With apologies to the current tenants of this stately building who must now suffer more FIA fans out front each day snapping pictures, there it is, the real address of a fictional family that lives forever in our hearts. I might have hesitated to publish it at all, given the desire of notre prof to keep it a secret, were it not for the fact that le chat est déjà sorti du sac.
The credit (or infamy) for first publishing the correct address online goes to « James » who dropped this choice nugget on FancyRobot over a year ago, never to be heard from again. (We at FIAfans salute you, James, and hope you will stop in here and share more of your observations.) He wrote:
I just returned from my first visit to Paris. Having studied with French in Action, I was more excited to see the locations of FIA than Da Vinci Code! We stayed in a very nice hotel a block from the Jardin du Luxembourg.
While the hunt for Mireille and Marie-Laure continues, I can say with certainty that I have located chez Belleau!
As you may know, 18 rue de Vaugirard is fictitious. If the address existed, it would be at the location of the Odeon Theatre. This was done to prevent fans from hanging around there waiting for Mireille to “partir pour la Sorbonne.”
In Lesson 32, M. Belleau shows Robert the “vue imprenable” from the balcony. From this, it was evident that the apartment was on the west side of the Jardin du Luxembourg–with the Senat to the left and the Pantheon straight ahead.
By exploring the portals of the buildings on rue Guynemer, I found the exact entrance that was used for chez Belleau in FIA.
So if you are visiting, walk by 32 rue Guynemer to see the actual location that played the role of 18 rue de Vaugerard.
Posted by: James | June 15, 2006 at 12:14 PM
After thoroughly enjoying the incomparable Jardin de Luxembourg one beautiful day last month with my wife, I headed over to the western gate, while she took a breather on one of those hallowed park benches. Upon exiting the Jardin and looking to my left (south) along rue Guynemer, I quickly located the building, which looks precisely as it does in FIA, filmed 22 years ago. How lucky are the residents of the of this magnificent structure, even if Mireille doesn’t brush past them on the escalier! Do you think any of them have ever heard of French In Action? It would be interesting to learn how the apartment on the quatrième étage was chosen by the producers of FIA.
According to Norman Barth writing in Paris Kiosque, Rue Guynemer was once within the Jardin de Luxembourg and later, before it was named for the celebrated WWI flying ace, was the southern extension of Rue Bonaparte which now begins to the north of the intersection with rue de Vaugirard (on which this building is said to be in FIA, see the article below).
Elsewhere on the internet one finds a photo of Leclerc’s forces along rue Guynemer as they liberated Paris from the Nazis (the Belleau’s residence is not visible).
The first shot below is from a FIA screen cap. The others are my photos of this lovely building. Hope you enjoy them and get a chance yourself to stand in front of chez Belleau!
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