Top 10 Most Unusual Shooting Locations

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Unusual by their stories or their locations, a short tour of the most incredible filming locations.
Réalité/fiction lieux insolites

What drives a director to take his team to an abandoned amusement park or a prison? No one knows, but the result is striking. Discover our top 10 most unusual filming locations!

1. Villepinte prison (France), the first of the unusual – Eva

What better way to represent the prison world than a real prison? The one in Villepinte hosted Benoît Jacquot’s cameras for the film Eva with Isabelle Huppert. Not only did the filming take place in a real setting, the supervisors were also able to play their own roles, a real guarantee of authenticity. More and more remand prisons are playing the game, with the rental of the premises providing additional income for these institutions with limited budgets.

Address: Avenue Vauban, Villepinte, France

2. Lake Palace in Udaipur (India) – James Bond: Octopussy

Unusual filming locations: Lake Palace Udaipur - Photo credit: rawalkiran from Pixabay
Lake Palace Udaipur – Photo credit: rawalkiran from Pixabay

Probably one of the most mythical but also the most unusual filming locations of the 007 saga. This white luxury hotel is built on a very small island, so small that the hotel has completely covered it, giving the impression that it floats on the waves. Jacqueline Kennedy and Queen Elizabeth were among the famous guests of this 83-room and suite palace built in 1965.

Address: Udaipur, India

3. Submarine base in La Rochelle (France) – Indiana Jones and the adventurers of the lost ark

Submarine base

Indiana Jones breaking into the underwater base, all the fans of the famous archaeologist remember it. However, this scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark was not shot in Egypt but in La Rochelle (France). On 23 June 1980, Steven Spielberg and his film crews set up their cameras in the submarine base at La Rochelle. It was then in the spotlight because a few months before, Wolfgang Petersen shot the beginning and end sequences of his film Das Boot taking place in 1941. The German director used the interior and surrounding exteriors for his scenes, including the very narrow passage in front of the lock. A friend of Spielberg’s, Petersen told him about this place, which had remained identical to its construction. This submarine base was built between 1941 and 1943 by the Todt Organization, a German company. It was part of the famous Atlantic Wall that the Germans built during the Second World War to protect the coasts. This bunker, then called the submarine base of La Pallice, named after the district of the city where it is located, sheltered the submarines (U-boots) of the Kriegsmarine. It could accommodate up to six.

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4. Ville Evrard psychiatric hospital in Neuilly-Sur-Marne (France) – Polina

One of the most important psychiatric care centres in Ile de France, Ville Evrard has many unused buildings, some of which date from the 16th century. Thanks to this, period films, detective series or filming for the end of year projects of the Femis film school, there is something for everyone, right up to the feature film Polina which transformed an entire floor in order to reconstitute a school for young Russian dancers.

Address: 202 Avenue Jean Jaurès, Neuilly-sur-Marne, France

5. Old City Hall station in New York (New York, USA) – Fantastic Beasts

Unusual filming locations : Old City Hall station - Fantastic Beasts
Old City Hall Station – Fantastic Beasts

As we mention in our New York guide of the 1000 cult places of films, series, music, comics and novels, the historic City Hall station, opened in 1904, has been recreated in the studio for the final battle scene and the discovery of Grindelwald. Closed since 1945 when trains became longer and required larger platforms, it is still possible to discover it today. To do so, take Line 6 to its terminus “Brooklyn Bridge – City Hall”. Don’t get off the subway. After a short break, he will make a U-turn in this sublime abandoned station that you can then admire.

Address: City Hall Park, New York, USA

6. Six Flags Park in New Orleans (Louisiana, USA) – Jurassic World

Six Flags Park in New Orleans - Wikimedia Commons photo by Chris Woodrich
Six Flags Park in New Orleans – Wikimedia Commons photo by Chris Woodrich

On the gloomy side, an abandoned amusement park always makes its little effect. Built in 2000, this leisure complex was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and was closed both as a result of the disaster and the low income generated by the site. However, this site did the business of Jurassic World‘s production team to recreate the amusement park with dinosaurs.

Address: 12301 Six Flags Pkwy, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

7. House in Tujunga (California, USA) – E.T.

Elliot’s House

The Elliot’s house, the little boy who becomes friends with E.T., is located in Tujunga, California. With the interior scenes of the house being filmed at Laird International Studio in Culver City, Steven Spielberg wanted to have an exterior of a house nearby to cut costs. Unusually, the house is built on the site of a former prison camp. In the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, the U.S. government decided to round up Japanese Americans who might be a risk to the homeland in camps. This is one of them. Originally, E.T. was thought to be a horror film, but when the director preferred to adapt Melissa Mathison’s script, the film became the fantastic comedy we know.

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8. Sewer in Paris (France) – Hunger Games

During Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Gale (Liam Hemsworth) flee monsters through the sewers. The actors actually shot in a sewer, cleaned for the occasion, but very narrow and damp. When you know that the American actor is 1.91m tall, shooting in difficult conditions and out of his size is a real challenge.

Address: Esplanade Habib Bourguiba, Pont de l’Alma, Paris, France

9. Former station Porte des Lilas in Paris (France) – Nox,Amélie, Supercondriaque, À bout portant

Unusual filming locations : Former station Porte des Lilas - Amélie
Old station porte des Lilas – Amélie

In our Paris guide of the 1000 cult places for films, series, music, comics and novels, this station, closed to the public since 1939, is a favourite with filmmakers. Most of them choose to turn there because they do not have the same constraints as in real conditions, and RATP even provides them with metro trains with a driver. It can only be visited once a year: in September, during Heritage Days.

Address: Porte des Lilas, Paris, France

10. Yankee Pedlar Inn in Torrington (Connecticut, USA), the last of the unusual – The Innkeepers

Yankee Pedlar Inn - The Innkeepers - Photo Wikimedia Commons by Doncram
Yankee Pedlar Inn – The Innkeepers – Photo Wikimedia Commons by Doncram

What better set for a horror movie than a haunted hotel? Telling the story of an old inn taken over by an enterprising young couple, The Innkeepers chose its location very well, to say the least, with the allegedly haunted Yankee Pedlar Inn. Legend has it that the first owner, Alice Conley, died in room 353 and since then paranormal activities have continued to occur. During the filming, even Ti West, the director, who is skeptical about spirit manifestations, confessed to having witnessed many inexplicable events: a television set switching on and off, doors slamming, flickering lights… Charming.

Address: 93 Main Street, Torrington, Connecticut, USA

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

Monday, October 1, 2018

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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