Thursday, April 24, 2014

L'Orient Express

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 in 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 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 it felt claustrophobic. After passing through 2 cars I knew I wasn't going to make it to the end. I had to get off the Simplon Express PDQ. The folks behind me were not pleased. It is very tight in there.
 I returned next morning at opening time. 25+ ticket holders were in front of me, but being French, they stopped to read every word of the display cases outside the trains. Hooray! I ran onto the train and had it to myself for a while
Fabulous! Of course if you all follow my example you're in trouble.
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 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 fun exhibition.
The space inside the Institute is happily more spacious with interactive maps.
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.


  1. How I would love visiting here. Thanks for a glimpse of the exhibit. I loved it. The Orient Express always conjures up wonderful images in my mind. How I would love a tin of that tea too. To sit there in the lounge with a cup of that tea would be pure delight.

    1. You can actually order dinner to eat on the train at quite a high price tag. The tea salon inside the Institute is not on the train itself..

  2. Carol, I think that your early arrival on day two was a fine idea. The exhibit does look very intriguing.

    There is an interesting article in the April 21 issue of The New Yorker, by David Owen, called Game of Thrones, about a company that designs luxury seating for airlines, and...The Orient Express. The designs for TOE had to look authentic, but also comply with current safety and economic requirements. If you can get ahold of the article, I think you'd enjoy it.

    I know I enjoyed this post! xo

  3. You are such a fun person ..even on your own..Don't know many like you..

    PS jacques LOVED and probably still loves Agatha Christie..
    Your train is #1 on the top 10 list at

    We have a famous one..Orford Express.. because a TV show is filmed on it :)

  4. Boy, there is such fabulous art in this post! I love Art Deco & the posters here are terrific. The first poster is my favorite.
    I love trains, so I wish I could get to this exhibit!
    The first poster is my favorite

    1. Odd that Hemmy never rode the OExpress no?

    2. That is the exhibit poster and not a 30s poster at all!!

  5. Miss your blogs...

    1. I am still putting out 3-4 posts a week (it takes me longer here since I don't just dream them up,
      I have to go places, do things and then chew on it a bit.
      Do check in on the website if yr not getting them svp.
      Cheers Carolg

    2. cyndi from SD11:27 AM

      Carol,you are amazing.It's a lot of work,and we really appreciate what you do.It's too bad that I didn't run across you a couple of weeks ago when I was in your area with PEEPS in hand ( I could never figure out when you talked about them last year if you really missed them,or...).All that sugar would have really ramped up the energy.I gave those sugar bombs to the American "kids" at the Fat Tire Bicycle Tours" company.They were excited.

    3. PEEPS !!!

      heartbroken :((

  6. We've been putting off going, but now I guess we'll try to fit it in the last four days! Thanks for the review and advice. Jeff and I wouldn't like the crowded cars either.

    1. You want to avoid the weekends
      but then I went early Sunday morning and not bad at all
      Everyone is eating brunch!!

  7. Oh oh oh!
    What bliss. I always love elegant trains - used to ride the Brighton Belle years ago.
    Yes, I would love this exhibit.
    And yes, I will get to Paris one day.
    Buster sends woofs.

  8. Anonymous7:59 AM

    Thank you so much for the information on the Orient Express! My dream has always been to go back into the past and ride that now thanks to you I have tickets for May 15th to take the tour! I am so very excited!

  9. I spent few days in Paris and me too I saw this exhibition, very lovely! I think that everybody has dreamed a trip on the orient express! I read about your Easter's brunch, it was more expensive? There were a lot of delicious things! Have you notice about your Visa? Sorry for my English dera Carol!

  10. Omigosh, I would LOVE to see this exhibit. PB does feature some great attractions. And it looks like it's 10.5 Euros to go through. I'd sure spend that - happily!

  11. I think a ride on the Orient Express, back in its heyday, from Paris to Istanbul would have been absolutely divine! Another thing to put on my to-do list in my next life. :-)

  12. Drat! I won't be there till September. I'd love to see this.

  13. Hemingway & Hadley were in Chamby in the Spring of 1923 when she told
    Ernest that she was pregnant. She thought that the warmth of the
    Mediterranean would be a better place to have the baby than
    Switzerland. In the end, they "cashed a check and went down the
    mountain to Montreux," taking the train through the Simplon Tunnel, and
    following the shores of Lago Maggiore through Stressa and Gallarate to
    Milan, where they celebrated with a splendid dinner at Campari's before
    going on to Rapallo.
    " Ernest Hemingway, A Life Story," By Carlos Baker, Charles Scribner,
    1969: Ch. 14, pg.105,, "Rapallo And Cortina,"

  14. What a lovely post this is, it has given me a peep at the exhibition without having to queue! (Of course, I would love to visit the real thing.) Thank you for all the great photos.

  15. Gorgeous post, Carol! I'm glad you could finally get in. Loved the bit about the snoring - and of course the 007 screening, being the Bond girl that I am. I'm going in two weeks, thanks again for recommending this!

  16. Oh, how incredibly delightful! How I would love to take the Orient Express -- so glad you had the opportunity! I was always a big Aggie fan -- how cool is that!


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