1929, the Flèche d’Or (or “the golden arrow”) linked Paris to London. This lounge car paid tribute to the talent of master glassmaker René Lalique with muses (the 3 Graces) and bunches of grapes in molten glass. The plane tree, chosen for all the woodwork and tables, formed a monochrome setting with contemporary comfort, enhanced by a small private lounge at each end of the car. In 1977, during a last-minute trip to Monte Carlo, Princess Grace jumped on the opportunity to travel in this Art Deco jewel.

Anatolia, Riviera and Taurus: 1930s style

Built in 1925, the Anatolia ran on the Simplon-Orient-Express, linking London to Istanbul via Paris, Milan, Venice, Bucharest and Athens. Albert Dunn, a renowned English designer, was responsible for the design of this restaurant car, which was used for the decorations of the great transatlantic liners. The result, a neo-classical style with marquetry panels inlaid with flower garlands, plays on the association of precious wood species: mahogany, rosewood, ebony and plane tree.  

The Riviera dining car, designed in 1927, was also a part of the Simplon-Orient-Express. It boasted luxurious and understatedly elegant decor borrowed from the most chic restaurants around. Entrusted to the decorator René Prou, the style revealed marquetry panels in mahogany, rosewood and ebony.

The Taurus car ran from 1927 to 1940 on the Orient-Express, offering travelers a decor combining the mahogany of the marquetry with the polished bronze of the sconces and luggage racks. At the Aleppo stopover, the famous Hercule Poirot climbed aboard the Taurus in Sydney Lumet’s film Murder on the Orient Express.

Côte d’Azur,
"the great luxury"

Built in 1929, this car was part of the train that connected London to Ventimiglia, via Paris, Nice and Monte Carlo. Restored in 2011 by artisans, its original structure – a small four-seater – has kept the bar that was added in 1975. The woodwork has been replaced and the large light wood panels have been inlaid with exotic zinc inlays, made from original designs by René Prou.