A Return to Amelie Poulain’s Paris

In case you missed it, early last year I published a post sharing my love for the French movie Amélie

Amelie's red umbrella

And telling the story of how this film (and a red polka dot umbrella), inspired me to travel to Paris back in 2003:

Collignon's Market, Paris - From the Film Amelie

At the time, I promised to revisit this post and share photos of the red umbrella on its second visit to Paris, ten years later.

I almost forgot…

So here it is, some photos Kevin and I took of Amelie Poulain’s Paris last spring. Some things had stayed exactly the same, many others had changed, but in most cases, I think Amelie would  have approved of how her beloved city had changed.

Springtime in Paris // Notre Dame Cathedral

(If you’ve never seen the movie, its on Netflix streaming or you can rent it or buy it here. Seriously… watch it this weekend!)

Scenes from the Film:

Our first order of business was to revisit Collignon’s Market (Au Marche de la Butte56, rue des Trois Frères. Metro: Abysses) where Amelie used her red umbrella while talking to the shopkeeper’s assistant Lucien in the rain. The building looked exactly as it did back in 2003, except for the old lady in front…

Collignon's Market, Paris - From the Film Amelie

Next we went by the cafe where Amelie worked as a waitress, the Cafe des Deux Moulins (15 Rue Lepic, Metro: Blanche). Rue Lepic is a very busy street so I felt a little awkward posing with an umbrella under clear skies.

Amelie's Paris: Cafe des 2 Moulins

The front entrance of the Notre-Dame Cathedral is where Amelie’s mother met her untimely death…

Notre-Dame Cathedral, Paris

Most all trips to Paris involve a pass through the city’s main, intercity train station (and busiest in Europe), Gare du Nord. This is the station where Amelie catches the train to visit her father and offers money to a homeless man, who declines it saying he doesn’t “work on Sundays.”

Gare du Nord station, Paris

The carousel in the park below the Sacré-Cœur Basilica is where Amelie returned Nino’s scrapbook. On our visit, there was no sign of the public phone booth Amelie used to call him. (Damn cell phones…)

Sacré-Cœur Basilica Carousel, Paris

Several Paris subway stations are important places in the film and in the movie, while I don’t think these two stations (Menilmontant and Oberkampf) were used, they are equally romantic.

Paris Metro: Menilmontant

Paris Metro: Oberkampf

The Canal St. Martin is where one of the most beautifully-filmed scenes in the movie takes place — with Amelie skipping stones as the camera pans out and around her.

Canal St. Martin -- Amelie's Paris

(While we didn’t run into Amelie at the canal, we did meet our friend, Agathe, there right before sunset)

Canal St. Martin -- Amelie's Paris

Things Amelie Would Enjoy

In addition to scenes where the movie was filmed, there were many things we saw in Paris that I thought the whimsical, beauty-seeking Amelie would enjoy.

In 2013, there was a lot more street art in Paris than I remember a decade ago. I think Amelie would have enjoyed these delicate paste-up works by artist, Fred le Chevalier…

Fred le Chevalier street art, Paris

And this work by an unknown (by me) artist in the Belleville neighborhood.

Street art, Belleville - Paris

I think Amelie also would have enjoyed this quirky art project. When we were exploring Monmartre, we watched a young guy pasting these funny thought bubbles on the heads of these cast iron fountains. This one says, “I’m tired of this job”…

Cast iron water fountains, Paris

and this one says, “put your arms in the air!”

Cast iron water fountains, Paris

Amelie definitely would have approved of our cute and colorful apartment! Every table was covered with a different oilcloth in bold patterns and colors I imagine that Amelie would have picked out.

Our Amelie-approved Paris Kitchen

Like me, I don’t think she would have enjoyed the “tour groups by Segway” gumming up the city’s busy streets, but unlike me, I know she would have loved the love locks!

Segways and love locks in Paris

There’s no doubt Amelie loved local markets and though we didn’t run into her friend “Lucien” at Collignon’s Market, we did meet some other friendly produce vendors

Market vendors, Marche Menilmontant, Paris

We shared Algerian food with this guy over stories of his life growing up in a small town outside of Algiers. I can imagine Amelie would be curious about other cultures and inspired to travel by friends she meets at a food stall.

Algerian food and friends

This comically Parisian woman and her cute daughter reminded me of the scenes of Amelie as a little girl.

Parisian woman on bike

While we know from the film that Amelie loved cracking the surface of crème brûlée, I bet she probably also loved biting into the perfect macaron.

The Best Macaron in Paris

We know from the film that Amelie was a prone to voyeurism, imagining the intimate life details of people she saw when she looked out her window. I felt a bit like that when watching unassuming sunbathers from the top of the Promenade Plantee.

Promenade Plantee, Paris

Amelie wore her heart on her sleeve and definitely would have enjoyed the I Love You Wall (Located in the square at the Place des Abbesses), a large tile installation that depicts the phrase “I love you” written in 250 different languages.

The I Love You Wall in Paris

Amelie definitely would have loved my friend Pierre and his uncle, Scott. They are kind people and, if I remember correctly, Pierre likes the movie as much as me!

Good friends

 We stumbled upon this street, Rue Amelie, in a ritzy area on the Left Bank. It was definitely not the kind of neighborhood Amelie would hang out in, but I enjoyed imagining the street was named after her.

Rue Amelie, Paris

Have you ever been inspired to travel by a movie?

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  1. SUCH a cute post! It’s been way too long since I last watched Amélie, but given that it’s available to stream on Netflix and we actually have decent internet, I think I know what I’ll be doing tonight! 😀
    Steph ( recently posted…Chewing the Fat with Jimmy Eats World!My Profile

    • Cassie Kifer says:

      Right!? It’s such a good movie, I hope you do! Good to know its on Netflix (I’ll add that to the post), we have the DVD so I’ve never tried. I’m probably dating myself a little with my obsession with this movie made back in 2001. Those young whippersnapper travelers today probably haven’t seen it :)

  2. Such a cool idea to see Paris from Amelie’s eyes! Almost felt as if I was back in the movie, great post! I can’t even remember how often I’ve seen the movie, but I’m thinking now .. perhaps another time :-O
    Lydian recently posted…Amsterdam Light Festival, The Illuminated CityMy Profile

    • Cassie Kifer says:

      Lydian, I’m so glad you enjoyed the post and thought it felt like like it was coming from Amelie’s perspective. And it’s never a bad time to rewatch it :)

  3. My favorite movie of all time!! We used to live right around the corner from some of these spots and I always smiled when I walked by.
    Andrea recently posted…What’s On Your Bumper?My Profile

  4. I *love* this post! I too love Amelie! I am particularly taken by the street art paste-up works by Fred le Chevalier…you would *never* see that in the US.
    Deborah Levoy recently posted…Paco De Lucia We are grateful for your music!My Profile

    • Cassie Kifer says:

      Thanks, Deb! Glad you love Amelie and le Chevalier’s art, too. He has a very elegant, Parisan style doesn’t he?

  5. Not sure how I missed this post before but I’m now in love with it – just like I”m in love with all things Amelie! Vive la Paris!! I have been to Paris several times but I’ve never managed to retrace Amelie’s steps, so this post feels like a mini vacation.

    • Cassie Kifer says:

      Ahhh, I’m so glad you love Amelie, Vanessa! And I’m glad you enjoyed my imaginary walk around the city with her. If she were real, I know we’d be BFFs :)

  6. I love that you chose Amelie to guide your journey through Paris! It is one of my favorite movies, I watch it at least once a year! You were just as imaginative as she is during your wandering through Paris.

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