Something very cool is happening in Montmartre right now

I was wandering the streets of Montmartre last week and something caught my eye. Traffic cones. Orange traffic cones. Everywhere.

Now, I’ve lived in Paris long enough to know that when those cones show up it means one thing and one thing only: There’s going to be some movie magic imminently.

You see, when they put those cones down it’s a sign to the locals to move their parked cars and scooters, because a film crew will be moving in. It happens quite a lot, especially in Montmartre.

But the film crews don’t typically hang around. They’re just here for a day or two. A quick scene. But not this time, apparently.

In fact, a pretty big film crew has spent the better part of a week changing the face of one particular street, rue Androuet.

This is the jewellery shop

I’ve visited the set every day and I’ve been absolutely fascinated by the process. It must be a fairly big budget film because they have loads of people working on it.

The facades are also on rue Berthe

Carpenters are adding fake facades to the buildings. They’re burning away the painted road markings. Painters are adding details to the walls and several of the local shops have been transformed inside too!

In fact, they’ve added a whole road full of fictional shops. There’s a corset maker, a locksmiths, a barber, and a pharmacy. The local hat maker has a range of period bonnets in the window. And there’s a mammoth jewellery store on the corner. More on this in a second.

As for me, I’d been trying to work out exactly when this movie was supposed to be set, until I noticed yesterday that they’d added an old-timey message board with a swastika. Closer inspection revealed the year 1941 in small print. A war film!

Local coffee shop staff told me that the director had paid them a visit or two over the past week and that they knew the full story.

They told me that the set was for a film version of a popular French theatre piece called Adieu Monsieur Haffman. The movie, scheduled to be released in 2021, already has an IMBD page here.

The synopsis, according to Allociné, is: Paris 1942. François Mercier is an ordinary man who aspires to start a family with the woman he loves, Blanche. He is also the employee of a talented jeweler, Mr. Haffmann.

But faced with the German occupation, the two men will have no other choice but to conclude an agreement whose consequences, over the months, will upset the fate of our three characters.

A closer look at the pharmacy window

That explains the jewelers… a key part of the plot, it seems. The director is Fred Cavayé and the movie stars Daniel Auteuil, Gilles Lellouche, and Nikolai Kinski.

I can’t quite understand why I find it so fascinating to observe, but I think it’s about getting a glimpse into the Paris of yesteryear. It doesn’t take much imagination at all to feel like your walking in 1940 – especially if you visit at night and you’ve got the street to yourself.

Yes, that’s the Amelie fruit shop on the left!

Printed signs around the area suggest they’ll be filming for the next week. If you’re in Montmartre, I highly recommend you check it out.

Meanwhile, if you’re a movie buff, you might recognize the fruit and veg shop on the corner of the street is the one from Amélie, another French hit film from Montmartre.

Oh, and one last tip. If you do check out this movie set, don’t forget to explore the nearby rue des Abbesses, which I consider to be the best street in Paris. Take a look and decide for yourself!

24 thoughts on “Something very cool is happening in Montmartre right now

  1. That is a really cool investigation t’!! Thank you for all the infos 😀🤗and the pictures are really grat

  2. I love this! I’ve been totally obsessed with imagining this neighborhood during the occupation. Now I don’t have to imagine. They often park their movie trailers on rue Caulincourt. I wonder if they will be here next week.

  3. hi Oliver, pretty cool pictures and investigation ! are you talking about the new coffee shop Farfelu at the corner of the street? just in front of the Amelie poulain veg shops?

  4. Thank you for sharing! Makes me wish I was visiting Paris this week. Instead, I live vicariously through your photos and podcasts.

  5. Thanks so much for sharing! If you are checking it out daily, please consider posting updates to your instastories. Would love to see the process.

  6. This is wonderful. They film quite a bit around here (Portland, Oregon) and it’s always fun to see the changes they make to set up the filming, but even more fun to see the final project. They’re doing an amazing transformation in Montmartre! It will b fun for you to see the film and be able to recognize the sets!

      1. Thanks so much for this tip! Even though I live just on the other side of the Butte, I don’t go over to the other side all that often, so I would have missed it if I hadn’t learned about it through you. I just went and it was fantastic. I was wearing a vintage 1940s dress and felt like I was in a time warp — so amazing to see Paris the way it used to be, even for just two streets! Unfortunately the corsets and hats stores are gone already but now there’s a pharmacy with a strangely appropriate sign in the window: “Chers Clients – Faute d’approvisionnement pour certains articles nos réserves sont épuisées”

      2. How great that you went! The corsets haven’t gone tho – they just closed the shutters on them while they age the walls and windows

  7. Very cool Oliver! I took the metro to Montmartre on Monday and scoped out rue Androuet. A guy was painting some of the exterior shop walls with a mud colored paint to make them look even older. And there was a great black vintage car parked on the set. What fun to visit and have lunch in Montmartre. Thank you.

  8. Hi Oliver. I’ve seen you when you pop up on Jay’s Paris vlogs, but will now listen to your podcasts. Too much screen time while in lockdown, so I can now go to Paris and rest my eyes!😌 So interesting to hear about this film set! Thanks from Canada 😎

  9. Hello Oliver. We were on a walking tour the week they were building the It was lovely to be able to walk through the streets. I felt like we stepped back in time. So special.Do you know if they were able to film or did they postpone due to the pandemic?

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