Aix-en-Provence: a favourite location for French films!

The cinema has always been part of the DNA of Aix-en-Provence, the town of art and light. The town has all it takes – decors, light and heritage – to beautify the expression of artists and the work of filmmakers and has become a shooting location for films or series.

Quartier Mazarin – action!

Head for one of the town’s oldest and most symbolic quarters, Quartier Mazarin. Cross the famous Cours Mirabeau and you’ll be surrounded by the cultural vitality of Aix-en-Provence. With its classical architecture, cast-iron balconies and lush green courtyards, the quarter attracts passers-by. The picturesque charm has also been acclaimed by some French filmmakers such as Eric Lavaine and used for his film Retour Chez Ma Mère, shot partly in Rue Cardinale and on Cours Mirabeau. Le Pavillon Noir, Aix-en-Provence’s iconic concert hall is where Inan Altin chose to make his film Le quartier. Fountains, private mansions, museums, bookshops and cafés all rub shoulders in this quarter and create a lovely typical South of France setting. Valérie Müller and Angelin Preljocaj also shot some scenes from their film Polina, Danser Sa Vie there.

Filming in Cézanne’s footsteps

The town of Aix-en-Provence also takes you off on a trip in the footsteps of painter Paul Cézanne. Discover the different key sites of his life, from the house where he was born to the last place he lived, which inspired Danièle Thompson, the director of the film Cézanne et Moi. In Cézanne’s cabanon, and from the Bibémus quarries to the Domaine du Jas de Bouffan, the film’s scenes take us around the places which are steeped in history and that the artist loved. The Domaine’s bastide and its leafy grounds were some of the famous painter’s main sources of inspiration. As were the Carrières de Bibémus where nature offers a stunning multicoloured landscape. And the cabanon was where the artist retreated to devote his time to his work in this peaceful studio in the shade of the great pine trees.

Focus on the Quartier des Pinchinats

To the north of the town, head for the quiet and charming quarter of Les Pinchinats with its 17th and 18th-century bastides. The residential quarter has pretty private houses surrounded by gardens and green spaces which are good for reconnecting with nature. Much appreciated by walkers for its hiking trails, this peaceful setting is also much sought after as a film location. You’ll be sure to recognize it if you watch the French crime series Les Enquêtes du Commissaire la Violette on France 3. In all, 21 days were filmed in Aix-en-Provence for the series.

The town centre of Aix-en-Provence as a backdrop

A real must, the town centre of Aix-en-Provence is the liveliest part where the Provencal gentle life, art and heritage go well together. In the heart of the town, a stone’s throw from the Hôtel de Ville and the fountain of La Rotonde, take a seat on the terrace of a café or soak up local culture with museums, theatres and art galleries. The Théâtre du Jeu de Paume where scenes from the series Contact, created by Jean-Yves Arnaud and Delinda Jacobs and broadcast on TF1, were filmed. Eric Lavaine also chose the town centre for some scenes from his film Retour chez ma Mère, specifically Boulevard du Roi René. And Rue du Maréchal Foch was the setting for the film Polina, Danser sa Vie by Valérie Müller and Angelin Preljocaj.

A wide-angle view of Cimetière du Grand Saint-Jean

Grand Saint-Jean cemetery, built in 1975, is listed among Europe’s most beautiful landscaped cemeteries. Over the site’s 200 hectares, only 45 are used. Its beauty has not escaped the eagle eyes of filmmakers; its Provencal forest leaves nobody indifferent. Among its Aleppo pines, stone pines, holm oaks, white oaks and juniper bushes, filmmakers have found all they need for both full-length films and series. Julien Despaux shot scenes there for his film Imposture, and Jean-Yves Arnaud and Delinda Jacobs for the series Contact on TF1.

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Une publication partagée par Brian Tremblay (@vrpasa)