4 hidden movie sets you need to visit in Paris
January 1, 1970
by Lili Lieber
“Paris is always a good idea.” This sentence is always true, especially when it comes to shooting a movie. This short list of four great films will show you how the most romantic city in the world managed to conquer the screens and our hearts.
Ever since I watched this film I wanted to go to Paris and honestly that was quite a long ago, back in 2001. It took 12 more years to finally get there but I loved the city just as much as I expected. Since then I visited several more times and I was able to make a little cinematographic tour around the city too. My first love was Amélie, it had to be the one I checked out first.
The movie takes place around a specific neighbourhood, Montmartre, where Amélie and all the other characters live. You can find the exact cafe, Café des Deux Moulins (15 Rue Lepic, 75018 Paris) where many parts of the movie was shot, this is where Amélie was working as a waitress. Totally worth a visit, they serve delicious breakfast there.
You can also take a tour around Montmartre, even if you were not a huge Amélie fan, you will find this part of the city incredibly charming. Every minute in Montmartre feels like stepping back in time or walking in a movie scene.
But there is a huge setback of Montmartre, it is full of tourist. If you want to escape the crowds, check out another unforgettable scene from Amelie at the Canal Saint Martin, this the part where she was playing stone skipping. The Canal Saint Martin is 4,5 km long canal which leads to the Seine with plenty of great places nearby to chill out.
I think this is my favourite neighbourhood in Paris, off the beaten track but just a few steps from downtown, absolutely not touristy, you can eat with the locals (it will come in handy if you spoke a little bit of French though) and you can have your very own real Parisienne afternoon. And you get enough space to try stone skipping yourself!
The second film on the list is a bit unconventional, modern love story but even so an utterly romantic one. This movie is totally worth a watch if only for the Parisienne scenes.
This is the second part of a trilogy by Richard Linklater, if you haven’t seen the first part- walking through Vienna, or the third- set entirely on a Greek island, give them a try.
The two protagonists- Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy- meet at the Shakespeare and Company bookstore on the bank of the Seine and start walking and talking for a few hours in Paris.
This walk includes a short boat cruise with the Notre Dame and Ile Saint Louis passing by amongst many of Paris’s wonders.
My favourite scene is when they are passing through a beautiful garden and suddenly which connects to a beautiful viaduct.
Well, it wasn’t exactly easy to find this place and now I know why.
It is virtually unknown by tourist which is great, even my friend who lived in Paris did not know about this path. It’s called the Promenade Plantee or with another name Coulée Verte René-Dumont. Is a 4.7 km long abandoned railway track which runs from Opéra-Bastille complemented with newly built bridges. It will lead you through amazing hidden parks and railway tunnels, this is a truly magical journey in the belly of Paris.
Probably the most well known from the movies listed here and for a good reason. The Parisian scenes are perfectly incorporated in the film and I love them a lot.
First the one at the coffee shop, when Leonardo DiCaprio explains to Ellen Page how they work with dreams and the building start to move to form a 90 degree angle.
As I guess many of you, I mostly liked the scene on the bridge with the mirror. This bridge is called Bir-Hakeim Bridge and it is located in South-West Paris.
I really wanted to find this set and when I did see it, it was a very pleasant surprise. In the movie they did not shoot the obvious, the Eiffel Tower which is standing just a hundred meters away from the bridge and you can get a gorgeous panorama to it. (In fact, I think the best panorama and without the crowds.) But there’s another reward: at the middle of this small bridge you can walk down on the stairs to a very small but quite long island on the Seine called Ile aux Cygnes. There’s nothing on the island only a couple of benches, locals with their dogs and the great view to the river and the banks on both sides, very quite and calm. This is all literally 10 minutes away from the tower and from the thousands of people, I would not expect that.
Midnight In Paris
This was not Woody Allen’s first time shooting a movie in Paris, there’s also a classic one that set in this great city and I like a lot too, Everyone says I love you (well, I’m a huge huge Woody Allen fan anyways). But this movie is his love letter to Paris. I could pick several Parisienne scenes from the film but let’s stay with one specific.
The most magical one, that got me, is the one where Owen Wilson is sitting on the pavement and the church bell rings at midnight and the taxi arrives basically just to pick him up and transport him to his beloved, idolized era, the 1920’s.
That place was pretty hard to find, although I was able to get the street’s name right – Church of St Etienne du Mont, rue de la Montagne Sainte-Geneviève – I really had to recognize the curves of the street to find the exact spot. Honest to God, when I was standing there the same bell was ringing (this street is just a few steps from the Pantheon). It wasn’t midnight but I got what i was looking for, my perfect Woody Allen/Paris moment I will never forget.