On the 4th of October 1883 the Express d’Orient left Gare de l’Est station in Paris to begin its maiden journey to Romania. It travelled through Europe via Munich and Vienna. The train was the brainchild of Belgian Georges Nagelmackers who founded his company Campagnie Internationale de Wagons-Lits in 1872. Georges was inspired by American engineer and industrialist George Pullman who designed and manufactured the sleeper car.
Georges had a vision to establish a service that connected Paris with Constantinople via train. Passengers travelled to Romania on board the Express d’Orient and then transferred to a ferry to cross the Danube to Bulgaria where they boarded another train to Varna and completed the journey via yet another ferry to Constantinople, now known as Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey. The journey from Paris to Giurgiu in Romania took 3 days.
This morning, exactly 138 years to the day since this famous train set off from Paris, we got together to commemorate it.
We started the day with a wonderful discussion about the Orient Express, the epitome of class and style. We looked at photographs of the sleeper cars and dining cars, they really were so beautiful. The Orient express started life as a commuter train however more recently it is better known for its day trips and weekend sojourns combining luxury dining experiences with opulent accommodation, popular with couples celebrating anniversaries or for those celebrating special birthdays.
This afternoon we were issued with our tickets, instructing us to head to the tearoom where our train would depart at 3pm sharp from la Gare de le café.
On reaching the departure lounge we were greeted by a wonderful sight. The tearoom tables were set for afternoon tea. There were beautiful menus detailing the delicious cakes laid out for us to enjoy as we took our virtual trip to Vienna on board the Orient Express.
It was a lovely afternoon; we drank wine and ate far too much cake. There was a French apple cake, an Austrian chocolate cake and a Romanian lemon cake, it would have been very rude indeed not to have tried all three. Compliments to the chef from all of us.
Thank you to the lifestyle team for organising such a wonderful day.