The best film locations in France

Sommières, Gard, the jaw-droppingly beautiful location for Claude Berri’s much-loved films Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources

Movie buff Samantha David gets ready for her close-up with a tour of iconic cinema backdrops the length and breadth of France

So many beautiful films have been shot in France, it is almost as if the entire country is a film set. Paris – obviously – is particularly beloved by film directors while the French Riviera comes a close second.

But smaller, lesser-known towns and villages have also been chosen as film locations, and tracking them down is a great way of getting off the beaten path.

Many scenes in Claude Berri’s much-loved Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources (both made in 1986) were shot in Sommières, Gard, halfway between Nîmes and Montpellier, and the town is definitely worth a visit.

Use the car park on the west side of the river Vidourle and walk over the footbridge into the medieval centre – admiring the Roman bridge to your right – and you will understand the attraction; the beautiful cobbled streets, ancient stone buildings and colonnaded market place are just begging to be filmed. No wonder the writer Lawrence Durrell lived in Sommières from 1966 to 1990.

The Saturday morning street market is bustling, and throughout the summer there is a full programme of events and attractions. There is an annual Medieval Fête every June, and all summer there are regular ‘courses Camarguaises’ in the Roman arena (one of the only ones with partial shade from the trees).

In July and August the evening market, which starts at 6pm, is a wonderful chance to explore; the esplanade beside the river is taken over by a giant vide grenier on August 18th; and ...

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