Leaving Paris Gare de Lyon for the first time in December 2023, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express will embark on a brand new journey to the snowy peaks of the Rhône-Alpes. You’ll pass gorgeous wintery landscapes, featuring magical mountains and forests, before reaching all of your favourite ski resorts. So, Londoners, all you need to do is hop on the Eurostar to Paris and you’re well on your way to a chic—and more eco-friendly!—ski holiday.
Once you reach the Alps, there’ll be three stops: each perfectly placed to reach well-known resorts such as Megève, Mont Blanc, Courchevel, Les Trois Vallées, and Tignes–Val d’Isère. A wonderful way to start your ski trip, if you ask me.
Steeped in history, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is made up of a mix of contemporary and restored carriages, each with a different purpose but all boasting the same level of luxury.
If you can take your eyes off the views for even a moment, allow yourself to be wined and dined by resident chef Jean Imbert—or raise a toast to your trip inside the train’s iconic Bar Car ‘3674’. The journey also includes a night’s stay in a luxurious cabin, and believe me—you’ll wish it was longer.
It would be remiss of me not to explain that, no, this isn’t The Orient Express, circa 1883—although the original brand has recently been resurrected. Famously, this service took passengers the length of continental Europe; originally between Paris and Istanbul, though it branched out to Athens, Brussels and London at various stages of its life on the tracks.
The route changed many times over the years, until it officially retired in 2009. However, the ‘Orient Express’ name lives on, and has been “borrowed” by a number of luxury train services for its connotations of opulence. This obviously includes The Venice-Simplon Orient Express, but since this train uses original 1920s and 1930s carriages and even honours the original route from Paris to Istanbul, I guess it basically is the Actual Orient Express.
Look, we’re not here to pretend this is an affordable option. This is merely a desirous peek into how the other half live. That said, if you do find yourself in the possession of a spare £4,000, this does sounds rather nice, doesn’t it?
Also published on Medium.