Paris: Top 10 places to film Amélie

The famous film by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, with the no less famous Audrey Tautou, is an emblematic work of the beginning of the 21st century. In addition to having a lively script, the film is a true homage to Montmartre, but also to Paris as a whole. Here is a selection of places that are both striking and unmissable
Fiction/réalité : Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain

Amélie in Paris

Amélie Poulain has a fabulous destiny in this emblematic Parisian film. Follow in his footsteps, with this selection and the Paris guide of the 1000 cult places of films, series, music, comics and novels.

1. The Café des deux moulins

Amélie Poulain (Audrey Tautou) works as a waitress in this café, which has become an icon of international cinema since Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s film. And yet the director had to insist that the former owner put his cameras there. After discovering the place during a lunch in October 1999, her first request was turned down. At the head of the establishment since 1986, Claude Labbé does not wish to impose any upheaval on the other businesses. Jean-Pierre Jeunet undertakes to do everything possible to cause as little disturbance as possible: no filming on weekends or at delivery times, no cables on the sidewalk or production trucks in the street… After questioning his loyal customers, almost all of whom were favorable, Claude Labbé agreed. He won’t regret it. “With this film, I had a unique and magnificent experience. Today, we come from the United States to visit Les Deux Moulins. Jean-Pierre Jeunet knew how to perfectly transcribe the charm of the Parisian cafés and all the poetry of the neighborhood,” he said at the time of his retirement in 2002. And this link with the work is so strong that he decided to sell his establishment, not to the highest bidder, but to the one “best able to preserve Amélie’s coffee. This coffee still exists and is part of the attraction of the place. The menu is entirely revolved around the film, with some of the best selling crème brûlées, and tourists parade to photograph it. Years after the shooting, some even asked Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Jodie Foster to step aside so as not to be in their shot. They did not recognize either the director or the actress. Only the tobacco counter, run by Georgette (Isabelle Nanty), no longer exists today. During the filming, it happened that smoking customers begged the actress to sell them cigarettes. More than just a coffee, a myth!

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2. Lamarck-Caulaincourt

In all her kindness, Amélie Poulain offers a blind person an express guided tour of Lamarck Street. Once this one is completed, Amélie leaves alone by the double stairs of the metro exit on rue Lamarck-Caulaincourt. It’s also the subway she takes to catch up with her lover. A must see!

Address: Lamarck-Caulaincourt, 75018 Paris

3. The Saint-Martin canal

In a beautiful description of Amélie (Audrey Tautou), the narrator (André Dussolier) lists all the little pleasures that the young woman allows herself. She regularly goes to the lock bridge of the Canal Saint-Martin to perform ricochets. This building allows pedestrians to pass from the Quai de Valmy to the Rue Bichat. In reality, Audrey Tautou couldn’t do ricochets, so this scene was done in CGI in post-production.

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4. Notre Dame de Paris

Every year, her mother (Lorella Cravotta) takes little Amélie Poulain (Flora Guiet) to Notre-Dame Cathedral in the hope that “Heaven would send her a little brother”. In spite of lit candles, no offspring. Worse, as she left the famous place of worship, a Quebec tourist committed suicide by throwing herself off the roof, killing Mrs. Poulain instantly. Started in 1163, the construction of Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral lasted 182 years. She became famous thanks to Victor Hugo’s novel and was featured in many pop-culture works: in films (Is Paris burning?), in series (Perception), in music (Belles of Paris by the Beach Boys), in comic books (L’autoroute sauvage) or in novels (Vango by Timothée de Fombelle). It is one of the most visited French monuments every year. In 1974, Jean-Pierre Jeunet started collecting objects that would be used for Amélie’s souvenirs.

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5. The Abbesses metro station

In the almost deserted Abbesses station, Amélie Poulain (Audrey Tautou) is challenged by the sweet sounds of a Fréhel song, Si tu n’étais pas là. She meets Nino Quincampoix (Mathieu Kassovitz) for the first time. In reality, the scene was filmed at Porte des Lilas, a ghost subway station dedicated to filming.

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6. Au marché de la butte

Au marché de la butte, the grocery store where Lucien (Jamel Debbouze) is persecuted by his boss, Mr. Collignon (Urbain Cancelier), has not changed. Its owner, Ali, has preserved the decorations, including the famous “Maison Collignon” sign and numerous press clippings. It is also possible to buy postcards of the film. Amélie Poulain’s apartment is just above. She can be seen entering through the door at number 58.

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7. The glass with foot

Raymond Dufayel (Serge Merlin) gives the address of the mysterious owner of the memory box found behind the baseboard at Amélie Poulain’s (Audrey Tautou) home. Very shy, the young woman invents a stratagem to find Dominique Bretodeau (Maurice Bénichou): she makes a phone ring in a phone booth when he passes. She does not answer and the man discovers the object of his youth. A few minutes later, she met Mr. Bretodeau at the Verre à pied. He tells the bartender his lovely story. Le verre à pied is a beautiful address in the Montmartre district. Its retro décor of old tiles, old tables and a cast iron stove welcomes regulars and tourists. Cheap, its menu is composed of traditional French dishes. In the film, Mathieu Kassovitz is named Nino Quincampoix, but that’s no accident. This is the name of the village where the cyclist Jacques Anquetil is buried, a great adversary of Federico Bahamontes, as Dominique Bretodeau remembers when opening his memory box.

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8. Studio 28 Cinema

Sometimes on Friday nights, Amélie Poulain (Audrey Tautou) goes alone to the Studio 28 cinema to watch movies. In the dark, she turns to look at the faces of the other spectators in the room. Classified as Art et Essai, this cinema was inaugurated on February 10, 1928. Initially, for the music, Jean-Pierre Jeunet wanted to hire Michael Nyman, composer of The Piano Lesson. But that could not be done. By chance, the filmmaker hears Yann Tiersen’s music during a car ride with one of his assistants who is listening to a cassette. He is a musician close to Nyman’s style but composing with eclectic instruments. He then fell in love with his music and bought the rights to these earlier compositions for his feature film. Yann Tiersen then wrote the main theme of the film, La valse d’Amélie, recorded in numerous variations throughout the film.

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9. Au clown de la République

In the costume shop with its tempting windows, Au clown de la République, Amélie Poulain (Audrey Tautou) is looking for something to wear before her photo booth session. She finds a Zorro costume. She takes a picture of herself and sends a very nice letter with the picture to Nino Quincampoix (Mathieu Kassovitz), her secret lover. In this small shop on Boulevard Saint-Martin, it is possible to feel the same emotions as the young protagonist in front of so many articles. This shop was opened in 1900 and is a great success with many customers. With the exception of two brief scenes, on the phone at Sacré-Coeur and at the Café des deux moulins, Amélie and Nino do not exchange a single line of dialogue in the film.

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10. Admirals’ Pool

Amélie Poulain : Building and swimming pool of the Admirals (Architect : Henri Sauvage) / CC-BY-SA-3.0,2.5,2.0,1.0 / Remi Mathis
Building and swimming pool of the Admirals (Architect: Henri Sauvage) / CC-BY-SA-3.0,2.5,2.0,1.0 / Remi Mathis

The swimming pool which was used as a set in Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s film is now classified as a historical monument. It was closed in 2015 due to works, but is now reopened since November 2017! Go for a swim in this splendid Art Deco style swimming pool!

Address: 6 Rue Hermann-Lachapelle, 75018 Paris

The Fantrippers Buying Board

The Paris guide to the 1000 cult places of films, series, music, comics and novels

The Paris guide to the 1000 cult places of films, series, music, comics and novels

The coolest guide in Paris!

The café of Amélie, the mansion of Untouchables, the jazz club of the finale of La La Land, the Hôtel du Nord of the mythical replica of Arletty “Atmosphere”, the cinema of A bout de souffle, the restaurant of Ratatouille, the quays of the Seine of Midnight in Paris, the secret places of the Da Vinci Code, the grocery store of January in La Traversée de Paris , the Bridge of Inception and Peur sur la ville, the addresses of the spectacular scenes of Mission Impossible 6, but also series Call my agent, Gears, Le Bureau des légendes, Sense8, Sex and The City, Gossip Girl…

Etienne Daho’s Café de Flore, Jay-Z and Kanye West’s hotel in Nas in Paris, Serge Gainsbourg’s Poinçonneur des Lilas metro station, Serge Reggiani and Marc Lavoine’s Mirabeau Bridge, Mc Solaar’s Lyon station…

The places evoked in the comics Adèle Blanc-Sec, Largo Winch, Blake and Mortimer, Michel Vaillant…

But also in the novels of Ernest Hemingway, Victor Hugo, Leo Malet, Daniel Pennac, Marc Levy, Guillaume Musso… you’ll find all the must-see places of Parisian Pop Culture in this new guide.

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By Damien Canteau

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Passionné par l'Histoire, les animés, les Arts et la bande dessinée en particulier, Damien est le rédacteur en chef du site spécialisé dans le 9e art, Comixtrip.

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