On the filming locations of Downton Abbey

in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur

Adapted from the successful series, the film Downton Abbey: a new era, takes the Crawley family into the decors of the South of France for a new intrigue. In the Var and the Bouches-du-Rhône, a little panorama of the filming locations used by this “so classy” family.

La Villa Rocabella dans le Var

This superb Belle Epoque building is the star of the show. The Countess of Grantham inherits a villa on the Mediterranean coast at Le Pradet. Villa Rocabella shows off its undeniably esthetic character on the screen: the Neoclassical and Romantic architecture of the building which looks down over the sea was designed by the favourite architect of Empress Eugénie, the Dane Hans-Georg Tersling. The scenes filmed indoors reveal shades of brown, blue, and pale yellow, and powder pink, the whole neoclassical palette which goes so well with a great marble staircase. In the garden, the characters of Downton Abbey play opposite each other between the palm trees and the azure sky! Today Villa Rocabella offers guestrooms and the privatisation of its estate. And also in the Var, the biggest fans of the series will recognize La Seyne-sur-Mer in some of the scenes.

Visit Martigues and keep your eyes peeled

The shooting of this second Downton Abbey film also made use of the charm of Martigues, the Provencal Venice in the Bouches-du-Rhône. One of the scenes in the film, shot in the town, shows Mr. Carson, the butler, buying a hat and coming face-to-face with Lady Bagshaw. Other decors highlight the Miroir aux Oiseaux, a picturesque port with its colourful facades, the Quai Brescon and even the Quartier de l’Île with its canals. Whether you’re English or not, you won’t be able to resist it!

The Downton Abbey  phenomenon

The series was written by Julian Fellowes and produced by Simon Curtis and stages the life of an aristocratic household from 1910 to 1920. Its 6 seasons, 52 episodes, and 2 films are the proof of the enthusiasm it has instilled. The film is carried by several famous actors such as Maggie Smith, the Countess of Grantham (also known for her role as Professor Mac Gonagall in Harry Potter) and the winner of an Emmy Award and even Hugh Bonneville who plays Lord Grantham. A little anecdote for you, the film was shot during the pandemic: authorised just in the nick of time to travel to the filming locations, the actors were confined to the Hôtel Belles Rives on the Cap d’Antibes, but have excellent memories of their time in the South of France!

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