Met the Orient express… but we’re going nowhere!

Taking the Venice Simplon-Orient express from Paris to the St Lucia station in Venice Italy has been a dream of mine since I was a young girl. If you have read some of my other posts you will see that I did a lot of dreaming. Some of them were pretty big dreams  especially for a girl that comes from a family of modest means. Most of the travel we did was in an RV around Canada and the U.S. I am an avid reader and have read several books about or that mentioned the Orient express. It conjures up visions of luxury, mystery  and romance and Agatha Christie.

I have quite a bucket list when it comes to travel. I also have come up a bit in the world but still not enough for this dream to come true just yet.

It would cost over $5,500.00 base price if we got a special offer for the two of us and considering that it is just an overnight trip, it’s a fair sum of money.

It was Al’s idea to go to the station and see the train arrive, this is one of the things he really wanted to do. I sent an email to the company and they were very nice and gave us the dates and arrival times.

Arrival board Grand lines at Gare de 'est posted  VSOE Calais Ville

Arrival board Grand lines at Gare de ‘est posted VSOE Calais Ville

That night we dressed nicely and went to catch the train we were not getting on and going nowhere! 

Departure board at Gare de l'est grand lines VSOE departure time for Saint Lucia station in Venice, Italy

Departure board at Gare de l’est grand lines VSOE departure time for Saint Lucia station in Venice, Italy

We took pictures of the boards after  double checking  its arrival and departure times.

Gare de l'est Paris

Gare de l’est Paris

It was a really nice train station. There were little booths were you could purchase tickets and places to eat and rest. We window shopped as there were a number of upscale stores like Sworovski Crystal in one section of the station that looked like a mall.

Sworovski Chrystal at Gare de l'est Paris

Sworovski Chrystal at Gare de l’est Paris

Nearing the time for our train to arrive we headed out to wait on the platform. The announcement was that “A special train was arriving on from Calais”

High speed train at Gare de l'est Paris

High speed train at Gare de l’est Paris. There were lots of high speed luxury trains arriving.

At first it looked like a modern train not a restored one, until we realized that it just had a modern engine car to pull it. It was just as I had envisioned it. The chef got out and the uniformed bellman waited by the door for new or returning passengers. Now I knew it was real and still in operation.

Uniformed Bellman VSOE

Bellman VSOE helping a passenger

Bellman VSOE helping a passenger

We took our pictures beside the shiny car the one with the insignia on it of course.

international wagon lits

international wagon lits

A couple was waiting to deliver a computer to someone and ran up to the train when it stopped. A young man got on in shorts, I don’t know if he was a worker or a passenger.

Church near Gare de l'est

Church near Gare de l’est Paris

It made for a really nice inexpensive evening and we went for our usual walk and stopped for a crepe again on the way home. I was very happy as I was feeling very good that evening. Al really enjoyed it also and said it was really nice to do something relaxing. The area had a nice church and a Holiday Inn that looked nothing like the ones were we have stayed. They didn’t all look like the Holiday Inn and some of the other hotels and staff in the area actually looked a little sleazy.

Holiday Inn near across from Gare de l'est Paris

Holiday Inn near across from Gare de l’est Paris

Someone put their hands in my purse when he walked by me. It looked like it was open but it was just a compartment that held my Kleenex, mints, comb that type of thing…nothing valuable.  So he didn’t get anything except a slap on the hand.

We stopped at the Creperie de Pont-Aven, near our apartment in Montparnasse. We shared two crepes, one was called the Parisian with mushroom ham and cheese (I had to just pick out the ham) and the other one called Pennach with Chantilly, vanilla ice-cream and fruit sauce. They were very large and made of Bulgar wheat.  I kept the coaster as a souvenir.

Creperie de Pont-Aven

Creperie de Pont-Aven in Montparnasse

The train leaves the Gare de l’est in the evening and it heads out while the passengers are dinning. It is a good idea to dress nicely as it gives everyone a better experience.

The next day you can have breakfast in your room, lunch in the restaurant car  and then afternoon tea is served before arriving at the Santa  Lucia station in Venice Italy.

There are lots of less expensive trips including day trips and dinner trips and very expensive ones as you can take it all over Europe. I have a few more things ahead of this on my bucket list but I know I will go on this adventure one day.

About babyboomersmusings

I am an artist, that also loves to bake, cook, write, garden, decorate and take photos. I have dabbled in all kinds of crafts and business. My passion is travel; I travel and manage my websites. and "With direction in one hand and passion in the other, my hands are always full of possibilities." ~ unknown
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6 Responses to Met the Orient express… but we’re going nowhere!

  1. WanderNWayne says:

    What an extraordinary alternative experience. Maybe we need to consider other enjoyable means of partially exploring our bucket list when unable to experience the real thing. Life is not diminished by alternatives.


  2. megtraveling says:

    It sounds like you had a lovely experience, and next time you’ll be a passenger 🙂


  3. Wow.. I would totally get into traveling on this train! Imagine the service and the food! At least it does sound like you had some pretty wonderful food yourself, next time it will be the train as well!!


  4. I am sure the food would be exceptional made by world class French chefs with the finest ingredients but we enjoyed great food that night, it is pretty nice having crepes in Paris. It will be nice to keep the dream a bit longer and that much better when it comes true.


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