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Wednesday December 12th 2018

Hugo | 2011

Hugo filming location: Theatre de l’Athenee-Louis-Jouvet, 7 Rue Boudreau, Paris
Hugo location: The theatre of Georges Méliès: Théâtre de l’Athénée-Louis-Jouvet, Rue Boudreau, Paris | Photograph: Wikimedia / Pachadahu

2011 was clearly a great year for Parisian nostalgia (Hugo vying with Woody Allen’s Midnight In Paris for Best Picture), though much of Martin Scorsese’s film was made in the UK.

Scorsese brilliantly employs 3D to celebrate Georges Méliès, the pioneer of fantasy cinema in the days when movies themselves were dismissed as a showman’s gimmick.

The vast ‘Parisian’ train station interior was based on Paris’s old Gare Montparnasse. Torn down in the late 1960s, it was reconstructed by veteran production designer Dante Ferretti in the studio at Shepperton.

Also in the UK, you’ll find the ‘Parisian’ museum, in which Hugo’s father (Jude Law) meets an untimely end. It’s the Cast Court of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Gardens, in South Kensington, London SW7.

Hugo filming location: Theatre de l’Athenee-Louis-Jouvet, 7 Rue Boudreau, Paris
Hugo location: The 'Film Academy Library': Bibliothèque Saint-Geneviève, 10 place du Panthéon, Paris | Photograph: Wikimedia / Ann Chou

Don’t worry – there is some of the real Paris. The ‘Film Academy Library’, in which Hugo (Asa Butterfield) researches the history of the movies with Isabelle (Chloë Grace Moretz) is the vast arched reading room of the Bibliothèque Saint-Geneviève, 10 place du Panthéon, 75005 Paris.

The theatre of Méliès (Ben Kingsley), where he performs a magic act levitating his wife Jeanne (Helen McCrory), is Théâtre de l’Athénée-Louis-Jouvet, 7 Rue Boudreau, in the 9th arrondissement. The theatre is named after the great French actor Louis Jouvet, its director from 1934 to 1951, who starred in French cinema classics such as Henri-Georges Clouzot’s 1947 Quai des Orfèvres and Marcel Carné’s 1938 Hotel Du Nord.

The closing tribute to Méliès is filmed in the lecture theatre of the Sorbonne, Place de la Sorbonne, the city’s famous university in the 5th arrondissement – and a stone’s throw from the magical church steps of Midnight In Paris.