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“In the footsteps of Amélie” – A cinematographic walk through Montmartre

Rich in character, scenery, history and artistic charm, Montmartre has always served as the perfect backdrop for many movies.  One notable example is the cult movie “Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain”. In this present-day remake of “Alice in Wonderland”, the legendary hill features lead actress Audrey Tautou as “the colourful fantasy where the impossible seems possible”. Despite the intensely romanticized setting of the movie, you might be surprised to know that its actual film locations are quite real and still operating today.  So, let’s pay them a little visit. Lights, camera, action!

The poster of the movie

Maison Collignon Grocery Store (Rue d’Androuet)

“Mister Abdel, the owner of the Arab grocery, has kept part of the props of the Collignon store and tells everyone who wants to listen that his life is full of joy thanks to the movie!”

– Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Maison Colignon, or where Amélie does her shopping

Maison Collignon, or where Amélie does her shopping

On the corner of 56, Rue de Trois Frères and rue Androuet (and just in front of Les Studios de Paris office) you can visit the place where Amélie does her everyday shopping and buys the famous “3 hazelnuts and an artichoke”. Although you won’t see a grain bag to sink your hand into (just like she used to do), you will still find incredible bric-a-brac of film souvenirs among the usual fare of the local food mart.  The original movie sign “Maison Collignon, fondee 1956″ still stands proud in its place, which makes the shop particularly easy to spot. And since Mister Abdel and Les Studios de Paris are practically neighbours, we would love to assist you to take a virtual piece of this historical movie set home with you and take your picture with it anytime you wish!

One of Amélie's favourite pastimes at Maison Colignon

One of Amélie’s favourite pastimes at Maison Collignon

On real life Collignon (Abdel) is providing the community of “La Butte” with the best home-made take-away Couscous of the hill (Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday only) and caters to our late-night arriving guests with a wide variety of grocery items.

Lamarck-Caulaincourt metro station

 “Amélie has a strange feeling of absolute harmony. It’s a perfect moment. Soft light…a scent in the air, the quiet murmur of the city. She breathes deeply. Life is simple and clear.  A surge of love, an urge to help mankind comes over her…

Metro Lamarck-Caulaincourt

And that’s when she sees the blind man! What follows is a delightful scene in which she depicts the surrounding world to him with the most vivid details and subtle nuances. During their walk on the busy street of rue Lamarck she portrays reality as a moveable feast – a whirlwind of colours and events where everything sparkles and glistens! From the laugh of the florist and the lollipops in the bakery window to the price of the meat and the scent of the melon slices, this magical moment helps the blind man “see” again for a while, until they eventually reach the beautiful double-staircase metro station of Lamarck-Caulaincourt, where Amélie finally leaves him, bedazzled, before she hops back on her way to her loved one.

Café Les Deux Moulins (15, rue Lepic)

Le café des Deux-Moulins

Now the next mandatory location you really need to visit is the adorable art deco café where Amélie used to wait tables.  Le café des Deux-Moulins. The interior is exactly as it was in the movie, apart from the prominent cigarette counter which is no longer there. The window on the side street is decorated with film memorabilia, while Audrey Tautou smiles at us from inside the café. Some garden dwarfs Polaroid photos decorate the bar, just behind the coffee counter. Once you’re done admiring the scenery, make sure you sample the crème brulée here, which is now officially named after Amélie. You know how to do it. Just take your silvery spoon and break the hard topping of melted sugar from the sweet creamy filling inside. Enjoy!

It’s “crème brulée” o’clock!

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