Monday, March 29, 2010

My Self-Guided Highlander Tour Of Paris: Part Deux

Last year during our very first trip to Paris, I made it a point of identifying and locating as many filming locations for Highlander: The Series as possible. Believe it or not, there's actually woefully little info on the 'Net regarding the exact locations of many of the sites used over the course of the show's six-year run. So, for the most part I was left to figure it all out on my own.

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.

47 comments:

mercy said...

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David Batista said...

Thank you, mercy. Or, should I say: "merci beaucoup"? :)

That's a nice site I shall be checking out the next time we travel to Paris.

Teri Jurgens Lefever said...

I recently discovered that Sy-Fi channel was showing Highlander late at night. I've been recording them to watch during the day, and it's a bit like visiting with an good old friend you haven't seen in awhile. The next time I'm in Paris, I will take your information with me to visit some of these places. Wish we could see some of the interiors. Thanks!

David Batista said...

Terri, you're very welcome! It always warms my heart to find another avid Highlander fan out there. I wish you the best of luck on your future travel(s) to Paris.

Mac Porteiro said...

Wow, fantastic!! I was looking for a picture of the barge on the net but ended up finding your blog first. Do you know if the barge is still in Paris? I was there 1 week ago, but couldn't remember how Duncan's Parisian home was from outside, hehe... Anyway, great to meet other fans of the Highlander series. Cheers!

David Batista said...

Hey Mac, thanks for stumbling across the blog!

The barge that was used for filming--and it was, indeed, a real converted live-in barge--no longer resides in Paris, if it even exists anymore at all. Trust me, if it did I would have taken pictures! :)

Always good to hear from a fellow fan. Au revoir!

getyourselfconnected said...

OMFG!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Too much. I think I do not like you now.

Kidding, amazing pics, thanks so much. I do believe Darius' church will be a poster in my den.

So glad to have 'met' you.

David Batista said...

Awesome! Glad you liked the pics so much. It's getting to be that time of year when I would normally head to Paris. Alas, I won't be able to go this year. I'm so distraught!

And glad to have met you, too. But, uh . . . THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE! :)

Shadrach said...

Hey, just wanted to tell you I think this is pretty cool. I watched the show in college--much to the consternation of my then wife haha--and just recently rediscovered it. I'm watching it from beginning. The pix look great. What a fun tour. Kudos.

David Batista said...

Shadrach -- thanks, man! I was in college, too, when seasons 3 through 6 aired. Much to the consternation of pretty much everyone else around me, LOL! I got my wife (then girlfriend) hooked on the show, too. I hope you got to check out Part 1 of this tour. As that was our first time in Paris, the pics in that entry are particularly FAN-tastic to me. :)

yizuman said...

What about the Le Rialto, where the Mime shot the old man inside the store and Duncan chased him through a gated area where the Mime jumped into a motorcycle and escaped? Ever find that place?

yizuman said...

When do you plan to go back to France to visit it again? I'm sure there's alot of areas you're still looking for and I would love to see more pictures.

yizuman said...

While watching Season 1, Ep 14 "For Evil's Sake" I looked up the word "Absinthe" which used to be illegal, but no longer since sales of Absinthe resumed in 2008, so since filming of this episode, sales of Absinthe was in fact, illegal.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absinthe

Very interesting read....

David Batista said...

Yizuman, glad you liked the pics. And thanks for stopping by!

You know what? I certainly did try my best to find the spot you're talking about. Unfortunately, no searches for Le Rialto in Paris came up with anything useful. Which doesn't surprise me. As with my native New York, most small shops and restaurants have quick turnarounds there. They're there one year, and gone the next. I don't think this place exists in Paris anymore. I tried finding street signs in that scene, but to no avail. Unless I stumble across the place by accident one day, I'm afraid I'm just going to have to give up on finding it.

As for a return trip to Paris: sure! I'm definitely planning on one. But I have no idea when that might be. Sometime next year perhaps. I'll have to devise a whole new list of Highlander locations to find.

Oh, and yes -- I know about Absinthe sales in France. In fact, on my last trip there I found a really cool Absinthe shop where they sell only that. It's called "L'Absinthe" and it's near St. Pauls in the Marais district. The St. Paul metro stop is nearby. On the day I went there, though, it was closed. And I never did get the chance to go back. But next time I'm in Paris . . .

yizuman said...

The visit was my pleasure as I enjoyed your travel posts in Paris to be immensely enjoyable. I hope to look forward to reading more future ones on your possible next trip.

I see you're enjoying Game of Thrones, have you also watched the new series Camelot? If so, what do you think of it?

charm said...

Hi david, I had a great time going through your article! You've sure had a very wonderful tour, and your photos were really great! You know what, I love Paris that much, it's really my ideal place, sad to say I've never been there, but I'll make it sure soon, somehow someday I'll be able to visit my favorite place. You've surely inspired me with your travel. You might love to check out southwest travel too. Feel Free!

David Batista said...

Charm -- I'm "charmed" you stopped by. :) Thanks for the kind words, and I'm so happy you enjoyed the pics. I completely fell head over heels in love with this city, and I'm certain you will, too, when you eventually visit. Trust me, it will be so worth it! Thanks for the link. I do love to travel.

Anonymous said...

Hello, David!
My name is Maria. Thanks a lot to you for such wonderful guide - I've used a part of it while spending my time in Paris this December.
I'm also fond of the Highlander series and also found several filming places in Paris, e.g. the shop where Mac tried to buy Iran caviar to get the trace of Xavier St Cloud (love this scene). I’ve discovered the park where Mac walked with Lisa Millon (Counterfeit) and found out that she hasn’t seen the works of Rodin. Also by occasion I found the street where Duncan got in contact with Lisa Millon for the first time and several others. If you are interested, I can send you the names of these places and photos for your collection ;)

David Batista said...

Hello Maria,

Glad you enjoyed my tour! And how wonderful that you went out and found your own locations--that's fantastic! I wouldn't mind seeing your photos (but I won't share them) and learning the locations of those sites. Those are some of my favorite episodes! :)

Aly said...

This is amazing! Thanks for doing all of the leg work and finding these places! I am going to Paris in March, and am definitely going to go see as many of these as I can. I think I'll even gear up for the trip with a Highlander marathon, and rewatch all of the episodes before the trip! (Or, at least the Paris ones!)
Thanks again! Your pictures have made my and my husband's night, and I'm definitely going to use this blog as a travel guide! :)

Anonymous said...

Awesome, watched Highlander back in the mid/late 90's and just got the entire series on DVD. Am on season 3. This is great, plan on visiting some of these places myself!

A+ for the pictures and sharing them with us. :)

David Batista said...

Wow, awesome! It amazes me that there are still so many ardent fans of this show. I myself just rewatched the 2nd Season 2-parter, "Counterfeit" on DVD the other day. It brought back so many wonderful memories! Thanks for visiting, Anonymous!

David Batista said...

You're very welcome, Aly! I'm so excited for you two, and hope you have a fantastic trip!

Isabel said...

Hi, David - These blog posts are awesome! My husband and I are rediscovering our love of Highlander, having been fans in the 90's. We just watched "Deliverance" again on YouTube last night and were pleasantly surprised to see two locations outside of Paris that are near & dear to our hearts & well worth visiting. You should totally rent a car & go next time you're in France - they can be done as one day trip! The first is Honfleur (supposedly Le Havre in the story), where evil Duncan invades the sailor's home, and just half an hour away is beautiful Etretat, where Methos takes him after picking him up in a car. The church on the cliff indeed has a spectacular view. About Paris - do you happen to know which street is featured at the beginning of "Methuselah's Gift," when Amanda is nervously walking, and also in "The Hunters" when Horton fakes Tessa out? Thanks again for the blog posts!

David Batista said...

You're very welcome, Isabel. This is truly amazing how many of us crazy Highlander fanatics are out there! I can't believe I get to share my obsession with so many others. You know, I really never knew that the location in "Deliverance" wasn't actually Le Havre. So that's news to me, and I thank you so much for providing me with these two locations. As for those other two -- I will have to rewatch the episodes in question to get a better idea of where those scenes may have been filmed. As if I'm complaining! :)

leXav said...

Great blog. I'm working in paris and i use to run along the river seine. I can't help thinking about Highlander when i'm there ! That's my story about how google lead me to your blog ;-)

Anonymous said...

a big "bravo"!!!!!!!!!
i was searching a blog like yours because i live near paris and i wanted to make an "highlander tour"...You did a very good job and it s so nice that you decided to share it
LAURE

David Batista said...

leXav and Laure,

It is so wonderful to hear from people actually living in or around Paris! I'm very humbled you enjoyed this tour, and I would like to add that I do intend on updating this site in the future with even MORE locations and pictures! I just need to figure out a way to get to France, first. Let's see: a plane ticket from New York to Paris is how much, now?

Anonymous said...

David,

Very nice work.

I hadn't watched a Highlander episode in quite some time and just happened to watch S1 finale and was wondering about the locations. Your page is excellent!

Thanks,

Les

David Batista said...

Thanks to you, Les, for visiting. I need to do a rewatch of the entire show from start to finish soon. It's been a very long time since I've watched an episode. Too long!

Anonymous said...

Hi David,

Your blog is awesome! I am going to Europe in a few months and was planning to spend some time exploring exactly the places you've found!

Thanks heaps, saved me a lot of research/prep time! And I am so glad from seeing in your blog that there are other highlander fanatics! My friends know nothing about this show - I almost feel like an immortal living in another generation! LOL

Thanks again!

Au

David Batista said...

Why thank you! Us Highlanders have to stick together. :)

Anonymous said...

you should check
http://www.musee-jacquemart-andre.com/
this is the museum that was robbed by amanda in the lady and the tiger.
it is in many other episodes as well
http://www.musee-jacquemart-andre.com/fr/vues-exterieures?galerie=1

David Batista said...

Why, thank you very much for that. Excellent! I shall definitely keep this location in mind whenever I return to the city for more Highlander spots to photograph.

Merci!

Matteo said...

Thanks for this trip down memory lane! I was reading this BBC article on shakespeare & co, and I was immediately reminded of 'The series'. I wasn't sure if the store featured in The Series, but it seems that it did!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-16200094

Cheers

David Batista said...

Matteo, you are welcome!

Yes, Shakespeare & Co. is a great place every book lover should visit while in Paris. It's so easily accessible, too, being just across the street from Notre Dame cathedral.

Thanks for stopping by, and thank you for the link. I believe I read this article a few years back.

E said...

I think Le Rialto doesn't exist. In the next episode with Xavier St Cloud, the bar has another name. Looking at the streets, no signs, no cars, it may very well be a fake street in an outside studio, there were lots of them in the 90's around Paris !

David Batista said...

Yes, I believe you are correct, E. That's my conclusion as well.

Nancy Arenas said...

Hi, heading to Paris in a week or so and want to do the Highlander Paris. Thanks for the information, which I will use while In Paris. As they say...There can only be One!

David Batista said...

Hi Nancy -- oh, awesome! Let me know how it goes. I'll be interested in hearing your account. I would like to know how Paris in general is this time of year. But if nothing else, I hope you have lots of FUN!!! :) Safe travels.

Wayne Felch said...

Just wondering if you knew where the stadium for the final fight the vampire was shot at

David Batista said...

Sorry, Wayne. I have no idea. But the next time I'm in France, I'll certainly do my best to find out. I doubt very much the location still exists, though.

Unknown said...

David, this is an awesome blog, I'm heading to Paris for the first time ever in April (2017) and I'd definitely like to check some of these spots out because I'm a big fan myself. Were there any places to eat or drink near any of these locations that you'd recommend?

-Mike W-

tony ice said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tony ice said...

In basin de la villette there is the house of the immortel that killed Simone in" reasonable doubt "in season 3 (sorry for my english)

tony ice said...


in episode "For Evil's Sake"
I confirm the locations of shooting is well in the Institute of the Arab World. I am falling on it walking along the Seine starting from the "quai de la tournelle", I recognized the grounds of the windows. At the exit of the building there are red lights for traffic as in the series when Mac meets the police

Anonymous said...

This is absolutely amazing! Thank you so much! I am giving my husband a coupon book based on his favorite tv shows. For example "Game Of Thrones", I am having him eat like a king at Fogo de Chao, Winter is coming so I booked a hotel in Vail for him to ski, Dragon glass- I got him an arrow head dragon glass. The show REIGN, I booked a stay at a castle. Him and I loved Highlander and he wanted to go to Paris, So I will take him to Paris and do all this ! Thank you for making it easy on me!


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