Bonjour! Producer Wade Danielson and I have arrived in France and are now on the first leg of our scouting trip. We spent three nights in Paris, meeting with several production companies that, if hired, would take on the responsibility of coordinating the entire French portion of the film. The script requires a few scenes along the River Seine and establishing shots of the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, etc., and we should be able to shoot what we need in two days.
From Paris, our story moves to a small French village, which represents almost two-thirds of the script. I will be posting photos of the villages we visit, although Internet connections in remote rural locations aren’t always the best, which may cause a few delays. I can confidently say at this point that we have been duly welcomed everywhere we’ve been and that the French have been extremely helpful in guiding us to locations. I am writing this entry from the beautiful village of Rochefort-en-Terre and it’s quite impressive. A “Petite Cité de Caractére,” Rochefort-en-Terre holds most everything the story requires, with half-timbered houses, gothic monuments, Renaissance hotels and plenty of 19th Century architecture.
I’ll be writing in more detail as the scout progresses, and look forward to posting as many photographs as possible throughout our journey. Until then, thank you for stopping in and we’ll see you soon. Au revoir.
Arrived last night at 6pm in Angles sur l’Anglin where we were greeted by Diana Hager and Dominique Fuscien, managers of Le Relais du Lyon d’Or, a beautiful hotel in the heart of the village. Diana is from Buffalo, New York, so meeting an American in one of the film’s potential locations was especially helpful. Angles sur l’Anglin is truly a place that is lost in time, with impressive views of the Anglin River and Loire Valley from the ruins of an 11th Century castle that sits atop the village. Wade and I scouted houses, shops, cafes and streets in Angles sur l’Anglin, one of the locations that is written into the film’s script and by all appearances, it holds a great deal of promise. Logistically, it is a four-hour drive from Paris, or a two-hour train ride.
From Angles sur l’Anglin, we drove an hour to Gargilesse-Dampierre, a quaint village overlooking a lovely stream that runs alongside the town. The home of 19th Century writer George Sand, Gargilesse has a rich artistic heritage and boasts several working studios for local artists, including world renowned sculptor Jean Claeys. The village is small, but very much in line with the reclusive nature of the French leading character in our story. Shooting in Gargilesse would add a touch of serenity to the film.
We are now off to scout three villages to the south and I’ll have more to report at the end of the day.
Day Three on the road took us to the villages of Collonges la Rouge, Sarlat-la-Canéda and Beynac-et-Cazenac. All of these locations, and in fact almost every village we’ll see throughout our trip, have been listed as “Les Plus Beaux Villages de France” (The Most Beautiful Villages of France), and the three we visited today couldn’t be more different from one another.
Collonges la Rouge, France’s “red” village, sits nestled into a valley in the Limousin region and with its red limestone buildings (all of them), feels like something out of a gothic fairytale. Charm exudes from this village, whose narrow streets are lined with unique shops and the occasional cafe. A prime destination for tourists, Collonges la Rouge is a rather small village, making it somewhat of a challenge logistics-wise for filming a movie. Sarlat-la-Canéda is much larger in scale and boasts an amazing town square. It’s medieval architecture has been developed around a large Benedictine abbey and there are several visual possibilities in Sarlat. Hotels and restaurants are plentiful and it’s a bustling town filled with world-class art galleries and an annual theatre season. Closing off streets could be an issue, but there is no dearth of pristine backdrops in Sarlat. Beynac-et-Cazenac sits on the bank of the Dordogne River with an imposing castle overhead. The steep climbs up the cobble stone lanes were a challenge, but all of it was stunning. The stone slab-roofed houses with their creamy facades were exceptional. Of the three, Beynac-et-Cazenac holds the greatest cinematic possibilities and could easily accommodate our crew for several weeks of production in France.