In a throwback to pre-revolutionary days, Russian Railways just launch a regular train service between Moscow and Nice, a southern French city popular among Russian social elites and wealthy businessmen. The Moscow-Nice route existed from the late 19th century until the start of WW1 in 1914 and its resumption in the Russia-France cross year underscores the friendly relations between the two nations.
The new train service, which will operate once a week, will leave from Moscow’s Belorussky Station on Thursdays and arrive in Nice about 53 hours late. The return train will leave Sunday afternoon and arrive in Moscow late Tuesday. The train will travel through Smolensk, Minsk, Warsaw, Vienna, Milan and Genoa.
French Riviera Luxury Train has three deluxe carriages, six first-class carriages, and one second-class carriage. Between Moscow and Brest, the train has two restaurant carriages of the Federal Passenger Company’s Moscow subsidiary, and on the Warsaw – Nice – Warsaw part of the journey, the train has two restaurant carriages of the PKP Intercity company (Poland). The restaurant carriages offer Russian and European cuisine, with menus provided in Russian and English. Restaurant staff speak Russian, Polish, and English.
The train are furnished with plush carpets and reproductions of paintings by the French master Matisse. Individual compartments have private showers, toilets and televisions, to ensure passenger comfort over the 3,300-kilometre (2,050-mile) journey.
Ticket prices for the whole Moscow – Nice journey range from €306 ($412) for second-class, up to €1200 ($1,615) for a deluxe-class compartment occupied by a single passenger. A flexible pricing system is in place for children up to 12, young people up to 26, and passengers over 60, as well as for groups of six or more passengers and travelling couples. The ticket cost includes hand luggage of up to 35 kg for each adult ticket, and 15 kg per ticket for children under 12. Passengers of all ticket classes may bring small dogs and birds if they purchase all tickets in their compartment.
Nice became an established resort for Russian high society after the Romanov family built a vacation home there in 1856. It has one of the largest Russian Orthodox cathedrals outside of Russia as well as a Russian cemetery.