It was upon the occasion of the Universal Exhibition in 1900 that the Paris-Lyon-Mediterranean (PLM) Company built the restaurant. In the beginning, it was called the “Buffet de la Gare de Lyon” (Lyon Station Buffet).
It was renamed “Le Train Bleu” in 1963, in tribute to the celebrated “Paris-Vintimiglia” service, then granted historical monument status in 1972 by André Malraux.
The establishment also owes its renown to the forty-one paintings on its walls and ceilings - the most famous amongst them represent the landscapes traversed by the trains of the PLM network – and its waxed parquet flooring, wood panelling, the patina of the long, leather-upholstered wall-seats, white tablecloths and logotype crockery.
Since its inauguration by Emile Loubet, the President of the French Republic, on 7th April 1901, customers have been flocking to the restaurant. Regulars have included Coco Chanel, Brigitte Bardot, Jean Cocteau, Salvador Dali and Jean Gabin.
More recently, Luc Besson immortalised the restaurant in his film “Nikita”. The restaurant is still as popular as ever: some 500 diners are served every day at the Train Bleu.