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Culture in France

From James Bond to Marie Antoinette - films shot at the Vaux Le Vicomte palace

Audio 10:26
A genuine 17th century royal bedroom at Vaux le Vicomte Palace near Paris used as a film set
A genuine 17th century royal bedroom at Vaux le Vicomte Palace near Paris used as a film set vaux le vicomte
By: Rosslyn Hyams
13 min

In this week's Culture in France, RFI's Rosslyn Hyams visits the Vaux le Vicomte Fait son Cinéma exhibition in the 17th Century palace and gardensnear Paris. The grounds and rooms have featured in some 50 movies over the past half-century since opened to the public in 1968, a revolutionary year. Click on the arrow on the photo to hear the feature.


US director Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette (2005) was shot in part at Vaux le Vicomte, as was French stage and film director Ariane Mnouchkine's Molière (1977), along with at least two films directed by French veteran film maker Bertrand Tavernier, including Que la Fête Commence (1974), and Milos Forman's 1988 Valmont. More recently, Vaux le Vicomte, also popular for its Year-End decorations and festivities, hosted the shoot of Dany Boon's comedy Raid Dingue (2016), and the TV historical drama series, Versailles devised and directed by Simon Mirren and David Wolstencroft.

The exhibition, Vaux le Vicomte fait son cinéma which runs until 4 November combines 17th century French history, with the excitement of finding out how films are made, from costumes and make up to special effects.

As Vaux le Vicomte has hosted many shoots, it seemed like a good idea tothe owners, the de Vogüé family and their team who help run the site, to reveal some of the secrets of cinema.

The history of Vaux Le Vicomte is in itself intriguing. It begins with rivalry and surprises pitching powerful public figures in 17th century France, including those very close to King Louis IVXth, against the Sun King.

More discretely, in the old kitchens, under the ground floor, you can see the original storyboard for the 2016 film Raid Dingue, The series of drawings serve as a blue print for the director and his team, showing camera angles, entrances and exits and such, but are works of art in their own right.

Next door, a bluescreen adventure in a hot-air balloon basket over the palace and its gardens awaits budding actors and actresses and directors, complete with sound effects of the wind and tweeting birds.

360° virtual reality headgear and stools in the central hall of the palace puts visitors in the place of an actor at the banquet table, with the film crew looking on from behind, don't forget to swivel.

You can marvel at props and costumes used in Moonraker, one of the most popular James Bond films, made in 1979 with the late Roger Moore as 007.

The chateau is making the 50 kilometre trip from Paris even more like an amusement park day-out with the chance to win a ride in a helicopter, just like James Bond. Although the winners are not expected to pull off the same stunts as in the Moonraker aerial scenes, just sit tight and marvel at the exceptional aerial view.


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