The new service will launch in 2024, travelling between the French capital and Turkey’s centre of culture and heritage on 17 original Orient Express carriages, dating from the 1920s-1930s.
The wood-panelled cars - from the Nostalgie-Istanbul-Orient-Express incarnation of the great train - are being restored and polished up in time for the journey’s launch before the Paris 2024 summer Olympics.
Behind the project is hotel group Accor, which had previously announced an Italian “Orient Express” service, La Dolce Vita, to commence in 2023.
These two new routes are not to be confused with Venice-Simplon-Orient-Express, which is owned by Belmond hospitality group and runs between London and Venice, with other routes recently launched to cities like Amsterdam and Florence.
Both companies will license the “Orient Express” name and use vintage OE carriages, but operate separately.
The new “Nostalgie” train will feature 12 sleeping cars, one restaurant car, three lounges and one van, with the vintage carriages’ Art Deco features - Morrison and Nelson marquetry, Lalique panels - refurbished and added to with new luxurious furnishings.
Tasked with the mission of reimagining the Paris-Istanbul train, architect Maxime d’Angeac says: “The rebirth of the Orient Express is a technological challenge, meeting scientific, artistic and technical criteria, where the entire project has been conceived as a work of art.
“From the nuts and bolts stamped with Orient Express’ signature to the innovative concept of the suites, an exact science of detail will allow travellers to rediscover the great splendour of the Orient Express.
“Entrusted to the best artisans and decorators specialising in their unique fields, this embassy of French luxury will unveil a setting of absolute refinement, faithful to the art of tailoring.
“It will be an incomparable train travel experience, imagined through a contemporary vision of comfort and extreme luxury.”
The original Orient Express train ran services across Europe between 1883 and 2009 before ceasing operation due to a drop in popularity.
However, with a renewed interest in train travel across Europe, sleeper trains and flight-free journeys, multiple companies are taking advantage of its image of golden age glamour and high luxury.
In the 1970s, Belmond hotels founder James Sherwood bought several dilapidated carriages at an auction, restored them and launched the Venice-Simplon-Orient-Express in 1982.
In December 2021, a luxury rail tourism project was announced by Arsenale S.p.A. in association with Orient Express of Accor Group to revive another generation of “Orient Express” trains.
“Six trains will embark through several iconic itineraries across 14 regions and beyond, including three international destinations from Rome to Paris, Istanbul and Split,” said a statement from Accor.