Rolling countryside scenes, dramatic coastal views and the streets of Paris have formed the backdrop of many cinema classics.
Such scenes lie at the heart of Abigail de Bruyne's business idea, Le Movie Tour- Set in Paris, which promises to take film fans to hidden corners of the capital and shine a light on the stories within.
Here Abigail answers a few questions about the business, but also highlights some of her favourite Paris film scenes and why the silver screen has such an appeal to many.
What is your own background, do you come from the world of film and cinema? How did the idea for the film tours take shape?
Since watching Gigi as a little girl, I always dreamed of moving to Paris. My background lies in business and event management in the UK. I feel coming from a non-film background has been an advantage, allowing me to explore the city through the wondrous eyes of a new inhabitant. Our tours are as much about Paris as a dynamic beautiful city as they are about films.
I had just watched the grand finale of the Sex & the City series and wanted to find all the places Carrie frequented in Paris – her hotel, the restaurant with that stunning top floor view and the amazing square she strolled through where Alesandr Petrovsky turned to her with the great line ‘in Paris, you never know where the day will lead you!’
There wasn’t much information available for movie and TV show locations, so I started creating my own treasure hunt and it wasn’t long before friends and family became as enthralled as I on my quest, requesting me to take them to the places I’d found. Thus, the idea for movie tours took hold.
What particular challenges have you faced with starting the business?
The biggest challenge has been refining a route for the tour. I want to incorporate everything for people coming to Paris – a good overview of the city, its great tourist sights as well as the best and more unusual movie locations. Initially, I wondered if I’d have enough locations for a tour. However as I delved further into my two years of research, my biggest challenge has become choosing from such a wealth of fun locations.
Can you provide a pick of one or two film stops and what the stories behind them are?
One of my personal favourite locations would be Café Louis Phillippe, featured in Gossip Girl and the Ninth Gate – it is tucked away in a quiet corner and very un-touristy so when I discovered it, it was magic. To see it in the flesh and go for a drink there was incredible. It is next to Inspector Clouseu’s flat in Pink Panther and Kevin Costner recently filmed his new movie Three Days to Kill right outside. This is the experience I want to share.
Les Jardins de Palais Royale are also really special. The Tourist, One Day and Something’s Gotta to Give were all filmed in the cafés scattered around the square as well as Coco Chanel’s favourite restaurant. With its fountain in the middle and and tree-lined arcades, it is always a joy to watch tourists’ faces as they discover this gem.
What will they experience? A new and exciting way to discover the city of lights... camera, action!
Le Movie Tour is an English-speaking three and a half hour luxury bus tour of Paris incorporating the many popular tourist sites, such as the Louvre Pyramid, Notre Dame and Place Vendome, placing these sites and many new cafés, restaurants, shops, parks and museums in the context of big popular Hollywood blockbuster movies and TV shows shot on location in Paris.
It has something for everyone – from romantic films and TV shows such as One Day, Sex & the City and Gossip Girl to action movies like Bourne Identity, Bond and Taken to cartoons like Ratatouille and the Hunchback of Notre Dame.
As well as stops for exploring and photo opportunities, we have a half hour coffee stop, so people should bring along money if they wish to purchase a cup of coffee or something stronger. Bottles of water are offered on the tour so you don’t have to purchase drinks if you do not wish to.
Tours are offered Wednesdays and Saturday afternoons between 2pm and 5.30pm from 3 July 2013. Each tour has a friendly, knowledgeable tour guide. Tickets are on sale for €65 for adults and €50 for children with family/group discounts available. Private tours of Le Movie Tour as well as personalized and themed tours will be available from this time also – bookable at anytime and offered in many languages.
What is it about Paris and the cinema that brings directors, actors and film fans to its streets?
Paris is in many ways a central character in the films she hosts, much more than just a stunning backdrop. She has the power to evoke poignant imagery steeped in history, romance and escapism.
‘…Paris is special...Love, sophistication, eroticism, danger, class struggle, violence, tenderness, political intrigue — any effect, theme or motif you can contemplate is likely to have a Paris address.’ I Love Paris in the Movies - New York Times
Hollywood’s long love affair with the City of Light has garnered Paris a prominent place in the public imagination. Ironically, it is upon strolling the streets of Paris that one now has the sensation of being transported into a film set.
Website: Set in Paris