On This Day in 1883

The Orient Express Makes its First Journey

Today in 1883, the midnight-blue and gold coaches of the Orient Express pulled out of Gare de l’Est in Paris for the first time, destined for Constantinople. Dimensions aside, by the 1930s travelers climbing onboard might have been entering the Crillon or the Ritz, with the train’s luxurious sleeper cars, leather armchairs and silk sheets. Royalty, millionaire tycoons, diplomats and spies gathered over champagne in its sumptuous dining cars to while away the 80-hour journey over thousands of miles of track. These days, the Venice Simplon Orient Express is a faster but just as luxurious option, taking 24 hours from London to Venice.

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