September 15th, 2011

Travel By Film: Midnight in Paris & Other must-sees

Have you ever wanted to step into a movie and explore a destination? While many sets blend actual places with Hollywood effects, with a little digging, you can actually find many magical locations that film producers have fictionalized in their stories. If you're ready to discover a place you thought only existed in the movies, consider traveling to one of the following destinations. More than Midnight in Paris In Woody Allen’s latest romantic comedy, a newly engaged writer finds himself transported to 1920s Paris, where he meets with various writers and key personalities of the era. While time travel may be a stretch, the entire movie was filmed in Paris, including at the John XXIII Square, Montmartre Opera, Sacre Coeur, on the Île de la Cité itself, and near the Pantheon. Experience Biting Cold in Forks Before Bella met Edward, the sleepy town of Forks, Washington boasted little more to draw visitor’s attention than a timber museum. These days, the central location of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight books has experienced a boon in tourism (upwards of 600%). While the movies themselves were filmed mostly in British Columbia, tours have been created that visit locations resembling the places described in Meyer's books. And fans can always make their way to La Push to await a werewolf sighting. Embrace Your Inner Hobbit First introduced to the world by J.R.. Tolkien, Middle Earth had captured literary imaginations for decades before Peter Jackson staged the trilogy, filmed simultaneously, in his native New Zealand.  While Jackson relied on special effects to capture his artistic vision, travelers can travel to the Misty Mountains, Helms Deep and Edoras with tours based out of Christchurch, New Zealand, where the films were produced. While some of the locations are rather remote, the place where Hobbits, Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin hide under tree roots to evade the Black Rider is the Town Belt of Mount Victoria, a park overlooking Wellington. Find a Few of Your Favorite Things If the Sound of Music is among your favorite films take a trip in and around Austria for multiple opportunities to channel your inner Von Trapp.  Twirl on top of Mellweg, near Schellenberg, the very mountain where Maria first dances in the film.  It may not look entirely familiar however; the birch trees and the brook were added for the movie. Or, head to Aigen 30 miles northwest of Linz in the very north of Austria near the German and Czech borders and visit the real Villa Trapp., Discover Both Sun and Ice at the Blue Lagoon The fictional island in The Blue Lagoon featured stunning turquoise water kissing golden beaches. The secluded paradise was the perfect setting for two shipwrecked teens to fall in love. In real life, you can actually visit two Blue Lagoons: If you are looking for an island that resembles the island in the movie (the blue lagoon scenes were actually shot in Champagne Bay, Vanuatu), head to the Blue Lagoon Island in the Bahamas. At a distance of only three miles from Nassau, this beach has the seclusion you see in the film. It boasts pristine beaches, natural beauty and a tropical climate. Take a swim in the clear blue waters, bask in the sun or trek your way through the native palm trees to the middle of the island, where you'll find an actual lagoon. For a different experience entirely, head to the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal seawater spa, in Iceland. Relax in the steamy waters, (part of a lava formation), and take in the profound, mountainous vista in southwestern Iceland. Don’t forget to pop into one of the area’s two steam baths. Built from lava rocks with benches and soft light that imitates an open fire, this cave like stronghold is not to be missed! Embrace Your Inner Pirate Aargh! From Captain Blood to the Pirates of the Caribbean, Tortuga continues to be one of the most popular destinations featured in pirate films. Depicted as a location where buccaneers could enjoy a frothing pint of grog and trade insults with other scallywags, the actual Tortuga was a historical port that became a place where French, Spanish, Dutch and English pirates blended customs and ways to form the Brethren of the Coast. Today, travelers can explore the Tortuga area; however, the port is no longer a place for unruly behavior. Tortuga is a Caribbean island that now encompasses part of Haiti. Along with turquoise waters, guests can see the namesake of the island (Tortuga means turtle) by visiting the beaches. Travel Themes We love the idea of creating a series of trips inspired by favorite movies. Here are a few more – did you know that the desert landscape of Tataween in southern Tunisia of is the home of planet Tatooine from Star Wars, or that you can see the suburban utopia depicted in The Truman Show by taking a jaunt down to Seaside, Florida. Even Twilight was filmed in Moon Bay, in Eastern Washington. What are your favorite movie landscapes?

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