Still largely under private ownership, the French rail system only became nationalised under the socialist government of the 1930s. However, the 1920s and 1930s saw a vast network of interconnecting lines in operation, with the Orient Express and the Simplon Orient Express running from Paris to Munich; Vienna; Budapest, and to Milan; Venice; Trieste; Zagreb; Belgrade; Sofia; Istanbul; and Athens, respectively.
Michael Reynolds tells us that 'the snows of Switzerland were only twelve hours from Paris by train. First there was the supper at the upstairs restaurant of Gare de Lyon and then a seven dollar ticket, second-class, on the night train to Montreux.' (Michael Reynolds, Hemingway the Paris Years, New York and London: W. W. Norton and Company, 1999, p.19)