Personally, we aren't the biggest fans of saving up all the romance for Valentinesday, but hey, any excuse to visit Paris is a good one. And there's no better destination for a romantic getaway than the City of Lights. If that's the plan, don't forget to bring along The 500 Hidden Secrets of Paris: in this book Parisienne Marie Farman shares 500 surprising and not-so-well-known places to visit, presented in original lists of 5, like this one, about 5 sets of cult films in the city:
1) Le Train Blue - Nikita
The famous restaurant in Gare du Lyon was used as the backdrop for a major scene in Luc Besson’s film in 1991. In this scene Nikita (played by Anne Parillaud) receives a birthday gift, a gun which she needs to use to kill a man in the restaurant. The opulent interior only adds to the intensely dramatic scene. To book a table, visit www.le-train-blue.com.
2) Deyrolle - Midnight in Paris
In Woody Allen’s film (2011) Owen Wilson meets Marion Cotillard at Deyrolle (46 rue du Bac, 7th Arrondissement) for a wedding reception. The famous taxidermy shop, which has become a cabinet of curiosities, is one of the many Paris spots that the director has incorporated in the film. More info about this strangely alluring shop on www.deyrolle.com.
3) La Grande Cascade - Belle de Jour
In Belle de Jour, a film by Louis Bunuel from 1967, the heroine (played by Catherine Deneuve) works as a prostitute in the afternoon. She meets one of her ‘customers’ on the terrace of La Grande Cascade, a restaurant in Bois du Boulogne in the 16th Arrondissement. The elegant setting is perfectly suites to the nature of this discreet encounter with a mysterious man. For reservations and info: www.restaurantsparisiens.com.
4) L'Opéra Garnier e.a. - Marathon Man
This film by John Schlesinger (1976) stars Dustin Hoffman among others. Several scenes were filmed in Paris. Some of the sets include the flea market of Saint-Ouen (18th Arrondissement) where the rude welcome by the stallholders is slightly exaggerated, the legendary Le Dôme brasserie on the boulevard du Montparnasse (6th Arrondissement) and finally the Opéra Garnier (9th Arrondissement) and its staircase, which is magnificently filmed.
5) Place Saint-Blaise - Les tontons flingueurs
The last scenes of this film from 1963 by Georges Lautner, with dialogue by Michel Audiard and some amazing French actors like Lino Ventura and Claude Rich, were filmed in and around the church of Saint-Germain-de-Charonne, in place Sainte-Blaise, in the 20th Arrondissement. Take a brief pilgrimage to this place and experience the atmosphere of this legendary film.
___ Texts: Marie Farman