As many of you already know, I'm a HUGE fan of Highlander. The first movie is in my top 10 of favorite all-time flicks, but the tv show is what I consider the finest production of episodic television EVER! Yes, I know that's a tall accolade, but the show appealed to me on so many levels. And not so much for the cool sword fights and special effects of the Quickenings (although those did, indeed, kick much ass) -- but because of the in-depth look the show took at immortality and it's attendant ups and downs. When the show delved into the pathos of being Immortal, that's when I dug it best. This is also what draws me most to vampire fiction and films.
Anyway, since I knew I was going to be in Paris for 7 days last week, I came with a shopping list of locales used in many of my favorite Highlander: The Series episodes. Included are a slew of images I took while travelling by foot around Paris. Some of them I stumbled on by accident (which was quite the thrill, I must say), while others I came prepared to find (like the area along the Seine where Duncan MacLeod's converted live-in barge was moored). But all should be recognized by die-hard fans of the show like myself and some of my friends reading this blog. It is for you that I dedicate this post.
First off, however, the above shot should really need no introduction to true Highlander fans. I purposely framed this photo within the arch of the tunnel under the Pont Tournelle -- the bridge which crosses over the quai where the barge was moored. This particular angle was used in countless episodes during scene changes, so it should be particularly recognizable. I was going by memory here, so maybe the shot doesn't exactly line up like in the show. And of course, there's no barge in my shot. But still, I think it's damn close. Also, it was around 7:00 in the morning here, and the quai was freaking FREEZING! My hands were in so much pain trying to grip the camera steady for multiple shots until I got just the right one. The things I do for my obsession! :)
And here I am at the actual spot along port de la Tournelle where the barge was moored for most of six seasons. In season 2, the barge was briefly moved to a different location in Paris due to flooding of the quai. I was praying that it would not be flooded this time, and luckily my prayers came true. Just look at that smug smile on my face! This place was literally just a 3 minute walk from my hotel, so of course I visited it almost every day. Wouldn't you?
And here I am standing in The Tunnel -- the same one in which I took the very first picture at the top of this post. The Tunnel was also used in too many episodes to count, so just pick one and VOILA! The second of the two pics I took because of that one episode where Methos is hiding just inside the recess where I'm standing and MacLeod almost mistakes him for an enemy Immortal. Remember? Duncan says: "I am Duncan MacLeod of the clan MacLeod" and Methos replies: "Yes, I know -- " before Mac whips out his blade and nearly takes poor Adam Pierson's head! It was foggier in that scene of course, and at night, but you get the coolness.
This is me standing at the nearby steps from where the barge was moored in the second season. Maurice's little tug boat was tied close to here. If you need a cool episodic reference, check out "Prodigal Son" near the tail end of Season 2. In the scene where the baddie Immortal, Martin Hyde, confronts Maurice about the owner of "that barge." Maurice was coming up the other side of this block when Hyde shouts out "YOU!" -- but this angle was better for my camera.
I came across this shot quite by accident on our first day in Paris. Lisa wanted to take a nap when we got to our hotel, but I was too excited to sleep. So I took a stroll towards the Bastille memorial . . . and gasped aloud when I noticed where I happened to be walking. This is the boulevard Bourdon, which runs along the Port de Plaisance canal. It was used in a long shot of Mac and Fitzcairn arguing heatedly about love, and whether it's wise to keep important secrets from significant others, even if their lives might be put at risk by that knowledge. The episode is "Star-Crossed," and appears halfway through the 3rd season. It's always been one of my favorite scenes, because I love the chemistry between Adrian Paul and Roger Daltrey (of The Who fame) who come across as genuine friends. I didn't know the address for this location, so it was quite fortuitous that I came across it the way that I did. Watching that episode, however, I always had the feeling that it was nearby to where the barge was located. And I was right!
This is the Basilique du Sacre Coeur. It was where Mac first sees a married Tessa in the heartbreaking 2-episode arc, "2 Be/Not 2 Be," in the series finale in the 6th season.
This is, of course, the Eiffel Tower, as seen from the Parc du Champ de Mars. This area was used famously in the season 3 closer titled, appropriately, "Finale: part II." This was where Methos, Amanda, and Joe watched breathlessly from the ground while Mac and Kalas battle it out in the upper levels of the tower.
This is the Obelisk at Place de la Concorde. The location was used when MacLeod chases after and finally catches up to that crazy (but beautiful) Immortal, Nefertiri, in the season 2 episode "Pharaoh's Daughter".
This is me standing in front of the infamous Shakespeare & Co. Well, it's pretty famous to lovers of English literature . . . but also well-known to Highlander fans in particular as the secret Watcher hangout where Adam Pierson worked and conducted his subterfuge. It's insidious, of course, because this is where Kalas tortures and kills an old man to gain knowledge of the whereabouts of the oldest Immortal in existence -- Methos. It was used primarily in the 3rd season episode, "Methos." In this pic, I'm holding some recent purchases. In my right hand is The Long Good-Bye, by Raymond Chandler. And in my left . . . why that's Devil in a Blue Dress, by one Walter Mosley. I bought the last for my best friend, Tarrell, for his birthday. Happy bornday, T! :)
Just around the corner from Shakespeare & Co, and up the street, is the church of St. Julien le Pauvre. But us fans of the show know it as the church where Brother Darius lived and worked. I'm standing in front of the church in the top pic, within a framed shot used a couple of times throughout the second half of the 1st season. The church was not opened our first day in Paris, but was opened 2 days later on a Monday afternoon. The middle pic is an interior shot also used in several episodes. I could not believe my eyes when I stepped through the door and was greeted by such a familiar sight! The last pic is, sadly, where Mac finds Darius's headless body after he is murdered by renegade Watchers in the 1st season finale, "The Hunters".
These last two locations were also used in the 1st season finale, during the scene where Mac tracks down a "Hunter" and begins questioning him in multiple different languages, all the while following him until the two reach the above courtyard. A huge brawl then ensues between Mac and about half a dozen or more Hunters as onlookers from the nearby building gawk and point. Eventually Richie rides in on his motorbike and "rescues" Mac, which is really one of the rare times he can claim to do so, eh?
I stumbled across this site by accident as well, during one of my many walks alone exploring the side-streets of Paris while Lisa took a nap back at our hotel. The arched arcade in the top pic surrounds the Place des Vosges, a plaza created by King Henri IV so that Parisiens would have somewhere to congregate and "chill out" like the Spaniards and Italians did.
I was racking my brain trying to figure out where the infamous courtyard could be in this same area, until I noticed two strollers stepping through an open doorway at the end of the long arcade. You can see them in the background of the top picture. I followed them, stepped through the doorway, and nearly passed out when I saw what I had been searching for. So perfect a moment! This is the picturesque courtyard behind the Hotel de Sully. Look it up if you're ever in the Marais district of Paris.
And so, that's the end of my pictorial tour. Hope you had as much fun reliving your favorite Highlander moments as I had visiting the sites on which they were filmed. The whole experience was so surreal for me, and only heightened the heady feeling that seemed to follow me wherever I went in this beautiful, magic city. Along the way I met many amusing people -- as well as some mild altercations with a group of street thugs or two -- all the while abusing the ears of unsuspecting Parisiens with my pitiful few (but helpful) French phrases.
It was a blast. I highly recommend walking as much as possible when visiting Paris. As I've shown, you never know just what you'll come across around that next corner on any given side-street.
***EDIT: I have since updated with more Highlander filming sites. To view them, click on the following link to visit Part 2 of my Highlander Tour of Paris!