In the long history of tourism, the train has always held a special place, a symbol of democratization with the first trip organized in 1841 by the Englishman Thomas Cook, or a dream of luxury and adventure on the Orient Express inaugurated in 1883 by the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons lits of the Belgian Georges Nagelmackers, and which continues to this day through Belmond ‘s Venise Simplon Orient Express .
After the success of the French or Spanish projects of the Puy du Fou or Toledo carried out by his father, the Frenchman Nicolas de Villiers has now launched the Grand Tour , an innovative spectacle based on a rail cruise full of surprises.
Taking advantage of the opening of the railway network to private companies, the Puy du Fou imagined a 4000 kilometer tour of France in 6 days and 5 nights, leaving Paris and stopping in cities emblematic of French history and culture. Spectators will experience unprecedented experiences in Epernay with the Dom Perignon cellars, in Reims with the Cathedral of the Kings, in Beaune with its Hospices, in Avignon with the Palace of the Popes, in Aix with the atelier of Paul Cezanne. Near Bordeaux, you will sail on the Arcachon lagoon before discovering the exotic setting of the Cos d’Estournel vineyards. On the last day, a romantic moment in Chenonceaux, the castle of the three ladies, and a visit to the Puy du Fou will end this exceptional tour with a golden key.
To enjoy this unique spectacle, the Puy du Fou imagine the most unusual of theaters, an authentic “Belle Epoque” train conceived as a work of art, with comfort and beauty. With a total of eight cars, the convoy will consist of two 15-cabin sleeping cars, two restaurant cars and a bar car where travelers will be attended by 15 crew members dressed in period uniforms. With every detail recalling the great time of the train, the organizers promise that the “Grands Tours” will be spectacular and poetic experiences, immersions in space and time, in an initiatory journey in the geography and history of France.
Life on board will have the same importance as the places visited, with a permanent immersion in history. In addition to the presence of the chef, the tender bar and the animation team, visits by artists, comedians, musicians, somlieans or speakers are also planned. Nicolas de Villiers is keen to remember that the Grand Tour did not come to compete with the luxury night trains – the cars will be stopped during the nights to provide more comfort for passengers. It will be an exclusive show with a high cultural content for a maximum of 30 people on each trip, with only 23 departures in the first year and up to 40 in subsequent years. Even if the exact date of the first trip has not yet been announced (it would be spring or summer 2023), it is now possible to make a pre-booking on the website www.legrandtour.com.