I love riding trains and no doubt a trip on the Orient Express would have been most thrilling.
You can easily do so until August 31st. Just take yourself off to the Institute du Monde Arabe at 1, rue Fosses St. Bernard 75005 Metro Jussieu
It's an exhibit with 2 parts - the passenger cars standing out in the open and the 2nd part inside Jean Nouvel's historic building downstairs featuring posters, artifacts and tea salon.
Getting through the exhibit (for me at least) was almost as convoluted as riding from London to Cairo.
I thought I'd arrived early enough at 10:30 am (the exhibit opens at 9:30 on the dot) and like any good train, it leaves on time.
But in fact there were a slew of people ahead of me, many bought tickets online.
Once inside the cars it felt pretty claustrophobic and after passing through 2 cars I knew I wasn't going to make it to the end. I simply had to get off the Simplon Express. No two ways about it. The folks behind me were not best pleased for sure. It is tight in there.
Never mind. I returned next morning just at opening time. Granted at least 25+ ticket holders were in front of me, but being French, they stopped to read every word of the display cases outside the trains while I sashayed on the train unimpaired.
I almost had the cars completely to myself. Fabulous! Of course if you all follow my example you're in trouble...ahem
The tables are laid out to illustrate different celebrities who rode the train or wrote about it
Agatha Christie met her husband aboard and wrote three novels inspired by it (Murder on the Orient Express).
Or Graham Green (Stamboul Train).
Films are playing...here a James Bond movie, From Russia with Love.
And murder most foul is illustrated. Some sleeping compartments even emit heavy snoring to make our experience more realistic.
Every detail of the original fabrications is seen to.
With gorgeous Art Deco wall decorations
Really a very fun exhibit.
The space inside the Institute is happily more spacious with interactive maps etc.
Old movie posters
And travel posters
Reek of travel in the 30s ambiance.
Plenty of travel photos though I didn't see any sketchbooks or journals...
At the end of the exhibit you can restore and relax with Mediterranean sweets topped up with tea in specially designed tins from Dammen. This is a don't miss exhibit in my opinion.