By the time Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Céline (Julie Delpy) met on a train and sparked romance in the film Before Sunrise, I had long fallen in love with European train travel that spirited me across Europe. I blush when I recall abandoned plans and destination detours due to a chance meeting, a conversation or a wink and a smile aboard a train.
Still, the intrigue of train travel from years gone by beckons; and while I no longer lug a backpack, or wink indiscriminately, the thrill of boarding a train, now in first class with wheeled luggage, remains. Why, people ask, don't I simply fly? It's cheaper.
Oh la la, flying is ever so stressful; airports are horizons away from city centers; and, mon dieu, the lines for luggage, tickets, baggage control, human control, delays, troll-size seats, and foul food, why fly?
Then there is simply the notion of lovers parting, lovers arriving, the flap display rotating at a remarkable rate denoting train and track, and the hustle and bustle of luggage, life and longing to jump aboard when the whistle blows. By now you've packed your bags and are brushing up on your French, so here's the scoop on Parisian train stations, all six of them, straight from the mouth of an unabashed Francophile and past resident of Paris.
But first a little quiz!
Do you know which French train station attracted famous painters and was subsequently painted for a Paris Salon? Do you know which French train station houses a gourmet restaurant? And, for the romantics, curious about what became of Jessie and Celine's chance meeting on a train? Check out Part 2 of the article Romance Is A Rail Ride Away.
And if you're headed to France or Europe before Part 2 comes your way, click on www.RailEurope.com for train travel info.