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we spent a few minutes aboard the mythical Venice-Simplon-Orient-Express between Istanbul and Paris

It’s a legendary train that will enter the station in Paris on Wednesday 7 September. The Venice-Simplon-Orient-Express coming from Istanbul, and passing through Bucharest and Budapest. It is one of the most famous journeys of the luxury train and a rare moment: the connection is made only once a year and it had been 3 years since the pandemic had put a stop to it.

This train takes six days to reach Paris. During the departure from Istanbul, Friday September 2, an orchestra of janissaries in red and gold uniforms, as in the time of the Ottoman Empire, plays on the quay. “Here, we go back in time a little bit since all the cars date from 1926 to 1931, restored to their exact size.“, says Pascal Deyrolle, the general manager of the train, present at the station.

“‘It’s a journey that Agatha Christie did a little marketing, you have to be honest. It’s true that it’s legendary.’

Pascal Deyrolle, train manager

at franceinfo

All travelers boarding the train have stars in their eyes: “VS’It’s incredible“”, launches Manon Veilleux, who came especially from Canada. “It’s my husband’s dream, he told me about it when we got married 35 years ago, I feel like we’re walking in a dream right now“, she specifies.

Such a route for such a train is a real headache. There are 7,000 liters of water to load every five hours, and no less than six locomotive changes at border crossings. The star of the train is car 3309, the original train car that was stuck 80 km from Istanbul by snowdrifts and inspired the Murder on the Orient Express.

Even today, all nationalities meet there, like Julio from Mexico. Train fan since childhood, he had promised himself this trip, but the line had interrupted in the 1970s. “I bought a scale model of the Orient Express made in Germany. It was like a consolation prize“, he says. Then he learned that the line was reopening: “I was starting to save money for my retirement, but a friend told me: make the trip as soon as possible!

A trip that has a cost: several tens of thousands of euros, beyond the reach of the vast majority of Turks. From the bridge that spans the railway, a few onlookers immortalize the moment, if not on board the train. “A ticket is the price of an apartment“, blows Kerem, stunned. The luxury train has already spun towards other horizons.

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