10 filming locations to see within 100 kilometres of Poitiers
Located in New Aquitaine, Poitiers enjoys an excellent location. Close to several other major cities and rich in an incredible cultural heritage, there is no shortage of filming locations within a 100-kilometre radius.
Saint-Pierre-de-Poitiers Cathedral – Carmen Sandiego
1 Rue Sainte-Croix, 86000 Poitiers, France
Seen in the Netflix series Carmen Sandiego, the cathedral of Saint-Pierre-de-Poitiers arouses the admiration of the young heroine. Built at the end of the 12th century, this religious building, the largest in the city, was built on the site of another cathedral, that of Hilaire de Poitiers. In 1912, Saint-Pierre-de-Poitiers received the title of minor basilica from Pope Pius X. First a novel character, Carmen Sandiego has been declined on several edutainment media such as video games as well as two animated series, the most recent of which was released in 2019 on Netflix. The actress Gina Rodriguez (Jane the Virgin), doubles the heroine in the original version.
Law Courts – Jeanne d’Arc
10 Place Alphonse Lepetit, 86000 Poitiers, France
If the filming was done in the greatest of discretions in 1998, Luc Besson, Milla Jovovich and Dustin Hoffman took a few steps in Poitiers. The filmmaker shot the scene of the interrogation in the Salle des pas perdus. This immense 47 m long and 17 m wide play serves as a setting for the dialogue between the consciousness of the young girl, played by the actor of Rain Man, and Jeanne, played by the actress of the Fifth Element. The palace was built in the 9th century for Louis the Pious. It was later the seat of the Counts of Poitiers. It was rebuilt for the counts-dukes of Aquitaine. Around 1104, William IX added a keep, called the Maubergeon Tower. Aliénor d’Aquitaine had a large room fitted out there between 1192 and 1204. Finally, the Duke of Jean I de Berry had the part destroyed by fire rebuilt and the famous Salle des Pas Perdus added. Its triple chimney and its three large windows make it an impressive place. After scouting on the spot, the teams were seduced by this imposing room. Moreover, Joan of Arc was really interrogated in Poitiers in 1429. Ecclesiastical authorities of the city asked him questions, doctors of theology carried out his examination of conscience and matrons, under the eye of the Duchess of Anjou, established his virginity. All this was positive and she was then sent by King Charles VII to go to Orleans, which was then under siege by the English. A commemorative plaque is still visible in the Pictavian city, rue de la Cathédrale. It says: “1429-1929. Joan of Arc is interrogated in Poitiers and her mission is recognized. March-April 1929. Fifth centenary”. It is surmounted by a bronze medallion representing it. In addition, in the Square des Cordeliers, behind the Palais des Comtes, a statue of the young woman was erected the same year as the plaque. It is the work of Réal Del Sarte and is entitled Joan of Arc or Angel of Peace.
Relais restaurant Les Routiers – In the eyes of the world
Le Champs du Chail, N10, 86370 Vivonne
A scene from Eric Rochant’s film, made in 1991, was shot in this restaurant for truckers at the entrance to the city on the RN10, which adjoins the AS24 petrol station at Le champ du Chail. In the eyes of the world is inspired by a true story. In 1982, Philippe, a young man of 16, hijacked a school bus from his technical high school in Soissons to join a young girl living in Veldhoven, the Netherlands. The two teenagers had danced together at the July 14th ball and Philippe had fallen in love.
Cave Monplaisir – What have we done to the good Lord?
57 Quai Pasteur, 37500 Chinon, France
The famous wine tasting scene takes place in the Monplaisir cellar in Chinon. If the Verneuil family is supposed to live in Chinon, few scenes, except aerial views, were shot in the city of Touraine during the first opus. When the announcement of a second part was made, the town hall and the Chinon wine union contacted the production and paid €12,000 on condition that at least three scenes be shot within the city limits. Thus, the Monplaisir cellar was able to benefit from this unique spotlight.
Ruffec Station – Le Dîner de cons
Fast and stealthy, the TGV passes through Ruffec station to get to Montparnasse. On board, François Pignon (Jacques Villeret) and Jean Cordier (Edgar Givry) discuss. The station was opened in 1853 and welcomes around 85,000 passengers every year. However, like in the movie, the TGV does not stop there. Since 2004, judgments have been abolished there, despite several attempts at rehabilitation. The idea for the dumb dinners came to Francis Veber thanks to Jacques Martin. The host of L’école des fans often attended these dinners, on the side of the “Brochant”, the character camped out by Thierry Lhermitte who invites François into the film, organised by Jean Castel.
Musée de l’Atome – Fantomas goes wild
Chinon Nuclear Power Plant, 37420 Oats
Built in 1957, the 55-metre diameter Chinon ball became France’s first nuclear power plant. Between 1963 and 1973, it produced 2.5 TWh of electricity. Just before its commissioning, the Fantômas team went on a rampage and seized the premises to house the laboratory of Professor Marchand (Albert Dagnant), kidnapped by Fantômas (Jean Marais). The modernity of the location made it an ideal shooting location for the second opus of the saga. Today, the Boule de Chinon is home to the Atom Museum, which can be visited free of charge after prior registration. Fantômas se déchaine is the first screen appearance of Olivier de Funès, the son of Louis de Funès, in the role of Michou, the younger brother of the photographer Hélène (Mylène Demongeot). He later gave up his acting career, finding it too precarious, to become an airplane pilot.
Saint-Julien-de-Brioude church – Les Gardiennes
Saint-Julien-de-Brioude Church, 87330 Montrol-Sénard
It was in this beautiful place of worship built in the 13th century that the film’s baptism was filmed. Xavier Beauvois and his teams stayed for two days in this beautiful little town in the Haute-Vienne near the Monts du Blond to shoot important scenes in the film. It was in the summer of 2016 that the cameras started rolling for the adaptation of Ernest Pérochon’s novel. Already used for the 1905 television film, the streets of the town, the local school and the farrier’s shop were the stars of this magnificent feature film, which brought together for the first time Nathalie Baye and her daughter Laura Smet. “Director Xavier Beauvois likes to work with real people, who have the gestures, dress and language of the locals,” says Patrice Marchand, production manager. This is why the parish priest Michel Lamy played his own role in the film. The team also shot scenes in the neighbouring towns of Blond, Mortemart for the church steeples, Bussière-Poitevine and Le Dorat.
Gland – Stay vertical
Gland, 79510 Coulon
After Lozere and before Brest, Léo comes to settle in this small hamlet of two farms, in the place called Verrines. Bewildered, this broke Breton screenwriter is looking for peace and quiet. The French director moves his camera to several locations in the Green Venice: Arçais, La Grève-sur-le-Mignon, and Longèves. He entrusts some of the very special decorations to La Frenaie, a two-Sevrier cooperative that makes yurts in particular. Alain Guiraudie explains his choice of filming in this way: “the mysterious areas of the Marais Poitevin are part of the elements that join the imaginary of the tale”.
Monkey Valley – April
Le Gureau, 86700 Romagne
It is in the zoological park of La Vallée des Singes that a large part of the scenes of the film directed by Gérald Hustache-Mathieu were shot. Opened in 1998, this 16-hectare complex founded by the Dutchman Wim Mager features some 30 species ranging from large gorillas to chimpanzees.
Parc de la Belle – Saint Amour
Rue Anatole de Briey, 86160 Magné
On the wine route, Jean (Gérard Depardieu) and Bruno (Benoît Poelvoorde) stop to sleep in the wooden huts of the Parc de la Belle à Magné. In addition to these superb tree houses, without water or electricity and located in an estate of more than 12 hectares, the Parc de la Belle offers gardens around a 19th century manor house with more than 20,000 plants and varieties of flowers as numerous as they are splendid. During the shooting, Benoît Poelvoorde gave himself without moderation for the important scenes. As Benoît Delépine, co-director of the film, recounted, “You have to know that this scene, like that of the ‘Ten Stages of Alcohol’, Benoît played it very much Actors studio style. In short, it wasn’t grape juice that he drank. And you can see in the picture that Gustave Kervern [the second director of the film, editor’s note] whispers his dialogues to him because he’s so afraid he can’t do it.”
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Cult! movies: 100 mythical places of cinema [French Edition]
Since the dawn of cinema, films have invaded the world and highlighted sometimes unexpected places. Every film location has its secrets. The latter are sometimes as exciting as the feature films themselves.
Did you know that the cemetery where the final duel of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly was built from scratch and that no body lies there? Or that the bus ofInto The Wild has been moved to discourage fans from spending the night there? From the story of the construction of The Bridge on the River Kwai to the incredible encounter during the shooting of the last scene ofIndiana Jones and the Last Crusadeembark on an exciting world tour with the greatest stars of the seventh art. Shiver in the real haunted house ofAmityville and discover the terrifying anecdotes of the making ofApocalypse Now in the Philippines. Visit the building of Blade Runner before stopping at Hogwarts and finally landing in Jurassic Parkin the middle of the Hawaiian archipelago. What if we also took you behind the scenes of the making of the Hobbits’ village of Lord of the Rings ?
Produced by a team of pop-culture specialists and enhanced by numerous anecdotes, Cult! movies tells the secrets of the places that made the history of cinema.
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By Anthony Thibault