“The visitor’s mantra makes it all sound so easy: 20 neighborhoods divided into four quarters. That, in a nutshell, is Paris. Getting around the City of Light should be a cinch. And it is — on paper. Then reality gets in the way. There is so much to see, so much to eat. What to do?
Jerry and Janine Sprout have made it trouble-free for visitors to Paris by dividing the city into walking tours that take a half to a full day, “depending on your pace,” and cover anywhere from a few miles to a maximum of six. The promenades in the book are shorter, taking about half a day. Each tour starts and ends at a Metro stop, and there is plenty of time set aside for detours, stops and just wandering. They offer advice on getting around, choosing lodging, using the Metro, buying street gear (opt for a shoulder bag rather than a backpack) and being street-smart (“Street violence is almost unheard of in Paris,” though thieves “are common enough”).
All the famous spots (Trocadero, Eiffel Tower, Champs-Elysees, Notre Dame, Latin Quarter, Montmartre) and neighborhoods are here.” —Sept 9, 2012
Situated at the heart of the Gare de Lyon, upstairs, looking down the rails, the Train Bleu will definitely wow you just by it’s electric atmosphere, food and fanciful ceiling art alone. Yes, it will assault your wallet, but this is one of those once-in-a-lifetime feast for the eyes as well as the stomach experiences.
For example: Charolais beef tartare prepared at the table to your taste, home-cooked duck foie gras, home smoked organic salmon, knuckle of lamb served on a Cristofle trolley, rum baba and iced vacherin. The restaurant stops taking orders at 11 p.m.
A little history: The Calais-Mediterranée Express was a luxury French night express train which operated from 1886 to 2007. It gained international fame as the preferred train of wealthy and famous passengers between Calais and the French Riviera in the two decades before World War II. It was colloquially referred to as Le Train Bleu in French (which became its formal name after World War II) and the Blue Train in English because of its dark blue sleeping cars.
The height of the season for “le train bleu” was between November and April, when many travellers escaped the British winter to spend time on the French Riviera. Its terminus was at the Gare Maritime in Calais, where it picked up British passengers from the ferries across the English Channel. It departed at 1 p.m. and stopped at the Gare du Nord in Paris, then travelled around Paris by the Grande Ceinture line to the Gare de Lyon, where it picked up additional passengers and coaches. It departed Paris early in the evening, and made stops at Dijon, Châlons, and Lyon, before reaching Marseilles early the next morning. It then made further stops at all the major resort towns of the French Riviera, or Côte d’Azur: Saint-Raphaël, Juan-les-Pins, Antibes, Cannes, Nice, Monte-Carlo, before reaching its final destination, Menton, near the Italian border. Early passengers included the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII), Charlie Chaplin, designer Coco Chanel, Winston Churchill and writers F. Scott Fitzgerald, Evelyn Waugh and Somerset Maugham.
Le Train Bleu
Phone: + 33 (0) 01 43 43 09 06
For reservations call or email.