The legendary train has recently announced a new route that captures the joy of slow travel with all the excitement of an exhilarating Alpine adventure. Kicking off next winter, passengers will be able to choose between four winter journeys that trek between Paris and one of the highest mountain ranges in the world—the French Alps. And the best part? You can enjoy the frosty, picturesque landscapes without ever leaving the railcar.
Launching in December 2023, the 17-carriage train will chug through the unspoiled French countryside and up to stations including Albertville, Moûtiers and Bourg-Saint-Maurice. Beginning in Paris, you’ll be treated to a round of cocktails in the evening at Bar Car ‘3674’ followed by seasonal dishes prepared by chef Jean Imbert, who joined the company’s culinary team earlier this year. The next morning, enjoy French-style pastries from the comfort of your cabin, where you gaze out at the stunning Savoie region. A heartier brunch will then be served before you partake in any Alpine activities. There will be, of course, a chance to explore the world’s best slopes, as you’ll have access to three of the area’s premier ski resorts and terrain including Mont Blanc; Courchevel and Three Valleys; and Tignes-Val d’Isère.
Throughout the interior, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express oozes 1920s glamour. Think glossy cherrywood paneling in the carriages, velvet furnishings and Art Deco decor. And, to further enhance your luxe journey, you can choose to stay in a new cabin category, composed of eight lavish lodgings, that’s also set to debut in 2023. Each Grand Suite will come with a marble en suite bathroom, a lounging area that can be converted into a double or twin bed and a 24-hour cabin steward. Added perks include a complimentary kimono and slippers.
“Travel is back but we all must travel better . . . Our goal is to curate guest experiences that will enrich the connections between our guests and the destinations,” says Roeland Vos, President & CEO of Belmond, in a press release. “We will continue perpetuating the legendary art of travel—leading the industry by setting new standards of luxury—standards that are defined by one-of-a-kind authentic experiences and genuine connections.”
The anticipated French Alps excursion comes not long after Belmond’s Venice Simplon-Orient-Express revealed that for the first time since its inaugural journey in 1982, it would be extending annual season. Typically, the train only runs from March to November. However, throughout the month of December 2022, the brand offered 10 one-night excursions to festive destinations including Florence, Paris, Venice and Vienna.
Ready to hop onboard? An overnight stay in the Historic Cabin starts at £3,785 per person ($4,582). Or, if you opt for one of the new Grand Suites, it’ll run you £7,300 per person ($8,837).