Last Updated on 4th October 2020 by Sophie Nadeau
When it comes to the French capital, there is, of course, no shortage of films worth watching. However, one movie which will probably be a crowd pleaser is that of Midnight in Paris. Set against the backdrop of the historic Latin Quarter and other parts of the city, here’s your ultimate guide to Midnight in Paris filming locations.
Many might not realise this, but Allen’s film starring Owen Wislon was not his first movie shot and Paris. Indeed, Allen had already utilised the gorgeous streets of Paris for films such as Love and Death and Everyone Says I Love You. However, truth be told, Midnight in Paris is probably the most famous of all Allen movies shot in Paris!
Claude Monet’s Home, Giverny
Of course, not all of the movie is filmed in Paris per se, and is instead shot at locations which can be accessed via an easy day trip from Paris. The opening scenes of Midnight in Paris are actually filmed close to Claude Monet’s home, which is around an hour from the French capital.
Monet’s Giverny is one of the most beautiful excursions from Paris and features the waterlilies which Monet painted during the final years of his life, which are now on display in the Orangerie Museum in the Jardin des Tuileries in Paris.
Monet’s Waterlilies at the Orangerie, Jardin des Tuileries
Of course, the famous paintings themselves are also featured as the backdrop for several scenes of Midnight in Paris. In the movie, Gil and Inez visit the paintings together with couple, John and Carol, who Inez knows from back in the USA. In French, the waterlilies are known as the ‘Les Nymphéas ‘.
The Rodin Museum
Another beautiful art museum which is visited by Gil and Inez together with Paul and Carol in Midnight in Paris is that of the Rodin Museum. Situated in the 7th arrondissement of the city, the Rodin Museum is an 18th-century house museum where the artist once lived and worked.
In Midnight in Paris, the couples stroll through the museum’s gardens and Paul starts telling the others incorrect information about the museum, before being politely corrected by a museum guide, who happens to be played by none other than Carla Bruni (famous actress, singer, and former First Lady of France).
Palace of Versailles
Grand, imposing, and easily the most famous of day trips from Paris, the Palace of Versailles began life as a humble hunting lodge during the Middle Ages. It was only with the arrival of the Sun King, i.e. Louis XIV in the 17th-century that the once small Château was transformed into the glittering Palace we all know today.
In Midnight in Paris, several scenes are filmed at Versailles, both in the gardens and inside the Palatial building itself. Whereas an early scene is filmed in the landscaped gardens of Versailles, which were largely created under the direction of André Le Notre, Allen was even given special permission to film within the Palace itself.
Hotel Le Bristol
Hôtel Le Bristol is a real life hotel in Paris, situated in the 8th arrondissement of the city. Indeed, it’s even the very place where Allen stayed during filming of Midnight in Paris. During the movie, several scenes are shot in the hotel lobby, within the hotel’s restaurant, and in a few of the hotel bedrooms.
Le Grand Vefour
Another Parisian institution which features in the movie is that of Le Grand Vefour, where there is a scene of lunch with the in-laws. In real-life, Le Grand Vefour is to be found in the 1st arrondissement of the city. An upscale dining establishment (with high prices to match), the eatery was opened as early as 1784 by Antoine Aubertot, as the Café de Chartres.
Saint Etienne du Mont
Perhaps one of the most iconic moments of the film is shot on the steps of Saint-Etienne-du-Mont, a little known church in the Latin Quarter of the city. Boasting the last remaining rood screen (jubé in French) in the city, not to mention home to the relics of Sainte Genevieve, the stunning medieval church is tucked away, hidden behind the Paris Panthéon.
In Midnight in Paris, the steps to the left-hand side of the ecclesiastical building, when facing the front façade of the church are featured in the film as the place where Owen Wilson returns to each night so as to experience 1920s Paris. As well as the church itself, many other Latin Quarter streets are featured, including the ever-so-picturesque rue de la Montagne Sainte Geneviève.
Chopard Boutique, Place Vendôme
Situated just a couple of streets away from the Palais Garnier Opera House, the Chopard Boutique is to be found in Place Vendôme a luxury Parisian square featuring all kinds of boutique hotels and luxury shops. In Midnight in Paris, a shot is filmed of ring shopping. In the beginning of the film, a b-roll shot of Place Vendôme is also featured.
Many luxurious establishments are featured in Midnight in Paris, and Le Meurice is yet another of them. The five-star hotel is situated in the first arrondissement of Paris, along rue de Rivoli. In the movie, the characters are filmed having drinks on the rooftop bar of the hotel, before leaving through the front entrance in a later scene.
Le Marché aux Puces de Saint Ouen
Of course, antiquing is a favourite French pastime and so it makes sense that one of the largest flea markets in the world of its kind is featured in the film. In Midnight in Paris, Inez and Gil visit the flea market at Clingancourt.
In real life, Le Marché aux Puces de Saint Ouen is easy to visit as a short excursion from the centre of Paris and makes for the perfect afternoon sojourn. Best visited on the weekend when all of the stores are open, you can find everything from vintage clothing to antique furniture for sale.
It may well surprise many movie viewers, but one of the most unusual shops featured in Midnight in Paris does indeed exist in real life! Deyrolle is a taxidermist shopping selling all kinds of vintage stuffed animals and other natural curiosities! Founded in 1831, the Parisian store now operates at 46 Rue du Bac. In the movie, Deyrolle features in a cocktail party scene.
The banks of the River Seine
Snaking its way through the very heart of Paris, the river Seine is indeed the very reason why Paris was founded where it was in the first place. In the movie, many scenes are filmed of Gil (played by Owen Wilson) strolling the banks of the River.
Of note are the bouquinstes (little outdoor book vendors) that Gil passes. These little green stalls are indeed also there in real life and line the banks of the river Seine selling all manner of antique books, prints, and the like. This is to the extent that the bouquintes of Paris and UNESCO world heritage listed and that the Seine is sometimes referred to as the ‘river between two bookshelves’.
Speaking of strolling along the banks of the Seine, one of the more memorable scenes from Midnight of Paris was filmed alongside Pont Neuf. Despite its name literally translating into English as ‘New Bridge,’ the Seine crossing point is actually the oldest still standing bridge in the city. In the movie, Zelda Fitzgerald is seen distraught and attempting to jump into the River Seine close to the bridge.
Situated alongside Notre Dame Cathedral you’ll find the park where the Notre Dame Cherry blossoms are to be found. Please note that the park is closed until further notice as it lies in the direct shadow of the cathedral which was badly damaged by a fire in April 2019. In Midnight in Paris, Gil asks the tour guide to translate a book passage for him in the gardens.
Le Polidor Restaurant
One of the most significant scenes in Midnight in Paris occurs at the end of Owen Wilson’s first foray in 1920s Paris when the aspiring writer encounters Hemingway at the bar of Le Polidor. The bar is very much a real place and is where you can still enjoy a drink to this day!
Shakespeare and Company
Considering that Midnight in Paris features so many literary writers and authors from the 1920s, it should come as no surprise that the iconic English language bookshop of Shakespeare and Company features in the film.
However, what you should note is that the Shakespeare and Company of today is not actually the original. The original store of the same name was founded by Sylvia Beach and was frequented by many of Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Gertrude Stein, to name but a few. In the film, we see Gil leaving the shop.
Musée des Arts Forains
One of the coolest small museums in Paris is actually one that you can visit for yourself. The fairground museum is a magical cultural hub which features many vintage carousels and other fairground rides.
In Midnight in Paris, Gil meets up with newly found 1920s friends for a night of fun at the fairground and even has a confrontation with Hemingway on account of the fact that they’re both falling for the same woman.
Pont Alexandre iii
Often cited as the ‘most beautiful bridge in the world,’ the ornate Pont Alexandre iii spans the Seine and is situated on the point of the road between Petit Palais and Grand Palais. To the South, Pont Alexandre iii offers views onto Les Invalides, i.e. the army museum as well as the golden dome under which Napoleon lies.
Its beauty, even in the rain, is perhaps why it was chosen as the filming location for the final scenes of Midnight in Paris. I won’t ruin the ending for you, but it’s certainly a fitting one and highlights that Paris is always a good idea.