“Once Upon a Time the Orient Express” is a new exhibit that recently premiered at the Institut du Monde Arabe (the Arab World Institute) in the 5th arrondissement of Paris. The exhibit runs from now until August 3, 2014. It shows spectators the universe of the Orient Express, the legendary train that journeyed through Europe in order to reach the Arab world.
The exhibit opens with a bang, showing visitors a reconstituted locomotive composed of three luxury cars. The train is located right at the entrance of the Institute, welcoming all those who pass by the doors. The train, which was seen in the eponymously titled film about the Orient Express, also featured a bar and restaurant. For the exhibit, both a “salon” car and a sleeping car, filled with objects belonging to passengers, are displayed.
Once inside of the Institut du Monde Arabe, visitors are treated to an even more in-depth perspective as they see objects and documents that reveal the legend of the train. It begins with Georges Nagelmackers, the man who conceived the Orient Express, which was put into service in 1883. Guests staying at the Hôtel Louvre Marsollier can explore Nagelmackers’s innovative creation, the history of which is spread out over two floors of the exhibition.
Travel trunks, posters, photographs and historical documents tell the tale of a train that went from Paris to Istanbul during the 19th century. This new mode of transportation was highly symbolic and represented an openness towards other cultures that had never been experienced on such a widespread scale before.
Speaking of cultural openness, a visit to the Institut du Monde Arab is a perfect way to discover not only Arab cultures but also the beautiful 5th arrondissement, one of Paris’s most extraordinary.
Institut du Monde Arabe
1 rue des Fossés-Saint-Bernard
Place Mohammed V 75005