There’s no denying that riding Europe’s extensive train network is a popular option among travellers wanting to explore the continent in a more classic mode of transportation. Despite that popularity, however, the last several years have seen a decrease in overnight train services. By
Only in recent months have there been signs of an overnight train comeback, with national rail providers announcing new routes.
Seizing on the open market, one French startup is stepping in to fill the void not only by offering overnight trains to and from Paris but also by doing it in style. Founded by Adrien Aumont and Romain Payet, the company recently revealed its plans to overhaul the basic overnight train experience to offer what its website describes as a “hotel on rails.”
Appropriately named Midnight Trains, this red-eye rail service will connect Paris to 12 European cities, including Edinburgh, Porto, Rome and Copenhagen. Along the way, guests will have their own private room with a bed and bathroom. Room configurations are designed for solo travellers, duos, and even friends or family travelling together.
But passengers won’t need to be stuck in their rooms for the entire journey. Midnight Trains will also feature a bar and restaurant with seasonal products, homemade cocktails, craft beers and wines. And since this is a “hotel on rails,” guests can also opt for room service and have their meals and drinks brought directly to them.
“Transport operators (air or rail) have been focused on reducing prices for the last two decades, totally forgetting the customer experience and associated services,” co-founder Payet told CNN Travel. “We think that travellers are now looking for a more comfortable and convenient way to travel.”
Payet and Aumont also believe Midnight Trains will be an attractive option for travellers who are more concerned about their carbon footprint and sustainability.
“Travellers are more and more conscious about the ecological impact of air travel and they need an alternative,” Payet told CNN Travel. “Air travel produces high carbon emissions. With these hotels on rails, we want to create a more comfortable, convenient, seamless and sustainable alternative.”
The first route will launch in 2024, with the hotel on rails expected to be fully operational by 2030. Though it’s currently unclear how much a ticket will cost for an overnight ride on one of these trains, the founders say prices will be competitive with flight options, while also saving customers from paying for a night of accommodations.
For more information, visit the Midnight Trains website.
Jessica Poitevien is a Travel + Leisure contributor currently based in South Florida, but always on the lookout for the next adventure. Besides travelling, she loves baking, talking to strangers, and taking long walks on the beach. Follow her adventures on Instagram.
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