I think I did a rather good job, as evidenced by the first part of this tour which I wrote almost exactly one year ago. Click on this link if you want to review the initial batch of sites I was able to find across Paris. If you are a fan of the show and/or planning a trip to the city yourself, I gather this entry will be rather helpful as well as entertaining to you.
Having just come back from our second trip to the "city of light," I am pleased to announced that I have found even more sites than last time. For some of you, this will answer the questions you've submitted regarding many other locations I was not able to find or had time to visit last year. Using my almost encylopedic knowledge of the episodes, as well as that ever trusty and ubiquitous search tool--Google maps!--I was able to prepare a list of several promising locations before even setting foot on European soil. And I'm pleased to announce that I was able to locate every one of these sites.
Still, this entry, in addition to the first, does not represent every filming location ever used in the history of the television show. There is still much to be explored and discovered in the grand ancient streets of Paris, so this list in no way represents the be-all and end-all of this endeavor. I'm sure I will be updating this in the years to come, and gladly so.
With that being said, let's get started with perhaps the most asked question by fans to drop into my inbox:
Where was the Highlander's barge briefly moved during the second season?
Now, before I answer this, let's back up a bit and recap the original location of the barge. For those who want a quick fix answer to this:
The primary spot where the barge was moored for almost the entire show is along "port de la Tournelle," which is the cobblestoned quai that lies just between the Pont Tournelle and Pont Archeveche bridges on the left bank of the river Seine. Basically, just find Notre Dame cathedral in the Latin Quarter and you're pretty much there!
Here's a recent pic of the quai that I took last week from atop Pont Tournelle, which offers the best view. This is also the spot from which a Watcher took various candid photos of Mac and company. As usual, click on all images to view larger versions:
Now, as many fans know, during Highlander's second season the river Seine flooded over its banks and the real-life barge used for filming had to be moved from port Tournelle to another, safer, spot in Paris. The producers of the show found a way to work this into the mid-season episode "Unholy Alliance, pt. II," in which Mac flies to Paris only to have Agent Delaney drive him to the quai and show him that the barge is no longer there.
This is the same ramp they drive down, located midway along port Tournelle. It should be recognizeable to most fans for sure, because it was used in many other episodes over the years.
As for just where the barge was moved, try a little reservoir near the northern outskirts of Paris called "Bassin de la Villette":
This is the mouth of the reservoir, which today hosts not one but TWO fairly large cineplex venues situated on either bank, along with a host of pretty decent outdoor cafes for the requisite people-watching beloved by Parisians young and old. You can get here by taking the 2, 5, or 7 lines to the Stalingrad metro stop and walking around 2 minutes east. Once here, walk along the left side a ways until you get nearly to the halfway mark where I'm standing in the pic below:
I reached the reservoir after a rather long day and when the sun was nearly setting, so the lighting quality is poor. But as you can see, this is the spot where the barge was moored for several episodes during the latter half of the 2nd season. Notice the green pedestrian bridge as well as the tall, white apartment complex in the background. If you watch "Unholy Alliance, pt. 2" during the scene when Mac walks up to the barge and reminisces about the happy moments he spent with Tessa, you'll be able to see that this is indeed the same location. Too cool!
Eventually, however, the barge was returned back to its rightful place behind Notre Dame for the rest of the season, but would alternate between the two locations off and on throughout the years.
This next site is actually not all that far from port Tournelle, just a stone throw's away (almost literally) on the way to Ile Saint-Louis -- an island just next door to the cathedral:
This bridge is the Pont St. Louis and, while it was used more than once on the show, is probably most recognizeable from the 6th season premiere episode, "Avatar." This is the bridge where Sophie Baines is tricked by Ahriman into commiting suicide, and Duncan dives off of the railing to plunge into the murky Seine and rescue her. He then drags her body to the quai along Port d'Orleans for a little mouth-to-mouth. It's fun to note that actor Adrian Paul actually performed the stunt himself (the dive, I mean) -- much to the worry of his fellow cast members and the show's producers. I don't know if you could have paid me enough to jump into the Seine.
While we're still in the same general area, I'd like to take the time to point out two other locations that unfortunately only put in brief apperances on the show, but which were both in notable scenes that have stayed with me long after the series has ended.
This first is directly across the street from Notre Dame in the garden behind St. Julien le Pavre, the church where Darius lived and worked. The little open space between these two unique-looking trees is where an "evil" Duncan Macleod passes through in the 4th season episode, "Deliverance," when he seeks redemption inside the church's hallowed walls. You can find this garden on rue de la Bucherie, just a few hundred feet or so from the Shakespeare & Co. English-language bookstore (another Highlander landmark).
This next spot might not be immediately recognized since it was never viewed from this vantage. This is the quite popular (but super expensive) chic Parisian restaurant known as La Tour d'Argent, located on Quai de la Tournelle at the foot of Pont Tournelle. You can't miss it!
The restaurant is notable for its expansive scenic view of the river and the "flying buttresses" of Notre Dame cathedral. It's significant to Highlander because the interior was used to stand-in as the immortal Kuyler's penthouse pad during a flashback scene in the 1st season episode, "For Evil's Sake." In this scene, Mac fights Kuyler in his studio apartment, only to have the fight spill out onto the streets below. This flashback is beloved by fans because it revealed to us just how Mac meets Tessa. But if you watch the scene, you'll definitely notice that rather distinctive tri-sectional bay window up there. The interior of the restaurant looks far different now, but alas I could not get myself on the reservation list to take photos from the inside. Boo!
REDACTION (updated 5/13/2012): I've recently been informed by Andy Sloane, an ardent Highlander fanatic like myself, that in fact La Tour d'Argent was not the filming location for Kuyler's loft as I had thought. Although not having been there in person, Andy did some amazing online research involving Google Earth to determine that the view of Notre Dame we see out the windows in this interior scene matches up with the line of sight accomplished from the Arab World Institute building (Institut du Monde Arabe) located approximately one city block southeast of La Tour d'Argent, at the intersection of Quai Saint Bernard and Pont de Sully bridge. So if you're ever in Paris, stop by the Institute and take some pics from the upper levels. The next time I'm there, I'll be sure to do just that and update this page with the correct pics. Thanks Andy!
In fact, "For Evil's Sake" is the perfect stepping off point to reveal the next batch of photos, all of which were used to various effect within the episode.
First off here we have the restaurant where one of Kuyler's lackeys, disguised as a mime, assassinates a lawyer at the opening of the episode. The resturant has a new name and new facade today, but I was able to use the address of the building in the background (18, rue St. Severin to be exact) to confirm that this is indeed the same corner bistro spot as that in the episode.
Next up you have the church of St. Severin itself, which back-alley entrance was used as a safe spot for Mac and Kuyler to chat in broad daylight without having to go at one another with swords. I'm standing in the second shot for scale, and not for added dramatic effect. Yeah.
Directly across from the church entrance is this shopfront which, at the time the episode was filmed, served as the Carlo Luchesi liquor store where Mac tracks down Kuyler's favorite brand of Absinthe. Today, as you can see, it is apparently an Italian cultural center. A fact which I think actor Adrian Paul would appreciate, being of half Italian ancestry himself.
St. Severin would also serve as a backdrop to yet another 1st season episode, this time being the one and only "Avenging Angel" -- one of my favorites! If you move to the right of the back entrance as seen in the above shots, you'll spy a quaint little secluded courtyard behind a barred fence.
This is the very same courtyard where Mac chases a soon to be newly annointed Immortal, Alfred Cahill, when the latter is stabbed in the chest by a pricey call-girl and left to die. Mac is standing next to his lifeless body there behind the arches when Cahill eventually revives and discovers that he cannot, in fact, die. Not while his head is still attached to his shoulders, at least. You can see the little entrance to one side of the statue (and behind the tree) where both men entered the courtyard. Unfortunately, it was gated and closed to visitors the entire time I was in Paris. And trust me, I checked almost daily! In order to get this shot, I had to stick my camera through the bars and hoped my zoom worked it's magic, which it did.
Staying with the same episode, I was able to finally discover the location of the spot where Mac tracks down Cahill again to have their contentious talk about immortality and god's so-called "plans" for Cahill. The wall is located along rue d'Alsace, made notable by the unmistakeable green-roofed "rows" of the Gare de l'Est railway terminal in the background:
Recognize it now? You can't imagine how happy I was to finally find this place. I tried looking for it during my first trip to Paris, but to no avail. All I can say is: thank you, Google maps "street view" function! I knew the spot had to be a railway terminal, and there are but a limited number of them in the city. Trial and error did the rest.
In the same scene, and if you notice in the background of the pics above, there are steps leading down to the station entrance where Mac and Cahill have to fight off some rather nasty mafia goons.
It's a very distinctive double-spiral staircase, and not too far from the previous spot. So, much like with the St. Severin location, I was able to kill two birds with one stone here. Always good in my book.
Now, last but not least is another 1st season filming spot, this time from the episode "The Beast Below." This is one of the few locations nobody should really have any problem locating, since it is in fact the very recognizeable Opera Garnier building smack dab in the heart of the glitzy Paris fashion district. In "The Beast Below," the Highlander eventually ends up fighting the Quasimodo-inspired Immortal, Ursa, atop the rooftops seen in the above pic.
Inside the opera house itself are several additional areas used in the episode as well. From the gorgeously appointed and curving grand staircase just within the main entrance to the famous Chagall ceiling above the seating area, the building is rich not just in Highlander lore, but in art history as well.
Just below is a quick pic I snapped of the stage which, while updated since the episode first aired in 1992, is still recognizaeble to fans. Well, to this fan at least.
This, of course, is the very same stage where the object of the immortal Ursa's affection, Carolyn, rehersed each day for her starring role.
And there you have it folks. Yes, that's a lot of pics, ain't it? What can I say, I'm very passionate about this tv show. My favorite of all time, bar none. If you are not a fan, don't even bother trying to understand.
But if you ARE indeed a true fan, then please feel free to use this humble series of blog entries to chart your very own Highlander tour the next time you're in Paris. Trust me, it's a thrill like no other!
And in case you missed the link at the beginning of this page, click on this link to get taken back to: Part 1 of my Highlander Tour of Paris.