SNCF launches new Palace of Versailles trains in France

Five newly refurbished trains decorated with scenes from the Palace of Versailles will begin operating on the RER C line linking Paris with Louis XIV’s iconic palace.

Building on the success of the Versailles-themed trains which first ran in 2012, SNCF Transilien, STIF and the Palace, Museum and National Estate of Versailles have joined forces to create carriages featuring scenes from the French Baroque masterpiece.

The scenes chosen for these Versailles trains capture the opulence of the Palace.

Adapted to the layout of the trains, they have been streamlined to complement a new colourful and vibrant interior design, giving passengers an entirely new perspective inside each carriage.

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The renovation work was performed at SNCF’s Technicentre in Saint-Pierre-des-Corps near Tours by ten full-time employees: one engineer, one quality control supervisor, and eight technical specialists. 

They created trompe-l’oeil effects by applying a high-tech plastic film—941 visuals per trainset.

The renovated carriages give more prominence to the Palace gardens, including the spectacular Latona Fountain which was unveiled in May 2015 after a two-year restoration.

The new trains recreate the world-famous Hall of Mirrors and Hall of Battles, as well as the less familiar parts of the Palace such as the Queen’s Room in the Petit Trianon, the Belvedere on Marie-Antoinette’s Estate, the peristyle (or columned courtyard) of the Grand Trianon, and Louis XVI’s library.

These trompe-l’œil scenes were selected by Paris region commuters in 2009 in a poll marking the 30th anniversary of the RER C regional rail line.

In 2015 some 7.43 million people visited the Estate of Versailles and over ten million toured the Grand Parc.

Approximately 80 per cent of visitors to the Palace of Versailles and the Trianon come from outside France, while the Paris region accounts for about 80 per cent of visitors to the Gardens.