Amélie (Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain) | 2001
Jean-Pierre Jeunet, who made the studio-bound Delicatessen and City of Lost Children, films on locations around the city of Paris, and risks jettisoning the darkness of those films to tread the fine line between charmingly whimsical and the wincingly twee.
He turns Paris, and particularly Montmartre – the director’s home turf – into a brightly-coloured fantasy (though you might be surprised to know that the interiors were shot in the studio in Germany, in Cologne).
The film opens with a bluebottle buzzing along the charming, cobbled rue Saint Vincent at rue des Saules, running behind Sacre Coeur in Montmartre.
Amélie's apartment and the grocery store alongside can also be found in Montmartre (close to the bar where Robert de Niro and crew meet up in John Frankenheimer's Ronin). The store is Au Marche de la Butte, rue des Trois Freres at rue Androuet, while the entrance to the apartment is just around the corner at 56 rue des Trois Freres.
And not far away is Métro Lamarck-Caulaincourt, the beautiful Metro station with the double staircase, where the blind man experiences a moment of transcendence as Amélie describes the mouthwatering sights of the bustling market on rue Lamarck.
Amélie (Audrey Tautou) searches for ‘Bretodeau’, to return his box of precious mementoes, in a phone booth at the northern end of rue Mouffetard at rue Clovis, down in the Left Bank's cosmopolitan Latin Quarter, not far from the Pantheon.
The bar in which she overhears the result of her good deed is just to the south, Le Verre a Pied, 118 bis rue Mouffetard.
She's imbued with a surge of love and the desire to help mankind while crossing the wooden Pont des Arts, by the Louvre (scene of the failed suicide attempt in Boudu Sauvé des Eaux, Jean Renoir's 1932 classic, remade by Hollywood as Down and Out in Beverly Hills). It”s also the spot where Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) disappears at the end of The Bourne Identity.
Amélie sees Nino's “Ou et quand?” posters on the Line 6 Station of La Motte-Picqet-Grenelle.
She sets up a complicated assignation, involving following blue arrows, on the steps in front of Sacre Coeur, dominating Montmartre, and solves the riddle of the mystery man, who’s been leaving his photo everywhere, in the ticket hall of Gare de l’Est.
Nino (Mathieu Kassovitz) works in what was Palace Video, now Toys Palace, 37 boulevard de Clichy, a sex shop in the raunchy Pigalle district (where you’ll find the original, though rather touristified, Moulin Rouge nightclub is still operating).
But, of course, the location you really want to see is the lovely art deco cafe where Amélie works, which is, surprisingly, real. It’s Café des Deux Moulins, 15 rue Lepic at rue Cauchois. It can be a bit tricky to find. Rue Lepic winds down from Place du Tertre then seems to merge into rue des Abbesses. In fact, the street turns sharply south, and the cafe is south of rue des Abbesses.
And, yes, you can sample the crème brulée here, which is now named after Amélie.