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A special dining experience at Le Train Bleu : Paris

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Le Train Bleu one of the best restaurants in ParisOne of the best restaurants in Paris

It’s a big call and I know it.  Naming an eating establishment as one of the best restaurants in Paris is not something I took lightly.  After all, this is Paris.  Cuisine capital of the world.  Home of some of the best chefs and restaurants that you will ever find.

Restaurants are so much more than just the food to me.  Of course, it’s a major part of it, especially if you are going to spend as much as you will in Le Train Bleu.  But, for the true experience, it must also be about the ambience, the point of difference and the service.  In a city where service can sometimes be on the brusque side, this restaurant came out on top.

Where is it ?

Once you know where it is, it’s so easy to find. To save yourself the fuss we had to go through, it’s best to come through the main entrance of Gare de Lyon station.  Just to the right are a set of steps that take you upstairs.  Here you will find  another world.

Attempting to find it via any other entrance will see you going back and forth, asking people in your very best French if they know where it is.  Despite it being quite an iconic resident of Gare de Lyon, I found most people within its walls hadn’t heard of it!!  Or maybe it was my poorly accented French 🙂

Gare de Lyon and Le Train Bleu
The busy hub of Gare de Lyon. Upstairs in the restaurant it feels a million miles away from this.

Le Train Bleu history

The iconic restaurant is world famous and has occupied this location in one form or another since 1901.  It was at this time that the first restaurant was opened here, the ‘Grand Buffet’.  The Gare de Lyon train station also holds historical significance, having been built for a World Expo in 1900.

In 1963, the ‘Grand Buffet’ was re-named to Le Train Bleu, honouring the Paris-Vintimille train which began its journey in Paris and ended in the French Riviera.

A special dinner

I was here for a special birthday, alongside my husband, brother and sister-in-law, who had all joined me from the other side of the world for this occasion.  As we entered the front door, we were promptly welcomed by the Maitre’d.  I couldn’t take my eyes off the interior.  Opulent, exquisite, luxurious and a whole lot of other fancy words filled my head and overtook my senses.

If you have ever been to the Palace of Versailles, or other elaborately decorated churches or palaces, you will feel as though you are back there.  With wonderful fresco paintings covering all the walls and ceilings and gold gilding attaching itself to every surface available, it was both over-the-top and fantastic all at once.

The beautifully decorated interior of Le Train Bleu
The beautifully decorated interior

Interior of Le Train Bleu

The food

Le Train Bleu is not somewhere to come for an inexpensive meal.  Even their lower priced prix-fixe or specially designed travellers menus would still cause some to shudder.

For the price you pay however, the food is incredible, and the service impeccable.

We’d never ordered foie gras in a restaurant before so this was a great opportunity to try.  We realised very quickly that this is such a delicacy to the French that eating it in small doses is not an option.  The house-made duck foie gras might look small (ish) but don’t be fooled.  This is rich, decadent eating at its best and as such is probably best to share it with your dining companions.

Foie Gras at one of the best restaurants in Paris- Le Train bleu
Foie Gras – a rather large portion

 

I’m a massive fan of French food.  It’s always fresh, given the access they have to fresh produce markets, always seasonal and always cooked simply.  Whilst I am the first to admire highly artistic creations, the simplicity of French food means the focus is on flavour.

 

A saucisson filled brioche at Le Train Bleu
A saucisson filled brioche

 

I loved how the meals are delivered with great fanfare, on silver trolleys, wheeled with such flair through the restaurant.  Then once at your table, the waiter would continue the theatre carving, spooning and arranging the meal in front of you.

beef-cheek-with-kale-le-train-bleu
Slow cooked beef cheek, kale, prosciutto and mash
steak-paris-style-le-train-bleu
Paris style steak

Book in advance

The rich and famous hang out here, as well as a great mix of Parisians and international travellers.  It’s always a great idea to book, especially for lunch, or if it is an important occasion.

 

Le Train Bleu is definitely one of the best restaurants in Paris, and considering they still send me emails every birthday, they are a step above of the rest.

 

pinterest sharing image beer and croissants

 

best restaurants in Paris Le Train Bleu

 

This article contains affiliate links but you needn’t be worried. They don’t cost you anymore. It just provides you with a convenient link to go straight to the source, without having to search endlessly. Where I have noted an item I use personally, it is simply my opinion and preference. As is always the case, all opinions are my own.

40 thoughts on “A special dining experience at Le Train Bleu : Paris”

  1. I know this place well and have recommended it to many. It’s everything “Beer and Croissants” says it is! A ‘must do’ for every visitor to Paris.

  2. Whenever I am in a station or at an airport, I usually think of the restaurants as a place to grab food on the go. I absolutely love how Le Train Bleu sets itself apart into a luxury and unique dining experience. I would love to make reservations here when I am in France one day!

  3. Looks like a good spot to treat yourself in Paris. And there’s something special about dining in a historic restaurant. What was the average price of a main?

  4. The food looks good but the actual building is breathtaking. I would definitely love to eat here! So atmospheric!

  5. How beautiful is the architecture and decor. It says everything French to me. I would definitely splurge on this meal while traveling just for the experience. Looks delicious!

  6. Wow this place looks so grand, we’re not sure it would be within our budget but maybe for a very special occasion! The food looks delicious and you can’t beat great service alongside the awesome food!

  7. 1st thing came out of my mouth was “OMG” when I saw the interior photos. I would love to visit there once (more for interior) if they have vegetarian food options.

  8. I first went to le Train Bleu when I was about 12. I was travelling to stay with a french family and my friend/french exchange and I were taken there by her dad. Can you imagine how impressed I was? I STILL love the place!

  9. I love that le Train Bleu is in the Gare de Lyon! I suspect that many travelers would never think to find such a gem in a train station. I love the decor and always think the presentation in a fine French restaurant is an experience in and of itself. Thanks for sharing!

  10. As soon as you said your were 12 Fiona I was thinking “oh wow, how awesome would that be for a kid!” That would have been something special….all the french waiters, the language, the food, the prestige….super cool.

  11. What an amazing experience – Happy birthday! Definitely looks like the place to splurge for a special occasion – I would love to get to Paris to experience the best in the city!

  12. Looks like an amazing eatery. Anything thats been around for over 100 years has certainly stood the test of time. I wonder how many other establishments from 1901 are still going strong.

  13. How fun dining in such a historic and lovely setting such as this. Glad you enjoyed your experience. I’m not much a fan of French food but with this setting, I cannot see how anything could be less than perfection!

  14. Went there with a large group one time and for all the people we had incredibly good service and food was very good. We felt like royalty dining in such an extravagant room too!

  15. This restaurant sounds amazing. We don’t typically eat out at expensive or fancy places, but I would make an exception for this place! Beautiful decor and exquisite food sounds like a good pairing to me!

  16. What am experience! I would definitely fork out a large sum to dine in a beautiful setting such as this. It seems worth it though with large portions like that. I’ll have to look it up to check out menu prices!

  17. Unfortunately I’m a vegetarian so while the food looked impressive (I still love cooking meat for friends and family even if I don’t eat it – weird, I know) I wouldn’t be eating it! I am in love with that interior, though. I think I could just walk in, sit down and happily be in awe at its beauty for a bit. Thanks for sharing this!

  18. Wow that’s a fabulous place to have a lunch or dinner at! It will probably make you feel like a royal and transport you back in time. I love the ceiling especially! The food looks like a real gourmet and it is great that the service and staff are also on point! Thanks for sharing this interesting eating experience.

  19. Such an incredible venue and it appears the cuisine lives up to the fine decor. This is truly a special occasion place. Thanks for the photos of the interior and food, both are very alluring.

  20. Oh wow, dining in this place must have been an experiecne of a lifetime!! It looks like such an fancy affair, definitely a place reserved to celebrate special days with your favourite people. I’m so in love with the interiors, however I wonder if they cater vegetarian needs.

  21. 30 euro is not too bad for a top restaurant in Paris. Would you say it’s a top restaurant? Michelin starred restaurants can be over the top in costs. I went to a three Michelin star restaurant in Paris a few years ago and nearly died when the bill came to 400 euro for two people.

  22. Christina, I would say it’s an excellent restaurant but probably not a top one. I know we ate quite a bit and there were 4 of us, plus drinks and it probably cost about 250 euro.

  23. What an incredible venue for an amazing dining experience! Thanks for the tip about arriving at the station – my French accent also isn’t great and could have seen me on the streets for hours trying to find it!

  24. What is the dress code for dinner? My husband and I are going to Paris for my birthday and I am looking for a nice restaurant where we can dress up for dinner.

  25. Hi Brittnie, we got really dressed up to go here. Whilst I always find that some people tend to where whatever even to fine dining restaurants, I like to look the part. We were all dressed in clothes worthy of this fine restaurant. And, after all, it is Paris 🙂

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