Famous film locations in France
PUBLISHED: 15:07 22 December 2016 | UPDATED: 15:57 03 January 2017
From little villages in the South-West to the bright lights of Paris, many films were shot in France for its picturesque scenery and unique atmosphere. Did you recognize any of these locations?
Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain
Probably French cinema’s best-loved character, Amélie lives and works in Montmartre in the French capital and the film is full of idealised shots of the Parisian district. The opening sequence was filmed just behind the Sacré-Coeur for instance and Amélie buys her groceries at the Marché de la Butte in Rue des Trois Frères, while the nearby métro station Lamarck-Caulaincourt is where she offers a blind man a colourful description of the nearby market. She works at the Café des 2 Moulins at 15 Rue Lepic which is full of Amélie memorabilia.
Flavigny-sur-Ozerain, Côte d’Or
This little village in Burgundy is the setting for most of Lasse Hallström’s film Chocolat. Wander the winding cobbled streets and you will recognize many scenes, including Rue du Four where Juliette Binoche’s character opens her chocolate shop in the middle of Lent, much to the dismay of the village mayor. The main square and the mayor’s house were also set here but the riverside scenes were filmed down in Dordogne.
The Hundred Foot Journey
This charming village of Occitanie, set on the banks of the Aveyron river, is the perfect setting for the 2014 film The Hundred Foot Journey which sees a raging dispute between a gourmet and snobbish restaurateur and her new Indian neighbours. Most of the exterior scenes were shot here and you can relive the drama at the café on Place de la Halle and the medieval market place, but the film’s restaurant is in the neighbouring village of Carlus.
The famous Christmas film features Colin Firth (Jamie) who heads to the south of France to write his new book. Some scenes feature Aix-en-Provence and lovely Bouches-du-Rhône scenery. The exterior shots of his house were shot in Vidauban in Var while one of the final scenes was shot in the Old Port of Marseille, when Jamie rushes back from London to declare his love to Angela. The scene takes place in the Bar de la Marine which still exists under that name.
A Good Year
The story of a London banker who inherits a rundown vineyard in Provence, A Good Year has stunning shots in the south of France. Château la Canorgue, just outside the village of Bonnieux, was used as the vineyard in the film. Gordes is where Max (Russel Crowe) meets his love interest Fanny (played by Marion Cotillard) in the bar Le Renaissance in the main square and the small lake in the centre of Cucuron is the setting for their first date.
Bir Hakeim, Paris
One of Christopher Nolan’s film‘s most spectacular scenes takes place beneath the Bir Hakeim métro bridge in the 6th arrondissement. Leonardo di Caprio and Ellen Page’s characters watch the buildings bend over themselves as they manipulate the architecture of the district and place huge mirror-like doors under the bridge in their dream. You could also sit as they did at the terrace of the Italian delicatessen Da Stuzzi, on 6 Rue César Franck, which was renamed as Café DeBussy for the film.
Monet’s Gardens, Giverny
Midnight in Paris
This Woody Allen film begins in Claude Monet’s stunning gardens in Giverny in the Eure département in Normandy. The scene sees Gil (Owen Wilson) talk about his love for the romantic image of old Paris. The film is then just a series of iconic, and sometimes cliché, scenes of Paris from the glitzy hotel Le Bristol to the little streets of the Left Bank. Further scenes were also shot in Versailles castle and several Parisian museums.
The catacombs, Paris
As above, so below
If you are planning on visiting Paris’ fascinating catacombs, don’t watch this horror movie beforehand. The film sees a group of people take a forbidden path into the underground galleries and encounter terrifying unexplained phenomena and strange beings. Although it may not be the best of movies, the film mentions some intriguing urban legends about the catacombs. There are real hidden entrances scattered around Paris but it is strictly forbidden and highly dangerous to venture in these galleries as you can easily get lost.
Michael Bay’s dramatic science-fiction blockbuster, featuring an asteroid the size of Texas about to destroy Earth, includes plenty of establishing shots that were filmed in Brittany and northern France. Places include the bay of Mont-Saint-Michel in Manche, the town of Dinan in Côtes-d’Armor or Saint-Coulomb in Ille-et-Vilaine but the team travelled throughout the départements of Manche and Ille-et-Vilaine and even filmed a few scenes in Paris.
For her film about one of France’s most famous royal figures, Sofia Coppola was given unprecedented access to the Palace of Versailles and most of the action therefore takes place there, including the Queen’s Petit Trianon and the Hameau de la Reine. Other scenes were shot at the Paris Opera and in the castles of Vaux-le-Vicomte, Chantilly and Millemont.