Top 10 filming locations to visit during Heritage Days

The Heritage Days are a real event throughout France, allowing you to visit places usually closed to the public. The opportunity to discover some new filming locations.
Réalité / Fiction journées du patrimoine

Heritage Days and filming locations

Do you want to discover certain filming locations that are often closed to the public? Heritage Days are an excellent excuse to follow in the footsteps of your favourite heroes.

The Porte des Lilas ghost metro station – Paris (75)

Porte des Lilas cinema station - Photo Wikimedia Commons by Yann Caradec
Porte des Lilas cinema station – Photo Wikimedia Commons by Yann Caradec

Entirely dedicated to cinema, a former Porte des Lilas station, disused since 1939, is regularly used for filming. If the characters from Amélie, Julie and Julia or 3 Days to Kill were able to borrow this station, Jean-Jacques Goldman also used it for his video Elle a fait un bébé tout seul, while Microsoft also used the place for its Imagine commercial. Hidden behind a simple grey door, this stop is exceptionally open for Heritage Days. Quiet, we’re rolling!

The Royal Abbey of Moncel – Pontpoint (60)

Founded in 1309 by Philippe le Bel on land confiscated from Philippe de Beaumanoir, jurisconsult of Senlis, the Royal Abbey of Moncel was, until 1792, occupied by nuns. Used as a military hospital, sold, dismantled stone by stone, the history of the place is very rich. Today, the abbey is used more as a reception area but also for filming such as for A Very Long Engagment, Christ(off) or Dangerous Liaisons. a must see.

Museum of the gendarmerie and cinema – Saint-Tropez (83)

Scene from The Gendarmerie - The Gendarme of Saint-Tropez.
Scene from The Gendarmerie – The Gendarme of Saint-Tropez. Photo credit: Société Nouvelle de Cinématographie (SNC) and Franca Films.

From 1879 to 2003, this veritable gendarmerie welcomed a brigade of law enforcement officers before moving to rue François Sibilli. Closed for many years, the town hall decided in 2016 to renovate the premises to install the museum of the gendarmerie and cinema. And for good reason, it was within these walls that the legendary films of the saga The Gendarme of Saint-Tropez were shot. A place to visit, “If only you allow me my sergeant”.

Castle of Vaux-le-Vicomte – Maincy (77)

Castle of Vaux-le-vicomte
Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte. (Photo credit: David Mark from Pixabay)

An incredible 17th century building, the replica of the Palace of Versailles built for Nicolas Fouquet has been used many times in film shoots, including Moonraker, Marie-Antoinette, The Man in the Iron Mask, Brotherhood of the Wolf and the Versailles series broadcast on Canal+. Le Nôtre’s optical effect gardens are also a must-see if you want to slip into the sovereign’s shoes or exclaim “Il est l’or mon seignor!” like Yves Montand in Delusions of Grandeur.

Château de La Motte-Tilly – La Motte-Tilly (10)

Built in 1754, the castle was originally designed as a country residence for the Terray brothers, close to Louis XV. Occupied many times during the conflicts of 1814 and the Second World War, the building made history thanks to Milos Forman’s film, Valmont. On the occasion of the Heritage Days, a tribute will be paid to the director who died in 2018 to mark the 30th anniversary of the film’s release. An event not to be missed from Saturday 21 September from 5pm.

Château de Brou – Brou-sur-Chantereine (77)

Castle of Brou
Château de Brou – Photo Wikimedia Commons by Lomita

Built in the second half of the 17th century, although the dovecote dates from 1545, the Château de Brou was a country residence of the Feydeau family, known to be related to Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac. Enlarged over time, the property remained in the same family until 1844 and Charles-Floréal Thiébaut, whose descendants still own it. Today, the sumptuous residence is rented out for receptions or film or video shootings. Mylène Farmer put her cameras there for her video clip Libertine, Desireless for Voyage, voyage, while the R.I.S Police Scientifique team went there for an episode and Alain Corneau chose this château for his film Le Deuxième souffle.

Hotel d’Avaray – Paris (75)

The capital is once again in the spotlight with the Hotel d’Avaray. This building was built in 1723 and rented to the British ambassador, Horace Walpole. He was the inventor of the concept of serendipity, i.e. to make a discovery in a totally fortuitous way, like Christopher Columbus and America or Viagra. In 1920, it was the turn of the Dutch government to buy the mansion and make it its embassy in France. Rented on a regular basis for filming, the building appears notably in Ruby & Quentin or The Intouchables.

Castle of Anet – Anet (28)

Scene at Anet's castle in Thunderball
Scene at Anet’s castle in Thunderball (Photo credit: EON Productions)

There has been a fortress on this site since the 14th century. It was first dismantled by Charles VII and the remaining buildings were sold to Pierre de Brézé whose family retained the usufruct until the death of his grandson, Louis de Brézé, the husband of Diane de Poitiers. A favourite of Francis I, she asked for the castle to be rebuilt in 1540 and made it one of the most beautiful in France. Now privately owned, the building has endured through the ages with a few ups and downs. Thunderball paid tribute to it in 1965, as did Mary Queen of Scots in 2013.

Village of Gourdon – Alpes-Maritimes (06)

Gourdon - Les Misérables
Gourdon – Les Misérables

From the top of its vertiginous peak of 760 m, Gourdon is recognized as one of the most beautiful villages in France. A strategic military location since Roman times, the incredible city has known crazy stories and was notably visited by Queen Victoria in 1891, sung by Jacques Higelin in Août put in 2010, while the cameras of Les Misérables with Hugh Jackman have immortalized its dwellings.

Mont-Saint-Michel – English Channel (50)

The Mont-Saint-Michel seen from the sky at sunrise. Photo taken by a drone. (CC BY-SA 4.0 / Amaustan)
The Mont-Saint-Michel seen from the sky at sunrise. Photo taken by a drone. (CC BY-SA 4.0 / Amaustan)

One of the most popular tourist sites in Normandy and one of the most visited in France, Mont-Saint-Michel is an incredible village. Built on a rock surrounded by a bay, this incredible city is an emblematic element of French heritage but also in pop culture. Quoted in the novels La Fée aux miettes and The Horla, Mike Oldfield sang it in his eponymous title, Michael Bay immortalized it in Armageddon, while the video games Pokémon X and Y and Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood make it a real playground.

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 Duarte

Friday, September 20, 2019

Passionné par la culture pop depuis son enfance, ses références vont de Donald Duck à Batman en passant par Marty McFly. Fantripper dans l'âme, voyager sur les traces de Ghostbusters, James Bond ou des héros de romans comme Cotton Malone fait partie d'un séjour idéal et réussi !

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