Pop Culture

Paris on the Silver Screen: Famous Film Locations in the French Capital

Paris has a certain je ne sais quoi that’s earned it the reputation of being one of the most romantic cities in the world. It’s a reputation that has piqued the interest of filmmakers for decades, starting from the days of black and white cinematography right up to the present day.

When you visit Paris, you may experience inexplicable sensations of deja vu even though you’ve never been there before. No, it won’t be the memories of a past life coming back to haunt you. It’ll be because you’ll have seen that same spot you’re standing in as the backdrop in a movie scene.

Producers and directors haven’t just fallen for the romantic allure of Paris, though. They’ve used the city as a filming location in many of the biggest blockbusting action and thriller movies of the past twenty years. Dedicated cinephiles and filmmakers on their way to Paris should definitely make sure they don’t miss out on visiting any of the following famous film locations in Paris. It won’t be a Mission Impossible, and that’s for sure.

As you plan your itinerary full of Paris movie locations, make sure you also have a plan for your luggage. Bounce luggage lockers are conveniently located all over Paris to help you worry less about your luggage and focus more on your film tour.

So where are the famous film locations in Paris?

Champs-Élysées

The Champs-Élysées is a broad, tree-lined mile and a quarter-long avenue in the center of Paris with the Arc de Triomphe at one end and the Place de la Concorde at the other. While it’s world-renowned for its surplus of designer stores, take a stroll along it, and you’ll be following the footsteps of some of the top A-list actors.

Films with scenes shot on the Champs-Élysées include:-

  • 2008 – Taken, starring Liam Neeson
  • 2018 – Mission Impossible Fallout, starring Tom Cruise, shut down the city traffic to film scenes at the Arc de Triomphe.
  • 2006 – The Devil Wears Prada, starring Meryl Streep, filmed scenes at the Fountain des Fleuves in the Place de la Concorde.

The Louvre

The Louvre Museum is one of the most prestigious art museums in the world. Housed in the enormous and very grandiose Louvre Palace, the museum is home to such outstanding works of art as the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo. More outstanding for any cinephile than any artwork the museum may contain is the museum’s iconic and instantly recognizable glass pyramid in the Napoleon Courtyard.

Films that have been shot at the Louvre are from diverse genres and include:

  • 2006 – The Da Vinci Code, starring Tom Hanks, shot scenes inside the museum and in the courtyard in front of the pyramid.
  • 2017 – Wonder Woman with Gal Gadot in the lead role.
  • 2011 – Monte Carlo, a comedy, starring Selena Gomez, Leighton Meester, and Kate Cassidy, saw the three protagonists race through the museum.

The Eiffel Tower

There is no structure more iconically associated with Paris than the Eiffel Tower. Including a shot of the 300-meter high tower in the opening scene of a movie instantly lets the audience know where some, if not all, of the film, will be taking place.

During its lengthy film history, actors have scaled the tower, dined in its restaurants, and danced and crooned on its observation deck. The tower has also been cinematically destroyed by monsters or other means more than a few times.

The wrought iron tower has been seen in romance, action, musical, animation, and every other genre of film in between. The Eiffel Tower is, without a doubt, the most used and represented film location in Paris.

There have been far too many films made on, in, or showing the Eiffel Tower to mention them all by name, but here are a few to give you a general idea:

  • 1957 – Funny Face, starring Fred Astaire and Audrey Hepburn, who sang and danced on the deck.
  • 1965 – The Great Race, a film in which the protagonist destroyed the tower with a cannon.
  • 1967 – King Kong Escapes. King Kong fights off a robot gorilla in front of the tower.
  • 1985 – National Lampoon European Vacation contains comedy scenes on the observation deck.
  • 1985 – A View To Kill, where Roger Moore as James Bond fights off his arch enemy.
  • 2007 – Ratatouille, a Pixar movie where a rat takes over the tower restaurant.
  • 2011 – Hugo, a film directed by Martin Scorsese about a child clock repairer.

Jardin du Palais Royal

The gardens of the Royal Palace in Paris have served as a scenic backdrop for quite a few scenes in well-known feature films. The manicured grounds with their statues and fountains, the facade of the palace itself, and the unique striped column sculpture have all played leading roles as filming locations. They proved photogenic enough to capture the imagination of directors like Woody Allen and Christopher McQuarrie.

Films in which you’ll catch glimpses of the Royal Palace Gardens include:

  • 2011 – Midnight in Paris, starring Owen Wilson and directed by Woody Allen.
  • 2018 – Mission Impossible Fallout.
  • 2010 – The Tourist with Johnny Depp and Angeline Jolie.
  • 2018 – Season 1 of Killing Eve, the hit TV show, also featured the gardens in episode 1.

Gare du Nord

The Gare du Nord is one of the biggest train stations in Paris and one that has made its presence felt on screen on several occasions. Although, admittedly, some of those appearances are more memorable than others. The majestic, palace-style station always does itself justice on screen, no matter how bad the script is.

Good films featuring the Gare du Nord in Paris include:

  • 2002 – The Bourne Identity, an action-packed thriller with Matt Damon as the protagonist.
  • 2013 – Gare du Nord, a French-Canadian film about four travelers who meet at the station.  

So now you know that whenever you get that tingling sensation of deja vu when you’re in Paris, it’ll be because you’ve seen the spot you’re standing in on the big screen. The good thing is, if you fall in love with Paris and want to see it but can’t go, all you have to do is watch one of the above movies, and it’ll be like taking a trip down memory lane.

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