Paris and the cinema, a true “Love story”. For many years, the city has been perhaps the international capital of film shoots. Only New York seems able to compete with it. If the Eiffel Tower, Montmartre or the Seine attracts directors, it is the whole region that is acclaimed by the cinema.
The professionals are unanimous: add “City of Light”, international airports, studios of all kinds, and you get the perfect cocktail for shooting conditions. But these are not the only assets: “The region has magnificent landscapes, explains Fabien Pondevaux, professional scout of natural settings, with the exception of the sea and the mountains, we find all the landscapes of France. You can even recreate foreign landscapes. »
And some sets are worth a little tour of the region. Proof, 20 minutes has selected four places in the Ile-de-France that are little known and yet stars of the big screen.
Abbey of Our Lady of the Val (95)
René Clément made no mistake when he filmed the end of his cult “Forbidden Games” in Val-d’Oise. Located in the town of Mériel, about thirty kilometers north of Paris, this Cistercian abbey was built in 1125, making it one of the oldest in Île-de-France.
Although it lost its monastic vocation during the French Revolution and part of it was destroyed in the course of the 19th century, the monks’ building and the cloister gallery are still standing and were even classified as historical monuments in 1947. Only six years before the shooting of the film which revealed Brigitte Fossey. In 1953, the abbey also hosted the filming of “This man is dangerous” by Jean Sacha, that of “Our most beautiful holidays” in 1996 or even part of the filming of “Cursed Kings” by Josée Dayan in 2005.
The cinema is not the only one to have succumbed to the charms of the abbey, then several music videos have also put down their cameras, including Mylène Farmer for her song “I give you back your love” in 1999.
A private place, the Abbey can only be visited during heritage days. But it has still not closed its doors to the cinema. Recently, Martin Bourboulon’s latest French blockbuster “The Three Musketeers: D’Artagnan” with François Civil, Pio Marmaï, Romain Duris and Vincent Cassel stopped there for a few scenes.
Not yet released on the screens, a spin-off of the series “The Walking Dead” was filmed there very recently.
The spaces of Abraxas (93)
The city of Noisy-le-Grand and Seine-Saint-Denis have made a place for themselves in the hearts of filmmakers for several decades. And the spaces of Abraxas are not there for nothing. Inaugurated in 1983 in the Mont Est district by the architect Ricardo Boffil, this monumental ensemble made up of three buildings cannot leave you indifferent. Called the Theatre, the Arc and the Palacio, they seem straight out of a dystopian film.
Terry Gilliam, member of the Monty Python turned brilliant director, found the perfect setting here for the urban scenes of his science fiction film “Brazil” (1985). It must be said that the complex’s ocher towers are unlike anything else… Except perhaps Ceausescu’s palace in Bucharest.
A little Soviet side that also inspired Yves Boisset in 1983 for his “Prix du danger”, a Franco-Yugoslavian anticipation work with Patrick Deweare. The following year, it was Jean-Pierre Mocky who came there to film scenes from his mythical “A mort l’arbitré”.
If the cinema then left the place quiet for a few years, the spaces of Abraxas nevertheless withstood the “Hurricane” by Stéphanie de Monaco (1986), before welcoming Michel Berger for his clip “Ça ne n’est pas standing” (1990) and Cheb Mami for “Parisien du Nord” (1998).
After a cinematographic renaissance initiated by Kad Merad and Olivier Baroux in their “But who killed Pamela Rose? » in 2003, the ensemble experienced a freelance Hollywood with the filming of scenes from the American blockbuster « Hunger Games: Mockingjay, part 2 » (2015) by Francis Lawrence with Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence. Holy CV.
” The stars » by Jean Renaudie (94)
The last part of the Hunger Games saga was not content to visit only a site in the Ile-de-France region since part of the scenes were also shot in Ivry-sur-Seine in Val-de-Marne. This surreal building complex caught the eye of film scouts.
Because the architectural work carried out by Renée Gailhoustet and Jean Renaudie, the “Les Etoiles” district, often renamed “Les Étoiles de Renaudie” or “Les Étoiles d’Ivry” does not go unnoticed in the urban landscape. In the shape of stars (necessarily…), the modernist and angular towers offer a great diversity of accommodation by the staggering of its floors, with numerous panoramic views, and thanks to the dozens of green terraces.
In addition to its thousand homes, the district is also home to a school and a shopping center.
Racecourse of Evry-Courcouronnes, Ris-Orangis, Bondoufle (91)
Arguably the wildest on the list. And yet, he was not meant to be. Formerly a mecca for galloping in the Ile-de-France region, the Evry racecourse has become a heavyweight in cinema. Located in the municipalities of Evry-Courcouronnes, Bondoufle and Ris-Orangis, this gigantic structure has long been the delight of turf riders and other horse fans.
Built between 1970 and 1972, it had its heyday for two decades until it fell victim to a plan to restructure French galloping and to host its last race in 1996. Since then, with several reconversion failures, including that of the great National Rugby Stadium the whole is abandoned.
Finally way of speaking. Because today managed by the Grand Paris Sud community, the place continues to live despite appearances. Photo shoots, advertisements, music videos, the place remains at the disposal of the most fertile imaginations. A godsend for many filmmakers who have taken advantage of its very “retro” decor with its vintage and “flashy colors”, its bar and its faded escalators. Above all, with the vegetation that has taken over, the place is ideal for post-apocalyptic zombie films.
This is also the place chosen by Michel Hazanavicius to shoot 80% of his wacky “Cut! ” released in 2022. Before him, many productions also took advantage of the premises. We can cite in a non-exhaustive way: “How I became a superhero by Douglas Attal”, The series “Profiling” by TF1, or even “Balthazar” or “Clem”.