By Briana Seftel
With a film repertoire that’s arguably the most esteemed in the world, France and film have had a long love affair with one another, both on and off screen. The country has played muse to countless iconic movies, from its luscious lavender fields in Provence to the City of Light. See these eight famous filming locations come alive on your travels!
Montmartre, Paris - Amélie (2001)
The setting of the whimsical French film Amélie starring Audrey Tautou largely took place in the neighborhood of Montmartre. Fans of the film can visit the Café des 2 Moulins where Amelie worked, Au Marché de la Butte, and the park below the Basilica of Sacre-Coeur. Located atop a hill in the 18th arrondissement, Montmartre has served as the inspiration for Belle Epoque artists and several other notable films including An American in Paris and Moulin Rouge.
Pont de Bir-Hakeim Bridge, Paris - Inception (2010)
Connecting the 15th and 16th arrondissements in Paris, the Bir-Hakeim Bridge made a dazzling feature in Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi thriller Inception, where Ariadne learns how to build dreams. The two-level metal bridge, built in the early 20th century, makes a perfect surreal foil to the mind-bending visuals of the film. Follow the footsteps of Ariadne and Dom and enjoy superb views of the Eiffel Tower.
Flavigny sur Ozerain - Chocolat (2000)
You could forget the lovely village in Chocolat starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp? In the film, a mother and daughter arrive at the fictional French village of Lansquenet-sous-Tannes to open a chocolate shop, where they soon win over the stubborn townspeople. The film was actually shot in the medieval village of Flavigny sur Ozerain in Burgundy, named one of the most beautiful villages in France. The real village even has its own sweet history - anise-flavored sweets are still made in the former abbey!
Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val - The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014)
If you count yourself as a fan of The Hundred-Foot Journey starring Helen Mirren, then you’ll definitely have to visit the charming town where the film is set. Located in southern France close to the beautiful Gorges de l’Aveyron, Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val is a perfectly-preserved old world village begging to be explored. Wander the picturesque streets bordered by old houses and don’t miss the covered market every Sunday morning.
Place de la Concorde, Paris - The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
In one of the memorable and final scenes in The Devil Wears Prada starring Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep, Andy gleefully tosses her cell phone into the fountain at the Place de la Concorde (and rids herself of her demanding boss). While we don’t recommend throwing anything into the fountain, you can still head to this beautiful public square in the city’s 8th arrondissement. It has quite a fascinating past - it was once the site of public executions during the French Revolution!
Luberon, Provence - A Good Year (2006)
The Luberon region is often considered the heart of Provence, so it comes as no surprise that it has played muse to writers and filmmakers. Peter Mayle’s wildly popular memoir A Year in Provence was set here, as well as his subsequent novel A Good Year which was turned into a film starring Russell Crowe. In the film, a high-powered London trader is bequeathed his uncle’s home in Provence where he spent many happy summers as a child. Like the character, you too can revel in the effortless beauty of Provence, from the rolling fields of lavender to the charming cafes selling pastis. Rent a car and explore this spectacular sun-drenched paradise.
Saint-Étienne-du-Mont Church, Paris - Midnight in Paris (2011)
This gorgeous church in the Latin Quarter plays a major role in Midnight in Paris, which follows aspiring writer Gil Pender as he travels back in time to 1920s Paris. While sitting one night on the church steps, Pender comes across an old car and hops in, only to find himself meeting F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway! In fact, the same church was mentioned in Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast. It’s worth going inside, as the church contains relics of St. Genevieve, the patron saint of France.
Rochefort - The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967)
This port town in southwestern France - not to be confused with Roquefort, the cheese - plays a starring role in Jacques Demy’s Les Demoiselles de Rochefort (The Young Girls of Rochefort) starring Catherine Deneuve and Gene Kelly. Once a naval base during the 17th century, the charming seaside town was the perfect backdrop to the colorful pastel costumes and jazzy musical numbers in the film. Fans of Demy’s films might also want to visit Cherbourg-Octeville, where the director shot The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.