I awoke at dawn with an abundance of excitement, as my favorite mode of transportation is riding the train and not only was I about to board the TGV (France’s high speed rail service), but my final destination was Provence! I cannot recall when my love affair with train travel began, since the United States lacks an efficient rail system. However, whenever I do happen to find myself on a train I always go into a meditative, peaceful state insuring that I arrive at my stop in the perfect mindset for my next adventure.
My number one goal once I arrived at Gare de Lyon station was to find a coffee, as it was still quite early in the morning and my jetlag had not worn off yet. However, caffeine quickly became insignificant upon arrival into the spectacular Art Nouveau decorated building. Jonathan, our Trafalgar Tours Travel Director, recommended that I head straight to the station’s restaurant, Le Train Bleu for photographs and an espresso.
Le Train Bleu is one of those places that I hope everyone gets to experience once in their lifetime. The history, the ambiance, the artwork all combine to create a legendary establishment. The forty one brightly colored paintings on the wall all deserve to be featured in a major museum.
As I sipped my espresso, I imagined that I was sitting in the exact same spot that Coco Chanel had once sat sketching her new collection or where Salvador Dali had once sat dreaming of his next painting (and possibly flirting with the waiters). There was inspiration all around me, all I had to do was breathe it in.
I could have sat there all day, alas the clock reminded me that I had a train to catch!
Which track your train will be on is not announced until twenty minutes before departure, so I waited on the main platform until the announcement — admiring the giant clocks that stood watch over all of the travelers passing through.
When you travel with Trafalgar Tours it is nothing but the ultimate in luxury. As I settled into my first class seat, I felt the familiar wave of tranquility wash over me; I was about to be whisked away, in less than three hours to Avignon, the heart of Provence. . .