A French Theater Restaurant
Upon going through the revolving door, we enter a place, like a theater and even a palace. Its walls are coved with carvings, chandeliers, frescoes, gildings, and moldings. I have an illusion that we are in the Palace of Versailles or the Palace of Fontainebleau. But no, we have already visited these two astonishingly decorated palaces this week. We are eating in a palace restaurant at the Gare de Lyon where CoCo Chanel visited often in the early 20 century.
A Nostalgic Environment
When I see around, I observe the men in suits and the woman elegantly dressed up. I realize that we are in the 21st century not in the ancient era. Yes, today we are dining in a palace restaurant - le Train Bleu. I am a traveler not merely in France but also in the time machine. This nostalgic restaurant gives us the most sumptuous images of la Belle Époque. The richest and the upper class gather here in haute couture discussing arts, politics, and their lives.
We are greeted warmly and their servers introduce the dishes in details. They all speak French and English fluently. All the well-suited servers have their specialty. They are responsible for different parts of the dishes. One is for the appetizer, another one for wine, and the others for the main dish or the dessert. We are served as the most honored guests.
After we order, first comes the red wine. We talk about our trip in Paris. We just cannot believe that we are leaving Paris and heading for another destination. ''I must come back here one day'' I murmur to myself.
Then we order salmon and foie gras for the appetizers with white wine. In France, how can we not try foie gras? After tasting it with bread, the good smell is filled in my mouth. I know why the French cannot resist it. And the wine is Sauvignon Sémillon from Chateau Haut-Grelot, Blaye-côtes-de-bordeaux. Its taste is blended with grassy aromas and vibrant acidity.
The highlight are the main courses: chicken and mutton. The chef comes to our table and professionally slices the mutton. It is a privilege to enjoy every fine piece of the meat. The taste has various levels from outer cooked layer to inner semi-raw center. And the red wine is from Château Laroche Joubert, Côtes de Bourg (Bordeaux). It is fruity claret and not bitter at all.
Our desserts are a grand cru chocolate cake and a rum baba. The master pours the chocolate and the rum on the spot, respectively. The grand cru chocolate cake is a profiterole with vanilla ice cream. They are so sweet to neutralize the agreeable aftertaste of our main courses. The rum baba with citron flavor is different from the traditional one. The whipped cream is not filled inside but aside at your choice. However, you can tell the master how much you want for the chocolate or rum.
An Unforgettable Memory
Last but not the least, we enjoy every sip of the tea after having our pleasant 4 hours here. I almost think that I am, especially in this newly furbished palace, as close as if in the year of 1900. Paris just holds the world exposition, and the higher class and the best international artists are gathered here to appreciate the supreme decoration of the restaurant, and to discuss the people meet and the things happening in this city. Truly, this is one of the best moments ever in my life.
To enjoy a decent meal, it is for sure to reserve in advance. If you have no idea how to order, you may choose the Arts Menu (Le Menu des Arts 65€) and the Traveller Menu (Le Menu du Voyageur 48€). Besides, you can download the coupons from O'bon Paris to have 20% discount on all the meals in the restaurant (exclude the bar).
Le Train Bleu (The Blue Train)
Open Hours: 7:30am-10:00pm
Phone: +33 1 43 43 09 06
Address: 2nd floor, Gare de Lyon, Place Louis Armand, 75012 Paris, France