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Thursday April 15th 2021

Charade | 1963

Charade film location: rue Censier, Paris
Charade film location: Hepburn and Grant’s Latin Quarter hotel ‘St Jacques’: rue Censier, Paris

Stanley Donen’s lightweight, romantic thriller, of the kind they can’t seem to make anymore, is set in Paris, where ‘Reggie’ Lampert (Audrey Hepburn) discovers there was far more to her mysterious late husband than she realised, and even more to the enigmatic Peter Joshua (Cary Grant).

Charade film location: Hotel Maxim, rue Censier, Paris
Charade film location: Reggie discovers her Paris home is deserted: avenue Velasquez, Paris

The house she finds deserted is 5 avenue Velasquez , at boulevard Malesherbes, alongside Parc Monceau. The building actually houses the Musée Cernuschi, the Parisian museum of Asian arts.

Charade film location: Vrai Guignolet, Jardin des Champs Élysées, Paris.
Charade film location: the Punch and Judy show: Vrai Guignolet, Jardin des Champs Élysées, Paris

Hepburn and Grant meet up at the marionette show, the Theatre Vrai Guignolet, in the Jardins des Champs Élysées, Rond Point des Champs Élysées, at the junction of avenue Matignon and avenue Gabriel. Amazingly, the show is still going, with afternoon performances on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays (Métro: Franklin D Roosevelt or Champs-Élysées Clémenceau).

The identity of ‘Peter Joshua’ is called into question as Hepburn meets up with CIA agent Bartholomew (Walter Matthau) at the old vegetable market at Les Halles – like London’s Covent Garden, the market has long since moved to a modern new facility outside the city centre – though the Église St Eustache remains.

Suspicious, Reggie tails Peter Joshua – or whoever he is – to the American Express Office, 11 rue Scribe, near the Opera House, where he gets involved in a fight with the sinister Scobie (George Kennedy) on the roof.

Charade film location: Pont au Double, Paris
Charade film location: Hepburn and Grant speculate on the identity of the killer: Pont au Double, Paris

Strolling along the Left Bank of the Seine, in front of the Pont au Double, beneath the quai de Montebello, Hepburn and Grant speculate on the identity of the killer, and remark that this is where Gene Kelly danced in An American in Paris (actually, that film was made in the studio in Hollywood), hardly noticing Notre Dame looming above them.

Now for a confession. For a long time, I repeated the often-made mistake that the film’s ‘Hotel St Jacques’ was the real St Jacques on the rue des Écoles near the Sorbonne, despite the fact that the neighbourhood never looked quite right.

In fact, the hotel in which the pair are staying (where Grant famously takes a shower in his suit), is 24 rue Censier, quite a bit further south, near the Censier Daubenton metro station, but still nowhere near the Saint-Jacques station, as it appears in the film. It's alongside the (very similar in appearance) Hotel Maxim at number 28.

Charade film location: La Comedia pizzeria, rue Monge, Paris
Charade film location: Hepburn confuses the hapless tourist: La Comedia, rue Censier, Paris

The restaurant alongside the hotel, where Hepburn alternately greets and dismisses a hapless tourist as she attempts to tail Grant, is now pizzeria La Comedia, 107 rue Monge.

Charade film location: rue Censier at rue de Mirbel, Paris
Charade film location: site of the ‘St Jacques’ metro station: rue Censier at rue de Mirbel, Paris

At the other end of rue Censier, a fake ‘Saint-Jacques’ metro sign was erected at the junction with rue de Mirbel.

Charade film location: avenue Matignon at rue de Ponthieu, Paris
Charade film location: Tex rushes to get the stamps: avenue Matignon at rue de Ponthieu, Paris

It’s back at the Jardin des Champs Élysées that Hepburn and Grant keep an appointment and realise the location of the vanished money – as does Tex (James Coburn), who leaps into a cab on avenue Matignon at rue de Ponthieu, closely followed by Grant.

Charade film location: Jardin du Palais Royal, Paris
Charade film location: the confrontation in the colonnade: Jardin du Palais Royal, Paris

At night, the increasingly suspicious Hepburn is lured to the Colonnade in the Jardin du Palais Royal (Métro: Palais-Royale) for a confrontation with the the real Carson Dyle. Quite a place for mysterious nighttime assignations – Doc meets a contact here in John Schlesinger’s Marathon Man.

Charade film location: Comedie Francaise, 2 rue de Richelieu, Paris
Charade film location: the climax in the theatre: Comédie Français, 2 rue de Richelieu, Paris

The theatre in which the movie climaxes is the Comédie Français, 2 rue de Richelieu (metro: Palais-Royal), the state theater of France, established by Louis XIV in 1680.