Almost 140 years after the first Orient Express luxury trains changed rail travel forever, the legend continues.
The Orient Express has announced the return of its iconic and luxury trains running between France and Turkey. The rail company is reviving the Istanbul to Paris luxury service by reinterpreting the decor of the Nostalgie Istanbul Orient Express almost 100 years ago. The first cars will be ready just in time for the Paris Olympic Games 2024.
The new service is being brought back to life with the help of architect Maxime d’Angeac and some of the finest French artisans. This contemporary vision of luxury and extreme comfort will invite travellers to relive the legend aboard 17 original cars dating from the 1920sand 1930s, adorned with exceptional decor.
This set of carriages was a dream train-cruise inaugurated in the early 1980s by Swiss tour operator and businessman Albert Glatt, and in which ran between Zurich and Istanbul. Under the name of “Extrême Orient Express” the train made the longest journey ever between Paris and Tokyo, before stopping a few years later and disappearing.
In 2015, researcher Arthur Mettetal conducted a worldwide inventory of the Orient Express for the SNCF and discovered the famous cars surprisingly well-preserved. The interiors maintained the same Morrison and Nelson marquetry and Lalique panels, emblematic of Art Deco style. After two years of negotiations, the Nostalgie-Istanbul-Orient-Express was sold to Orient Express. The 17 carriages were then returned to France including 12 sleeping cars, one restaurant, three lounges and one van.
Mr d’Angceac said: “The rebirth of the Orient Express is a technological challenge meeting scientific, artistic and technical criteria, where the entire project has been conceived as a work of art. From the nuts and bolts stamped with Orient Express’ signature to the innovative concept of the suites, an exact science of detail will allow travellers to rediscover the great splendour of the Orient Express.
“Entrusted to the best artisans and decorators specialising in their unique fields, this embassy of French luxury will unveil a setting of absolute refinement, faithful to the art of tailoring. It will be an incomparable train travel experience, imagined through a contemporary vision of comfort and extreme luxury.”