Can you imagine that a ceiling so beautiful exists in a train station in Paris?
This was the gorgeous setting of our Christmas lunch. Le Train Bleu is a historic restaurant located inside the Gare Lyon station. Built in 1900 as part of a special exhibition, it still delights visitors with its ornate interior and 41 luscious paintings on the walls and ceiling. Through the years, it’s been frequented by celebrities and artists such as Coco Chanel and Salvador Dali. Today, it’s completely accessible to anyone, and especially tourists who want to take in all the gilded surfaces.
I found this restaurant completely by chance while browsing online for Christmas meals in Paris. Thank you anonymous recommender! This was a lovely way to celebrate the holiday.
Everything about this restaurant screamed Paris from the waiters with black bow ties and hand flourishes to the elegant cheese board they brought around to the tables. When they poured the water (8 Euro, yikes!), one arm went behind the back in a formal posture. While this kind of service may seem fussy in the United States, it was certainly fun to observe there.
Our meal started with a taste of foie gras creme brulee eaten with a toast point. While at the time, this seemed such a bizarre combination, I learned quickly in France that many unlikely ingredients are paired with foie gras. (Foie gras and chocolate macaron, anyone?)
Next was veal with mushroom gravy and tagliatelle. The sauce was delicious and savory. The other meal was juicy lamb with potato casserole. When I think of French traditional food of days gone by, this is exactly what I imagine.
For dessert, we had the buche de noel, a traditional cake yule log cake during the holiday season. It was filled with chocolate ganache and raspberry sauce. Isn’t this the most beautifully decorated dessert ever? I love the crown with gold dusted chocolate shards.
As you might guess, this meal did not come cheap.
In fact, I had some reservations about dining here at all as I assumed prices would be inflated for tourists and the meal somewhat ho hum compared to more authentic Parisian brasseries. In the end, however, despite the cost, it was completely to worth it to savor the food and create a special Christmas memory in such a beautiful and distinctive setting.
Do you have a memorable restaurant experience in Paris? Tell me about it in the comments!