"Gorgeous! Beautiful! Wish you were here," enthuses Meg Ryan in French Kiss, as she walks up a cobblestone street in a small Provencale Village.
I recently sat down to re-watch French Kiss, one of my all-time favorite movies. I enjoy watching Kevin Kline who plays a disheveled looking arrogant French guy. Yes, I'm a sucker for romantic comedies - but what I love most about this movie is the location. The pictures and scenery of Paris and the French countryside. For this particular viewing though I had a goal. I wanted to see if the village I had recently visited in Provence was in fact the village in the movie.
You might remember the scene, Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline are sitting in a small square as she recuperates from an attack of lactose intolerance. She had enjoyed too much of the French cheese on the train ride. Suddenly, a Mercedes careens around the corner, a man jumps out and he and Kevin Kline begin fighting. The scene was shot in front of the Cafe des Arcades and the Hotel des Armoiries – both face the square and can be clearly seen in the movie.
How did I learn about this? I can thank Kathie Alex, who lives in Plascassier, another tiny town adjacent to Valbonne. Kathie lives at La Pitchoune – the house that Julia and Paul Child had built for the times they spent in her spiritual homeland. It's on the property once owned by Simone Beck, who was a close friend of Julia's and a mentor for Kathie. Kathie now offers cooking classes in the small charming home.
Kathie and I were talking about the town of Valbonne and its charms. Then, she mentioned the Cafe and the hotel – where French Kiss was filmed. I almost jumped out of my chair! I couldn't wait to check out the square. I remembered the scene, but didn't remember the background exactly...even though I've watch the movie more times than I should admit.
A short ten minute drive from Plascassier and I was there, enjoying a meal in the Cafe des Arcades, gazing out at the square toward the Hotel des Armoires waiting for Kevin and Meg to come sauntering up the cobblestone street. As I sipped my wine, I could hear Meg, "Gorgeous! Beautiful! Wish you were here!"
We visit Valbonne, Plascassier and other small Provencale villages as we follow in Julia Child's footsteps on our Julia & Julie Tour. Think about joining us in 2010.