The mythology of the Orient Express luxury trains, which revolutionized rail travel about 140 years ago, is still going strong. The renowned train from Orient Express, a pioneer in travel since 1883, is coming back, along with a brand-new format.
Orient Express has entrusted architect Maxime d’Angeac with a new, critical, and historic mission: to revive the legend by reinterpreting the Nostalgie-Istanbul-Orient-Express decor, with the support of Accor and the leadership of its Chairman & CEO Sébastien Bazin. The first cars designed in collaboration with the finest French artisans will unveil the new charms of the Orient Express in 2024, just in time for the Paris Olympic Games.
This modern vision of luxury and extreme comfort will invite visitors to relive the legend aboard 17 original Orient Express cars from the 1920s and 1930s, each with its own unique decor. This train-cruise, known most recently as the “Nostalgie-Istanbul-Orient-Express,” was inaugurated in the early 1980s by Swiss tour operator and businessman Albert Glatt and ran between Zurich and Istanbul. The train, known as the “Extrême-Orient-Express,” made the longest journey ever between Paris and Tokyo before stopping and disappearing a few years later.
Arthur Mettetal, an industrial historian, conducted a worldwide inventory of the Orient Express for the SNCF in 2015. During his research, he discovered the famous cars to be remarkably well-preserved. The interiors retained the Morrison and Nelson marquetry and Lalique panels that are typical of the Art Deco style. The Nostalgie-Istanbul-Orient-Express was sold to Orient Express after two years of negotiations. The 17 cars – 12 sleeping cars, 1 restaurant, 3 lounges, and 1 van – were returned to France in a Dantesque convoy.
“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 travelers to rediscover the great splendor of the Orient Express. Entrusted to the best artisans and decorators specializing 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.”Maxime d’Angeac, architect