Saturday, August 9

Walking In The Footsteps Of 'Midnight In Paris'

One night last Spring, before we visited Paris, I happened to stumble across Woody Allen's 'Midnight In Paris' on cable. Have you seen it? I love this movie! It's magical, peculiar, a bit funny and the dialogue is delightfully witty. I watched it twice and decided I wanted to visit a few of the locations where the film was shot. And we did. We spent an afternoon wandering the backstreets of the Latin and Saint Germain quarters of Paris. And you know what? It was just as magical as the movie itself. As the long shadows began to creep across the buildings on Rue Galande, I started to feel a little lost like Gil. It was wonderful! In case you haven't seen Midnight In Paris here's my brief summary of this quirky movie.

While on a trip to Paris with Inez, his fiancée, and her family, Gil, a nostalgic screenwriter, finds himself mysteriously going back to the 1920s every day at midnight. One evening, while on a solitary stroll, Gil becomes disoriented in the maze of streets in Paris’ Latin Quarter. He sits down on the steps of the church of Saint-Étienne-du-Mont to get his bearings. The clock strikes midnight, the magical hour. Soon a 1920’s Peugeot sedan pulls up and he is invited to join the occupants in their evening party crawl. In a twist, as Gil moves down from the steps of the church to accompany the group, he descends into a fantasy world, the Paris for which he has been searching. Along the way he meets his literary heroes: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Gertrude Stein.

As Gil contemplates whether or not to move to Paris, and what to do with Inez, he lives in this daydream of sorts which actually helps him decide what he should do. Through a series of conversations about his novel, with his literary mentors, Gil comes to the happy conclusion to live life in the world that only exists in his imagination. 

However after re-writing the first two chapters, Gil retrieves his novel from Stein. She praises his progress as a writer and tells him that Hemingway likes it  as well. She questions why the main character has not realized that his fiancée is having an affair. Gil has a light bulb moment and returns to the present to confronts Inez. She admits to having been unfaithful, and Gil breaks up with her and decides to move to Paris. 

Gil calmly leaves the hotel, and once again takes a walk. As he crosses the Seine at midnight, Gil meets a beautiful woman. As it starts to rain, he offers to walk her home and learns that she shares his love of a nostalgic Paris - in the rain. See, magical right? If you haven't seen 'Midnight In Paris' I encourage you to indulge and spend a raining afternoon watching! 

Enjoy these photos of our wanderings. We started out on Quai de Bourbon, on the western tip of Ile St. Louis, where Gil parties in the 20s. After crossing the Seine we shopped the bookstalls lining the river, as well as Shakespeare & Company. We enjoyed strolling through the Latin Quarter before ending up at the Restaurant Cremerie-Polidor, where Hemingway and Hugo ate cheaply. The decor has not changed in over a hundred years. The boeuf bourguignon is out of this world and the perfect ending to our afternoon and evening 'Midnight In Paris' jaunt.

Our late night dinner was superb and now to the Metro for the short ride back to our hotel.

Paris, midnight, in, movie, Woody Allen, Owen Wilson, film locations, wanderings, dinner, rue de la Montagne Sainte-Geneviève, Church of St Etienne du Mont, Polidor, 

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