31 Jul 2014

Pont Alexandre III, Paris

The car chase through Paris in A View to a Kill ends at a bridge crossing the Seine when May Day lands with her parachute on a boat cruising down the river. Bond, driving his two-wheeled Renault taxi, arrives at the bridge and jumps down to the boat crashing a wedding party.

The Bridge is actually one of the most famous bridges in Paris, namely Pont Alexandre III. It is one of the historic monuments of France and regarded as on of the most extravagant bridges in the city and has featured in numerous films, including Ronin with Robert de Niro.

Bond's arrival attracts a huge crowd on the bridge, probably to the filmmakers annoyance. There is also a big crowd visible at the end of the bridge, but since the scene where Remy Julienne drives across the bridge lasts for less than a second the filmmakers probably chose to ignore this.

The bridge was constructed between 1896 and 1900 and is named after Tsar Alexandre III who had concluded the Franco-Russian Alliance 1892. The Nymph reliefs, the ornament from where Bond jumps, are also a memorial over this Alliance. It has been given a good clean since 1985 and the bridge railing has been painted. The four massive columns, on either side of the bridge, are crowned by "gold" statues in bronze of Pegasus.

May Day jumps ship. Pont Alexandre III is visible in the background.

After crashing the wedding party and destroying the cake, Bond is captured by some outraged chefs onboard and consequently taken to the prefect of police in Paris.

24 Jul 2014

Gibraltar - The Moorish outpost

Dalton's first mission as 007 starts off in the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar. What is supposed to be an exercise, arranged by Mi6 and the S.A.S., becomes deadly serious when 004, one of the agents participating in the exercise, gets killed by an unknown assassin on the rock.

Observing the fall of 004 when his climbing rope is cut off, Bond starts pursuing the assassin and is seen running down some steps. Seen in the background is the moorish outpost. Situated at the southern part of the rock.

"Your objective, is to infiltrate the radar installations of Gibraltar..."
                                          - M -

The steps start at St Michael road and is the first part of something called Douglas Path. The path continue up on the southern part of the rock for a few hundred meters past the Moorish outpost. The view from almost every part of the rock is magnificent. Even though the most action actually took place around the northern top, this location, on the southern part is well worth visiting, especially thanks to the Douglas Path.

12 Jul 2014

Renault taxi chase - Paris

In  A View to a Kill, after the assassination of Monsieur Aubergine at the Eiffel Tower, Bond heads after the assassin and "borrows" a taxi just below the tower. May Day has jumped from the tower with a parachute and Bond is chasing her down the Seine. The taxi is parked on Quai Branly.

After throwing out the taxi driver, who is having his lunch and a glass of wine (the French!), Bond drives down the stairs and ends up at the Port de la Bourdonnais, the street that runs along the Seine.

Bond is obviously trying to avoid the Paris traffic and decides to take the low road by the Seine when he follows May Day. Bond would later jump over a bus, transform the car into a convertible with two wheels before the car chase ends at the Pont Alexandre III. These locations will be covered later.

Bond takes the low road instead of trying to get through the Paris traffic

This location has not changed a lot since 1985 and Sir Roger's visit. There are still bus loads of tourists naturally, but the taxis do not line up by the Eiffel Tower as they did in the film. Today, Bond would most likely have gotten into a bycycle rickshaw - numerous can be found on location. It is strange however, that the tower does not feature more extensively during the car chase, considering the nice angles and the fact that it is visible from almost everywhere. When watching the car chase I have a feeling that it is just a little too short. Director Glen could probably have gotten more out of Paris as a Bond location.

The taxi stunt sequence was arranged by the famous stunt driver Remy Julienne, who of course is known for having arranged the Citroën car chase in For Your Eyes Only among several other car chases. Unfortunately Julienne's presence behind the wheel instead of Sir Roger is obvious in more than one scene... Julienne would continue to arrange car stunts for the Bond series even during the Brosnan era.

The location is visible from the bridge Pont d'lena, that runs across the Seine in front of the Eiffel Tower.

6 Jul 2014

A View to a Kill - Paris

The most obvious Bond location in the world is probably the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Despite the fact that it is the most popular tourist attraction in the world, it took Bond until A View to a Kill (14 films and 23 years) to visit Paris. Even though Moonraker was largely shot in studios in France and one scene, from the Moonraker factory, was filmed inside the Centre Pompidou (doubling for California), Bond himself had never actually visited Paris before A View to a Kill. For the establishing shot over the Eiffel Tower, the camera was placed at Avenue Gustave V de Suède, just below the famous view point at Place du Trocadéro.

Mi6 is investigating Max Zorin's Anglo-French combine, and Bond goes to Paris in order to meet with the French detective, Achille Aubergine who is hired by the French jockey club to investigate Zorin's winning streak in horse racing.

Bond is having dinner with Achille Aubergine at the Eiffel Tower. Evidently, Zorin does not care for Monsieur Aubergine's investigation since he sends May Day to Kill Aubergine at the restaurant. This scene was shot in studio, on a set constructed by the brilliant production designer Peter Lamont. The restaurant however, is based on Alain Ducasse's restaurant 'Le Jules Verne' that is located on the 2nd floor at the Eiffel Tower, the same floor as Bond's restaurant in the film.

Bollinger, seventy-five. A bottle of Perrier is also visible on the table.
                                    "-Qu'est-ce qu'il y à Monsieur?! 
                                                 -There's a fly in his soup!"

Needless to say, the Eiffel Tower is a spectacular landmark as well as a beautiful building, and a must see when in Paris. More accurately, it is impossible to miss during a visit in Paris, since it is visible from almost everywhere. You have the classic view from Place du Trocadéro, but a good way to enjoy the Eiffel Tower is to have a pic-nic on the big field Champ de Mars, on the other side of the tower. A field that used to be the training ground for the French army. From here you have an undisturbed view and less tourists.

Bond's visit to Paris in the film is a nod to the original Ian Fleming short story From a View to a Kill. In the beginning of the story, Bond is spending an afternoon in Paris, debating with himself about where to go and what to drink before dinner. Bond ultimately ends up at Fouquet's at Champs-Elysée, drinking Americano. Bond stipulates that he wants his Americano made with Perrier because "a good mineral water is the best way to improve a poor drink". A reference to this is probably the bottles of Perrier that can be seen on all the tables in the restaurant.