Riding the High-Speed French Rails with Christian Lacroix
27/01/2011 § Leave a comment
I have always regarded travelling by train in Europe a most genteel and classy way to see the Continent. (Sidenote: The experience of riding trains in America simply pales in comparison. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy riding the Acela along the eastern seaboard, but you have to admit it just isn’t the same.) In my mind’s eye, I look exactly like Audrey when I alight on the platform of a luxurious train, complete with dramatic steam clouds and polite, gloved porters with exotic accents…
Alas, I will let you know that reality isn’t quite that glamourous. Obviously, here I refer to the level of style and luxuriousness of said train, and not myself. I am the epitome of a perfectly pulled-together picture of a globetrotter: someone who never loses her train tickets, never gets lost, never misses her stop, all accomplished while wearing beautiful clothes with nary a travelling wrinkle to be found. All right, all right, ma chère, perhaps I embellish the truth. But only very slightly!
With the exception of a small number of high-end rail excursions, train travel has lost some of its more refined qualities over the years, most likely owing to the advent of air travel and the obvious need to provide a cost-effective method of transportation to the largest segment of the population. Train travel today is cheap, effective and utilitarian — but it’s lost the style of yesteryear.
Thank goodness that France’s national railway company, the SCNF, recognized this dilemma a few years ago. They teamed up with French designer Christian Lacroix to entirely re-do the interiors for their high speed TGV trains. Brought to my attention by the travel site Been-Seen, Lacroix has designed a series of modern spaces that are streamlined and colorful. While not a recreation of the luxury train cars of old, these interiors hearken back to an era when more care was taken in designing the passenger areas of methods of transportation. Parfait for my next trip! J’adore!
Hop over to Been-Seen to see more images.