Amelie in Paris
On the 20th October, 2018 11.27am and 32 sec. A blue fly of the Calliphorides species whose wings can flutter 14670 times per minute landed in Rue Saint Vincent, Montmartre. At the exact same second, outside a restaurant, the wind was sweeping in under a tablecloth causing the glasses to dance without anybody noticing it. Still at the same second 2 girls walk up the stairs at Abbesses Metro Station, they are enjoying the autumn leaves at their feet and the sun in the sky making the autumn leaves golden, as they go on a search of the fabulous life of Amelie Poulain of Montmartre.
I first saw this film as a 11 year old, I was captivated. I had never seen anything like it, it was a powerful story about a strong woman looking for herself and the colour palette was intoxicating, I wanted to recreate beauty; it was one of the first films that made me long for the dream I had to become as Costume Designer.
As I get older the film becomes more relevant to me, the desire to change peoples lives, to be immersed into a fantasy world and the desire to find love and possibility live in the clouds of my imagination.
The film is a dream but what makes the dream more tangible is the fact it is film and based in Montmartre which I can taste any time I want. Montmartre is one of my favourite parts of the world. The heart of the bohemian lifestyle in Paris, it was a hub for those impressionist painters I have adored all my life, a place where my parents lived and a place I spend my days in Paris strolling around to let me feel a little of being part of that world…
The perfect Metro to get off at to begin a day of strolling the streets of Montmartre. The metro station is one of the stations that has the wonderful cursive Art Nouveau entrance frame that suits its surroundings with the Love Wall close by and the sounds of the carousel and children’s laughter in the air.
In the film Abbesses Metro was used during the scene when Amelie first notices Nino collecting his photos, all topped off with the Blind Man playing his classic French tunes.
Maison Colligon (also Au Marche de la Butte) is home to an array of groceries from Fruit and Veg to Wines and Cheeses. It is still used today for the locals shopping needs along with a big smile of the Greengrocer serving us. It has been styled in homage to the film keeping the colours and name as well as the baskets for the Fruit & Veg. If you look closely you will find a Gnome or 2 looking for adventures too.
If you look hard enough you will discover a little hidden secret across the road from the Marche, I will not say what it is but look for the Gnomes hidden in the tomato bushes.
In the Film Maison Colligon was used as Amelie’s greengrocer where she took pleasure in the simple things like dipping her hands into the grain sacks. As well as taking pleasure in wronging a right by the teasing of Mr Colligon and the famous line…
“You at least, you do not risk being a vegetable, even an artichoke has heart”
56 Rue des Trois Frères, 75018 Paris
Sacre Coeur Basilica
The Basilica of Sacre Coeur is one of my favourite spots in Montmartre, it has the air of tranquilty as you get to look up at the greenery and lush gardens that lead your way up to the Basilica, along with the Basilica offering incredible views of all of Paris below with the sound of laughter and music in the air. The Basilica is worth a visit, it is one of my favourite Churches in Europe. It is unique, somewhat modern with incredible artistic Stained Glass Windows and the Altar’s ceiling covered in the most vibrant mosaic and idols that watch over your visit.
In the Film the Basilica of Sacre Coeur was used for a variety of scenes, from the Nuns playing Tennis in the Courtyard to the Lovers riding around the base to the iconic scene where Amelie gives Nino’s collection book back to him through a game of following the arrows up from the Carousel through the Square Louise-Michel to the top of the Butte Hill.
Place Saint-Pierre, 75018 Paris
The streets of Montmartre
The best way to live life like Amelie Poulain is by strolling the streets of Montmartre, you will find musicans, artist selling their goods and painting portraits, unique street art dotting all over the place, cafes with delicious foods and a sense of village life among all these beautiful homes and twisting streets.
Caulaincourt Metro is on the other side of the Hill of Montmartre. It is more of the Paris side of Montmartre I feel. It is the perfect Metro to get off to get a great walk up the hill to discover different side of Montmartre. It is always a fascinating part of Montmartre for me as my mother lived there and I wish to get a sense of her life there.
In the Film the Caulaincourt Metro was used when Amelie is telling the Blind Man about all the wonders she sees in the streets from the Drum Major’s Widow to the crinkled eyed laughing Florist to the baby watching a dog that’s watching the chickens. It is a wonderful scene showcasing the kindness of Amelie and helping the Blind Man see wonders he only dreamed of.
Rue Saint Vincent
Up the hill of the side twisting and turning is the Rue Saint Vincent. It is a lovely quiet street that would be lovely to live as the street is a tranquil life in Montmartre with a wall covered in ivy in a rainbow of colours.
In the Film the Rue Saint Vincent is used as the closing scene of the film as Amelie and Nino ride off into the sunset in complete happiest.
Rue Saint Vincent, 75018 Paris
Rue Lepic is one of my favourite streets in Montmartre is it alive with cafes, music and art along with local shops full of the freshest fruits, vegetables, fish, cheeses and all the desserts you can devour. It is the perfect place to lounge for a coffee and cake or buy all your goods to create a fantastic feast later in the day.
Rue Lepic, 75018 Paris
Cafe des 2 Moulins
The Cafe des 2 Moulins is actually one of my favourite cafes in Paris, I love going there for the atmosphere and the food. Nothing beats having onion soup, one of the plates of the day and of course a Creme Burlee to finish it all off. The cafe is a fantastic Art Deco homage from the lush yellow colours to the curves of the bar. It has a few homages to the film along with a picture of Amelie in the background and in the bathroom is the best part with a window display of props from the film.
This is an icon part of the story as this is the Cafe where Amelie worked, enjoying the stories from her colleagues and regulars that came in everyday. It is now wonderful great place to visit as you still see regulars enjoy the food and wine sitting at the bar.
15 Rue Lepic, 75018 Paris
Gare du Nord
Gare du Nord is the entrance of many who come to Paris like the famous Eurostar. It hasn’t changed much in its years, it is a beautiful feat of architecture in Paris, making it clear why it was used as a location in Amelie. You are still able to go inside to take photos of yourself at a Photo Booth where you can add to Nino’s collection.
In the Film Gare du Nord was used as the train station Amelie would go home to see her father and bring along her Gnome friend.
18 Rue de Dunkerque, 75010 Paris
Where and When? Well I’ll tell you where, meet me at Barbes-Rochechouart Metro. This metro station is a fantastic architectural piece in Paris, it twists and turns, along with being centred perfectly. You can easily see why this was a great location to use in the film, maybe including the symbolism of the twists and turns Amelie’s life takes??
In the Film Barbès-Rochechouart Métro was used as a location that Nino had placed posters up trying to reach out to Amelie to meet up with, so the only question you will be asking yourself as you visit this metro is “Où et quand ?” for next visit to Montmartre.
Canal Saint Martin
We make our way out of Montmartre, down to the Canal Saint Martin which edges the Central East of Paris. It is a lovely place for a long stroll to enjoy a quiet walk and look up at the lovely greenery from the trees that edge the river.
In the Film Canal Saint Martin is a place where Amelie visited to take pleasure in skipping stones, where she is able to contemplate life and have a peaceful moment.
47 Quai de Valmy, 75010 Paris
We end our adventures with Amelie at the Notre Dame Cathedral in the heart of Paris on the Ile de la Cite. Notre Dame was built in the 12th Century making it a beautiful cathedral with hidden secrets to view and discover from the Crown of Thorn’s that was once a prize gift to the Gargoyles and the Rose Windows. It is a great visit to discover one of the oldest places in Paris that is steeped with such history and beauty.
In the Film it is sadly used in a sad scene but sadly to say a well written line as it was the place of the untimely death of Amelie’s mother Amandine as a tourist from Quebec jumped from the top of the tower, which you will not be needing to worry about these days.
6 Parvis Notre-Dame - Pl. Jean-Paul II, 75004 Paris
On that note I will close this blog on Amelie in Montmartre. If you love Paris, if you love films and if you just love adventures this is the perfect film to discover as it will lead you to a wonderful character who will touch your heart and make you hunger for a life in Montmartre as much as I do. A place for discovery, for passion and for food, join life in Montmartre to enjoy the simple pleasure of the world.
So little Amelie, your bones aren’t made of glass. You can take life’s knock, if you let this chance go by, eventually your heart will become dry and brittle as my skeleton. So for Pete’s sake…. Visit Montmartre.
For other wonderful places to visit in Montmartre have a look at my blog.