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Take a tour of famous Paris film locations

10 Mar

Paris’s iconic landmarks and cobbled streets make the perfect film backdrop. With over 900 film shoots taking place in the capital every year, it’s a director’s dream.

From well-known sights to hidden gems, film buffs can easily retrace the steps of their favourite movie characters. Get your walking shoes on and take a trip around some of the city’s most famous film locations with our guided tour.

Here are our top five must-see places:

Le pont Bir-Hakeim
from Christopher Nolan’s ‘Inception’
(metro: Bir-Hakeim)

The Bir-Hakeim bridge inception

The Bir-Hakeim bridge

Begin your day with a walk across the Seine on the Pont Bir-Hakeim. This double-decker bridge saw Ellen Page and Leonardo Dicaprio bend the laws of physics in one of ‘Inception”s eerie dream sequences. You might not be able to move the bridge with your mind, but you will get a good view of Paris. For the romantics amongst you, it’s also where Marlon Brando meets Maria Schneider in ‘Last Tango in Paris.’

Montmartre – Café des Deux Moulins
from Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s ‘Amélie Poulain’
15 rue Lepic (metro: Blanche)

CAFE des deux moulins amelie poulain

Amélie's Café des Deux Moulins

Next stop: the winding streets of Montmartre for a bite to eat in Amélie Poulain’s legendary café. The décor may have changed, but the authentic French atmosphere and service have remained the same. Fans of the film will delight in this tourist haven – and don’t forget to sample her trademark crême brulée for dessert.

L’Avenue des Champs Elysées
From Stanley Donan’s ‘Funny Face’
(metro: Charles de Gaulle)

Now it’s time to conquer Paris’s most famous sights. Look no further than the musical number ‘Bonjour, Paris!’ from ‘Funny Face.’ Make like Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire: march down the Champs Elysées from the Arc de Triomphe down to la Place de la Concorde, through the Tuileries then down by the banks of the Seine. Extra points if you can name all the sights in this clip:

L’Hôtel du Nord
From Marcel Carné’s ‘Hôtel du Nord’
102 quai de Jemmapes (metro: République)

hotel du nord marcel carne

L'Hôtel du Nord

Relive the 1938 French classic in the Hôtel du Nord‘s restaurant. The ideal venue for a candlelit evening meal, the iconic hotel has retained all its glamour and charm. Relax on the terrace with some traditional French food after a hard day’s exploring. Nestled along the Canal Saint-Martin’s banks, the area is also perfect for an evening stroll.

L’Eglise Saint-Étienne-du-Mont
From Woody Allen’s ‘Midnight in Paris’
(metro: Cardinal Lemoine)

saint etienne du mont midnight in paris

Saint-Etienne-du-Mont

Finish your tour as the clock strikes twelve, sitting on the steps of the Saint-Étienne-du-Mont church. Owen Wilson combed the whole of Paris in Woody Allen’s ode to the city, yet this church is one of the lesser known sights from the film. Home to the tombs of Racine and Pascal, you too can bask in the nocturnal joie de vivre celebrated in ‘Midnight in Paris.’

Want more walks? The Mairie de Paris has put together walking tour suggestions for cinephiles to relive their favourite movies, from ‘Hugo Cabret’ to ‘La Mome.’

Off the beaten track: the Canal Saint Martin

31 Oct Canal Saint Martin

Take a trip along the old Canal Saint Martin in one of Paris’s up-and-coming areas.

For most Brits, visiting Paris is seen as a chance to hop from one iconic landmark to the next, taking a photo in each location. Yes, you actually were standing under the Eiffel tower – congrats. Many people don’t think outside of the traditional tourist route and remain unaware of the opportunities that lie in less traditionally beautiful or popular areas.

The canal runs from the bassin de la Villette to the bassin de l’Arsenal, through the 10th and 11th arrondissements. Here’s the bad news: it’s a relatively dilapidated area, the water is a strange murky green and refugees sleep on its banks at night. Yet it’s also a really interesting walk alongside one of Paris’s lesser known historic monuments.

The 4.5 km (that’s 2.8 miles) stroll along the canal is extremely manageable by foot or by bike… take this from an exercise-phobe. Watching barges and tourist boats navigate the series of quaint locks is a highlight.

Napoleon originally created the canal in 1802 to provide Parisians with drinkable water. Please don’t try and drink the water today though. The scenic route offers a great little selection of upcoming bars and restaurants to quench your thirst, as well as quirky shops as you journey from Republique metro station towards la Villette.

La Villette in itself is worth a visit. This up-and-coming area is now a nautical experience in its own right with sailing and kayaking lessons on offer. The canal has been fantastically renovated in this part, and as it widens out you can stop off for a picnic on its edges or watch the alternative cinema’s latest offerings. The open spaces and bustling atmosphere here mark an interesting contrast with the previous more  intimate and leafy surroundings. Enjoy!