If you’re heading to the city of love this Valentine’s Day, amuse yourself by exploring Paris through Woody Allen’s eyes by taking a trail through the filming locations of his famous movie, Midnight in Paris.
“Paris in the morning is beautiful, Paris in the afternoon is charming, Paris in the evening is enchanting, but Paris after midnight, is magic.” And none could ever reveal this ‘magic’ as did Woody Allen, in this 2011 film Midnight in Paris, that also went on to receive an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. After experiencing this magic on screen, it’s time we get going and live a part of it by visiting these locations from the movie.
Monet’s Garden in Giverny where Gil and Inez’s story begins. The contradictions between the couple become apparent in the beginning itself while Gil admires the garden of the impressionist painter Claude Monet and Inez discards it as ‘fantasy’.
Remember how Gil shut everybody up with his brilliant ‘discourse’ on Picasso’s painting of Adriana? The same painting that Paul was, yet again, incorrect about. That scene is shot here at Musee de l’Orangerie.
The Rodin Museum is where Paul is time and again corrected by the beautiful museum guide. However, Paul fails to agree that he’s not wrong about who Rodin’s wife was.
Gil and Inez visit the Palace and Gardens of Versailles with Paul and Carol. Here Gil shows disinterest in Paul’s pseudo-intellectual talks.
The luxurious Hotel Le Bristol where Gil & Inez stay in Paris is actually one of the most revered hotels in the city. Classic and exclusive, Le Bristol has written many a famous name down in its guest list.
The Parisian restaurant where Gil & Inez have lunch with Inez’s parents. Also where Gil and Inez’s father disagree over ‘democratic rights’. Le Grand Vefour, located in Joinville colonnade is very popular with the Parisian elite and is helmed by the famous Chef Guy Martin. This restaurant is known to serve the creme de la creme of the French society, be it influential political figures, famous artists, or movie stars.
How can one miss the Les Puces de Saint-Ouen, the famous flea market where Gil chances upon a store-keeper Gabrielle, who shares the same love for antiques as Gil does? It’s here that Gil discovers Adriana’s diary from the 1920’s.
Just like the Seine River is the heart of Paris, it is also the heart of the movie; plenty of scenes shot around this river, like where Gil particularly takes a contemplative stroll. Take a walk here at dusk.
The Cathedral of Notre Dame is a gorgeous medieval catholic tourist spot. On the Ile de la Cité island in the middle of the Seine River, Gil and the museum guide (played by Carla Bruni) sit and converse, with this cathedral behind in one of the scenes.
Pay a visit to Deyrolle, that little surreal store that is significant in Gil’s midnight adventures (yes it actually exists and is in fact full of bird figurines).
Take a stroll along the Boulevard Saint-Germain to St-Germain-des-Prés, the avenue with the many cafes that shape the literary scenes of Gil’s adventures. (Les Deux Magots, Café de Flore, Le Precope, Brasserie Lipp and Café Bonaparte)
Shakespeare and Company is an iconic bookstore on Rue de la Bûcherie. For book lovers, this is an ideal place to spend a few good hours browsing English and Parisian novels. In the movie, Gil is seen coming out of this bookstore.
The Latin Quarter of course. The place with the ultimate mysterious element in the film; the zone that Allen chooses to be the one for time-travelling. This part of the city is not as curious actually. You’ll find lots of crowd with quaint cafes lining both sides of the street.
Saint Etienne-du-Mont is the church near the Panthéon in the Fifth Arrondissement. Gil is seen sitting on the steps of this church and is carried away by a vintage Peugeot type 176 car that drops him into his beloved 1920’s. And this is where he returns after each of his midnight adventures.
One of the poster scenes of the movie is shot at Quai de la Tournelle, where Gil and Adriana take a stroll together after partying with the literati. at night, the lamps lights up the street and a walk here can be quite romantic.
After Gil confesses his love to Adriana and they’re pushed further into the past, into Adriana’s favourite era of the 1890’s, Maxim’s de Paris is the restaurant where they end up meeting Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Paul Gauguin, and Edgar Degas.