3000 readers a day
Mangiamaccheroni FXcuisine.com  

Dinner at Le Train Bleu

 Home >> Experiences
Keywords ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
Feedback24 comments - leave yours!
ZOOMLarger imagesPrint
A memorable meal at one of the most spectacular restaurants in Paris, located in the Gare de Lyon train station.

Click to Zoom

Click on the picture for a 360° panoramic picture of the restaurant (2 Mb).

As I was about to leave for Paris a schoolfriend who lives in Paris called me. He wanted us to meet and, great stomachs think alike, we agreed on Le Train Bleu, the restaurant at the Gare de Lyon where my train was due to arrive at 10PM. Apart from its location, there is nothing mundane about the Train Bleu. Beyond being the obvious place to take your trainspotting brother for his birthday, it is one of the single most spectacular restaurants in Paris, built in 1900 in a flamboyant Second Empire style as a testimony to France's grandeur. This restaurant was used in several movies, including the cult scene in Luc Besson's 1991 La Femme Nikita where Tcheky Karyo and Anne Parillaud give an Asian tourist an unforgettable meal. I have seen two remakes of this movie, not including the rip-off 'La Femme Nikita' serie and they are all vastly inferior in quality to the original. In this scene, Nikita, a young street urchin, celebrates the completion of her training as a secret agent under Karyo's cruel tutelage:

Matthew is a very modest fellow. If you want to shoot a feature film in Paris, he is the man that will organize the whole production, crew, equipment and authorisations and be responsible for deadlines and budget. But Matthew doesn't boast and he's nothing like those Angelinos who work as janitors at some talent agency and can drown a whole three-floor restaurant with pretentious anecdodes of their meeting the stars of the day. After a while Matthew acknowledged that he had in fact produced a movie at Le Train Bleu. "It is not as fancy as Nikita but it was a big budget just the same". In Mr. Bean's Holiday, Rowan Atkinson struggles with the French cuisine dished out by French actor Jean Rochefort at Le Train Bleu:

Well done. I can't stand people who speak on cellphones in restaurants anyway. By the way, the food at Le Train Bleu is that of every good brasserie - fancy if that's your first time in Paris but not memorable by itself. My filet de boeuf was fine but the béarnaise clearly had seen better days, plural, with a crispy thick yellowish crust on top. I focused on the filet.

By the end of our meal, the maître d' apologized because he needed us to pay for the meal because his watch was drawing to an end. Last orders were at 11PM and the staff was eager to go home for Easter. I immediately saw this as my opportunity to let you see this legendary restaurant. Applying what social psychologists call the Law of Reciprocity or Rule of Reciprocation, I said sure, but could I take a picture? "But of course Monsieur". I have a tripod - would that be a problem? "You go right ahead" was the answer. I took my mine-is-bigger-than-yours tripod out and started assembling the futuristic panorama head and snapped the panorama above.

Click to Zoom

As I stitched the panorama yesterday, Matthew magically vanished from the picture. It wasn't by design, so I'll include a picture of myself, snug as a bug on a rug and out of focus as I forgot to put the autofocus back on as I gave my friend Matthew the camera after the deed was done.

Click to Zoom

As we left the restaurant around midnight, the station was quiet. Whenever I enter this restaurant I think of these movies and that makes every meal at Le Train Bleu something I can't forget.

Le Train Bleu ('The Blue Train')
Gare de Lyon
First floor
Wikipedia article in French
+33 (0)1 44 75 76 76
Paris, France


Did you like this article? Leave me a comment or see my most popular articles.

Related Articles

Snails Have Seven Lives at L'Escargot Montorgueil ***
Just how many lives does a snail have? Seven, at L'Escargot Montorgueil, Paris' premier snail restaurant, where your shell might have served many guests.

Duck Tour d'Argent ** Popular
Probably the most spectacular classical French recipe, le canard à la presse, here made at La Tour d'Argent, a Paris restaurant open since the 16h century.

Molecular Gastronomy Seminar **
I attended a unique seminar in Paris with Hervé This, French chemist, author, founder of Molecular Gastronomy and spiritual father of Molecular Cuisine.

Behind the Scene at Alain Ducasse's **
Extraordinary pre-starter offered in top French chef Alain Ducasse's restaurant in Provence - delicious crispy toasted bread with eggplant caviar and anchovy sauce. A resounding success! See how Ducasse makes it and you can do it at home too.

A night at the Liboson **
A memorable fondue in an over-the-top dungeon chalet straight out of a Hammer film. Our host, Paul du Marchie, has been building an architectural fantasy in the middle of the woods for the last 50 years. Dont' miss my eight 360° panoramas!

  Most Popular ¦ Most Recent ¦ By Subject ¦ Last Comments

Copyright FXcuisine 2024 - all rights reserved.
If you do this recipe at home please let me know how it worked for you by submitting a comment or send me a picture if you can. Thanks!


  • #1
  • Comment by thuan
Fantastic 360 photo!  you really put us there!
  • #2
  • Comment by Jason
Thank you fx for taking us along! You're blessed with great experiences.
  • #3
  • Comment by Ben
Not only have you inspired me continuously with food, I've now got to trawl the web for that version of Nikita. my heart jumped when she opened the window and couldn't find a way out. Also, we finally get to see the master connected to his oft featured hands!!
  • #4
  • Comment by Stephani
Thank you, FX for finally letting us see what you look like!
Nice looking place, very reminiscent of my favourite Paris restaurant, Brasserie Flo.  Next time I make the trip from London to Paris for some decent food I may just go to Le Train Bleu instead.  The Cote d'Argent in Calais is good if over for a day trip as well.  The quality of food in France is way above that which is generally available in the UK.  The Bleeding Heart is good for this style of food if you are in London, great cheese selection.
  • #6
  • Answered by fx
Thanks! It's not really something that's done to pull out a huge tripod and snap away pictures of the whole restaurant so I guess we got lucky here!
  • #7
  • Answered by fx
Jason if you ever visit Paris you can share this experience for the price of a coffee, they are open every day and it's in central Paris. I hope you get to visit them one day!
  • #8
  • Answered by fx
Ben thanks for your appreciation! It's a gripping scene and a lot more action and spent shells follows shortly thereafter, a real classic scene. Please don't watch it dubbed in English, the voices suck big time. Yes, the 'master' finally reveals his jolly features!
  • #9
  • Answered by fx
Stephani, thanks for visiting! My friend caught me at a very pleasant moment on this picture, the meal had just ended and I managed to shoot the panorama which I worried the restaurant would not allow.
  • #10
  • Answered by fx
Uncle Hunty thanks for visiting! The Bleeding Heart looks like a rather conservative place considering its name. Reminds of me of Rules in Covent Garden in a way - I'll be sure to check it next time I'm in London.
  • #11
  • Comment by Hirm
The 360 degree panoramic photo made me sigh...  Look at the decor --- so dreamy.  It really made me want to go to Paris!

  • #12
  • Comment by Adriana
It's so nice to finally be able to put a face to your blog! Thanks!
  • #13
  • Answered by fx
Adriana, thanks!
  • #14
  • Answered by fx
Hirm the panorama is only of one of the restaurant's room, there is one even larger at the entrance. Great place, Paris!
  • #15
  • Comment by Beatrice
Hello Francois,

I was reminded that several years ago we did stop at this restaurant waiting for a train to Alsace...the food was not memorable, but we had a nice time soaking up the atmosphere, and the location is handy.  Thanks for the detailed views!  My sister tells me you have a new fan club in California!
  • #16
  • Answered by fx
Beatrice, thanks for referring your sister to my blog! The train bleu is such a great-looking restaurant, definitely makes every last meal there memorable.
That restaurant looks amazing.  One day I plan to take a European trip by train, and I'll put this restaurant down as a 'must see'.  I actually thought at first that it was a train, and had to read your post once more to separate the 'my train was due to arrive at 10 pm' from Train Bleu. Sometimes I just read too fast.  Your clip from La Femme Nikita was very tense - was that a brick wall outside the window at the end?
  • #18
  • Answered by fx
Dee Huff, you won't disappointed if you go eat at le Train Bleu, named after one of the trains that left from this station and adorned with frescoes of each of the many destinations it stopped at. Poor Nikita is told to exit the restaurant through a window that was indeed bricked up. Watch the movie to see what happens to her - you won't be disappointed either!
  • #19
  • Comment by Stephan Eisen
Hi fx,

thank you for your great website. It is really classy and this is a rare thing on the web, isn`t it?
But I really wonder how to make these "360x360 degree" photos?
And the funny thing is one doesn`t find a tripod when looking to the floor!

  • #20
  • Answered by fx
Stephan, thanks for visiting! To shoot 360 panoramas with no trace of the photographer nor the tripod, you need a panoramic head to rotate the camera precisely on the tripod, then to shoot a picture of the floor, then stich everything with care and love like you'd simmer a rabbit. Finally you get a full spherical image. It's a really cool technique I'd been wanting to experiment for about 10 years now, and finally I got the proper gear. It's shot with a Nikon D300, a Nikkor 10.5mm Fisheye lens, 360Precision Adjuste panoramic head and Manfrotto tripod. Then I stitch using PTGui. That's it!
  • #21
  • Comment by shannon in Quebec
Hello! I found your blog only last week and Oh, what a happy occasion that was! After days of browsing to catch up to your many beautiful experiments, interviews and photos, I`m delighted to see a snap of THE Mr. FX, hidden in the middle of one of your photo essays. Who knows what truth lies behind a portrait, but this pic tells me what I need to know: I wish we could hang out together and cook and kid around and feast! Alas, I schlep around my kitchen in search of the ultimate 30-minute family meal, and not over there, but here. And anyhow, maybe you would find me grumpy and tiring. I`m grateful for your humour, your really awesome photography, and for the time you spend writing this blog. Thanks, FX!

  • #22
  • Answered by fx
Shannon, you are very welcome and keep the chin up - I'm sure there are 1001 fun foodies just in Québec alone!
  • #23
  • Comment by MJ
Had a birthday lunch at Le Train Bleu only last week.  Excellent.  Wonderful location (and food) for a celebratory sitdown in Paris.  Pleased to be informed over pudding that we were at Mr Bean's table!  For something more relaxed it has to be Chez Janou.
  • FX's answer→ MJ I hope you guys did not repeat Mr Bean's experience with the mussels!

 Tell me what you think!

Write a comment below to let me know what you think about my article or ask any question you may have.


 E-Mail (required, will not be displayed)


Please follow me on Instagram for lots of new content every week!

Subscribe and you'll never miss an article:
or RSS.

Sponsored links: DHTML Menu By Milonic JavaScript