It's hard to tell what I've done more: traveled to Paris, or watched the film, “Midnight in Paris.” Woody Allen's flick is one of my favorite movies of all time to capture the essence of Paris and is a good understanding of why I myself moved abroad. From the opening scene playing “Si Tu Vois Ma Mere” showcasing various scenes of Paris, to the old school Parisian bars and restaurants of the 1920s, Midnight in Paris makes you want to hop on a plane and go.
On my recent trip to Paris I knew I had to seek out some of the iconic scenes and shooting locations from Midnight in Paris as well as some of my favorite quotes from the movie.
There are a lot of great quotes about Paris. It's a city that inspires romanticism, drama, and art. But Midnight in Paris has some of my favorite quotes about the city. I'm sharing those right along with the film locations so you can step back in time and enjoy the epic scenery that draws you into the city.
The movie is about Gil, a writer who's obsessed with the past and dreams about Paris' golden age in the 1920s. He's visiting Paris with his bratty fiance and her snobby parents. Gil and Ines (his fiance) shop for over-priced antique chairs, drink fancy wine at swanky rooftop bars, and run in to a couple who they travel and spend time with around Paris.
After all, who wouldn't want to time travel back o the 1920s to sip brandy with the Fitzgeralds, fight with Hemingway, see Picasso's newest work, or get surreal with Dalí? The best part? This movie is mostly historically accurate and these iconic writers and artists lived in Paris at the time.
Walking the streets of Paris at Midnight, the strangest thing happens to our protagonist, Gil: an old Peugeot car rolls down the street and Gil enters the past, quite literally. He's transported to the 1920s where he falls in love even more with the city and starts to realize his true dreams.
“Can you picture how drop-dead gorgeous this city is in the rain? Imaging this town in the '20s. Paris in the '20s in the rain; the artists and writers.”
I’ve created a map with all the shooting locations below:
WARNING: There are some spoilers if you haven't watched this movie!
“There's no city like this in the world. There never was!” Gil and Inez are in Monet’s Garden in the opening scene, standing on the bridge and admiring where Monet got inspiration for much of his work. Monet’s gardens are an easy day trip from Paris at only about a an hour train or car ride away. Claude Monet's Water Garden, Giverny, Eure, France. It's located across the road from Monet's house at 84 Rue Claude Monet.
They stay at Hotel Bristol and many scenes from the movie are shot in the dining room, rooms, and outside. It has a fanciful facade and exudes Parisian charm. You can find it here: Hotel Le Bristol, 112 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, Paris, France.
“I’m not a big Francophile,” says Inez’s Dad. Le Grand Véfour is where Inez, Gil, and her parents have lunch. The restaurants is absolutely stunning and is worth a walk around. Find it at 17 Rue du Beaujolais.
“You know, nostalgia is denial. Denial of the painful present.” – Paul talking about how silly Gil's book sounds. Versailles is another must for a day-trip outside of Paris. The historic palace was also the scene for Gil, Inez, and their couple friends to stroll the gardens and argue about Gil’s book. The Palace of Versailles is located in Place d'Armes, 78000 Versailles, France.
“Ah sex and alcohol, it fuels the desire but kills the performance” – Paul, as they drink wine on the rooftop bar overlooking the city with the glittering Eiffel Tower in the background. You can find the bar at Hotel Le Meurice, called La Belle Étoile, located at 228 Rue de Rivoli, Paris, France. This is also a lovely street for shopping and strolling.
I also recommend The Peninsula Paris for great rooftop views of the Eiffel Tower. Find it at 19 Avenue Kléber, 75116 Paris, France.
“I’m really finding these midnight walks good for my creativity!” Gil explains to Inez why he keeps traipsing around at night. I agree, the best way to experience Paris is to take a stroll around. At night, the Eiffel Tower sparkles, the buildings are lit up, and the city seems to come to life. Gil gets lost and as the clock strikes midnight he finds a car from the 1920s that he hops inside. This spot can be found at Rue Mouffetard at Rue Édouard Quenu, Paris, France.
The steps themselves are located just around from the Panthéon at Saint-Étienne-du-Mont Church, Place de L’Abbé Basset, Paris, France.
“I believe that love is real and true and creates a respite from death.” – Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway’s character in the movie is spot on. Gil meets Hemingway at The Polidor. This remains a very popular restaurant in Paris’s Left Bank. The restaurant looks very similar to how it looked in the 1920s and was visited by many famous people in the 20s. You can find The Polidor at 41 Rue Monsieur le Prince, Paris, France.
“Cheap is cheap.” Inez’s mother tells Gil after he’s shocked to hear about the *18,000 price tag of some antique chairs. You can find the shop at 112 Boulevard de Courcelles, Paris, France.
“I love it. I'm hooked.” This is Adriana's response after hearing the opening of Gil's book.
“The pedantic one.” Paul, the friend of Inez, ends up arguing with the tour guide while they visit Rodin’s museum, an easy walk in Paris to explore more of the artist, Rodin Museum, 79 Rue de Varenne, Paris, France.
The museum has beautiful grounds and is a great place to stroll. And find inspiration from the film.
“I’d like to think I'm a member of Linda and Cole's inner circle.” Gil says this to a young woman, Gabrielle, working in a flea market selling old vinyl records and memorabilia. This happens to be the largest antique market in the world! You can find the flea market, Les Puces de Saint-Ouen, at Le Marché Paul Bert, 96-110 Rue des Rosiers, Saint-Ouen, France.
“He's distracted by the fact she was just an absolute volcano in the sack.” Gil argues with Paul about Picasso paintings at the beautiful Musée de l'Orangerie, Jardin des Tuileries, Paris, France.
After dancing at an outdoor fete, Adriana and Gil decide to stroll the city at night. “I can never decide whether Paris is more beautiful by day or by night.” – Adriana
“No, you can't, you couldn't pick one. I mean I can give you a checkmate argument for each side. You know, I sometimes think, how is anyone ever gonna come up with a book, or a painting, or a symphony, or a sculpture that can compete with a great city. You can't. Because you look around and every street, every boulevard, is its own special art form and when you think that in the cold, violent, meaningless universe that Paris exists, these lights, I mean come on, there's nothing happening on Jupiter or Neptune, but from way out in space you can see these lights, the cafés, people drinking and singing. For all we know, Paris is the hottest spot in the universe.” – Gil
Here, they are walking in Île de la Cite near Restaurant Paul, specifically 17 Place Dauphine, Paris, France. Next, the backdrop of Monmarte surrounds them. Monmarte was a hangout for many artists in Paris in the 1920s. They also are seen walking down the steps at Rue du Chevalier-de-La-Barre, Paris, France. Here you can see the Sacre Couer.
Gertrude Stein was an American living in Paris and edited Hemingway and others work. Stein edits Gil’s book and remarks, “The artist's job is not to succumb to despair but to find an antidote for the emptiness of existence.” Gil picks up a book along the Seine river where today many stalls sell old books, art, and collectibles. Find this street at Quai de Montebello.
“Too rich for me.” Inez's dad says while eating the food at a hotel. Next, he's seen at Duluc detective agency, one that is still there to this day.
“Gil, your tumor is acting up again!” – Inez says when Gil accuses Inez of cheating on him with Paul.
“You’ve got a glazed look in your eyes. Stunned. Stupefied. Anesthetized. Lobotomized.” – Zelda Fitzgerald when talking to Gil as he realizes he’s time traveled to the 1920s in Paris. Zelda is later seen distraught, attempting to jump into the Seine river. Behind her is the bridge Pont Neuf. The address is Pont Neuf, Quai des Orfèvres, Paris, France.
Here's a look at Pont Neuf during the day.
Gil asks the tour guide to translate a passage in a book and they are seen sitting on benches just behind the Notre Dame. You can find this at Square Jean-XXIII
Gil and Adriana hop on a horse and carriage and head to the turn of the century in Paris. They go to Maxim’s, a restaurant still here to this day. You can find it here: Maxim’s, 3 Rue Royale, Paris, France
“You always take the side of the help! That's why Daddy says you're a communist” – Inez. Gil is seen perusing the famous Shakespeare and Company book shop located at 37 Rue de la Bûcherie, Paris, France. This is very near the Notre Dame and also now has a fun coffee shop.
“That's what the present is, it's a little unsatisfying, because life's a little unsatisfying.” – Gil. There are many coffee shops and corners in Paris that are reminiscent of the movie. In fact, Le Precope, opened in 1686, is the world’s first coffeehouse. For centuries, it’s welcomed writers and artists and made St-Germain-des-Prés a regular place for artists. Le Nemours is near the Lourve and is one of the oldest in the area as well.
“Actually, I think Paris is the most beautiful in the rain.” The last scene is one of my favorites, taken in one of my favorite places. Gil is walking the Pont Alexandre III and runs into the young woman from the thrift shop in the rain. Cue ending! You can find the bridge here: Pont Alexandre III, 75008 Paris, France.
The best way to experience the city and get the true feelings from the movie is just to walk around- rain or shine, night or day.
Like every good novel, this movie showcases epic scenery, tells a beautiful story, and leaves you with a feeling of happiness. It's one I watch again and again, kind of like coming to Paris- I can never get sick of it.
If you’re interested to learn more about all of these incredible writers and artists that lived in Paris at this time I suggest reading “A Moveable Feast” by Ernest Hemingway. It gives a great depiction of Paris at the time and also is spot on with the movie!
Midnight in Paris is a story for dreamers, lovers, and those that just can't get enough of Paris. It's one of my favorite movies of all time and I hope these shooting locations and quotes inspire your next trip!
Want more from Paris? Check out my Essential Paris Travel Guide!