CROSSING THE BRIDGE: PONT ALEXANDRE III

Fast on the heels of an ‘insignificant’ incident with a landmark of the Albion, the iconic-like Stonehenge, the journey of the Griswalds family goes ahead to Paris. Once made a switch between 1974 Austin Maxi and Citroen DS 1972, the triumphants of the ‘Pig in a Poke’ show now are humming with energy to summit the heart of France. The very first shot over the capital, by all means, includes a high-flying panorama over the Eiffel Tower, once taken just about above the Boulogne forest in direction of Jardins Du Trocadéro (Trocadero gardens) и Champ de Mars (Field of Mars). Clark didactically voices out the fact that they are experiencing the rive gauche (Left bank) of Seine. at the moment. At this point in the story the red Citroen, laden with extensive luggage, moves in the famous Pont Alexandre III. The corner-stone was once laid by Nicholaus II, a son of the tsar ruler Alexander III, who had passed away two years before the ceremony and six years prior to the opening of the bridge, named after him.

National Lampoon's Griswold in Paris

CROSSING THE BRIDGE: PONT ALEXANDRE III

Paris is world-famous with its bridges, yet even such high status among the European cities does not exclude the fact that Pont Alexandre III is to be regarded as the most gracile in Paris. Four pedestals of 17 meter-high with bronze statues overtop both sides of the accessway. All while entering Pont Alexandre III from the left bank, the red Citroën DS besides Renommée du Commerce («Fame of Commerce») and Renommée de l’Industrie («Fame of Industry»). In one of the later scenes, the family would make a brief stop next to a souvenir shop on the further side of Seine. ‘Pont Alexandre III  has been historically appreciated by the cinematographers and the most remarkable appearance of the last decade include a night promenade in ‘Midnight in Paris’ and a short scene with Emilia Clark in ‘Me before you’.

PONT ALEXANDRE III European vacation

PONT ALEXANDRE III in Paris

 

THE CAMERA FOUNTAIN

On their initial way to a Parisian hotel, Griswalds make a pit and probably the only stop. The scene is being filled with ‘Fontaine des Innocents’, one named after a medieval cemetery, at which walls the fountain had been located for centuries prior to a number of relocations, all nearby. The oldest preserved fountain with six centuries of history for good reason gave Clark an idea to take a shot of his family. The far background includes a glimpse of a magnificent Église Saint-Eustache (The Church of St. Eustache), a gothic cathedral of the XVII century. With an encounter with a polite handful French, the scene is being accompanied by the other side of a cozy square, all along Rue Saint-Denis. At the moment, when the unveiled snatcher rushes from the owners of a video camera, one could see the crossroad of Saint-Denis и Rue Berger. In the thirty-five years since the great majority of the signs have been filed as a history and a money changer and a few boutiques now form the image of the area. In a later scene, we would see Griswalds next to Etienne Marcel metro station, in fact, five minutes away from  ‘Fontaine des Innocents’.

THE CAMERA FOUNTAIN: Griswalds in Paris

THE CAMERA FOUNTAIN scene: European vacation

‘Fontaine des Innocents’ in Paris

 

THE HOTEL

Soon after a none too pleasant incident next to a fountain, the red 1972 Citroen DS finally comes at the residence accommodation. Clark, in a characteristical naivete manner,  knocks down the luggage of the previous incomers and parks his cat next to a hotel. The street in the scene bears the name of Boulevard Haussmann, once named after a Parisian architecture, the godfather of the ambitious urban redevelopment of Paris in the mid-XIX century. It stands to mention that the street was finalized eighty years after the initial development. In contrast to constrained conditions at ‘The Royal Imperial Windsor Arms Hotel’ in London, the living circumstances of the Griswald family seem to be far better. By the way, a surface gloss of the hotel does not preclude a comedian detail with a picturesque view from the window over the neighbor wall. Millennium Hotel Paris Opera, a hotel with 160 suites and history since 1927 stands on a place depicted in a movie. In the course of the Paris sequence, the movie would catch out to the reception area and a restaurant.

National Lampoon in Paris

National Lampoon in Paris: Griswalds in France

National Lampoon in Paris: a scene in a hotel

 

Helen Griswald and the wall

 

THE RESTAURANT

The Griswalds familia make their way back to the streets of Paris committed to a pursuit of getting inspired by French culture and culinary art. The cliche on the French-born arrogance and scant regards towards the US citizens now take new features. Clark, Helen, Rusty, and Audrey locate themselves within a street cafe with a panorama over one and only Eiffel Tower. The busy crossing on the threshold of VIII and XVI districts of Paris, with hand on heart, is hard to be appreciated as cozy and relaxed. The neighboring ‘Alma-Marceau metro station’ was named after the nearby Pont de I’Alma bridge and Avenue Marceau. The bridge is sadly remembered due to a tragic casualty of the British princess Diana within a tunnel beneath. With all that, the location indeed grants a magnificent panorama over Eiffel tower, 800 meters away. The none too polite attitude of the French waiter is in some way twice ironic, as the area includes Avenue de New York and Avenue du President Wilson.

National Lampoon in Paris: scene in restaurant

The restaurant scene: Clark Griswald

Pont de I’Alma bridge and Avenue Marceau

Pont de I’Alma bridge and Avenue Marceau in Paris

 

EIFFEL TOWER

It appears to Rusty that he now has to face the most humiliating version of the Paris walking, seeing that ‘french’ beret with his own name to blend in with the locals. The scene renders a glimpse of the familia quartet tossing up their heads. The famous ‘Champ de Mars’, a landscape park with Gargantua front lawns is conventionally occupied with thousands of locals and tourists at once. The admiring glance at the tower is followed by an ascent to one of the high viewing points with a breathtaking panorama over Paris. The sequence gratefully put the Griswald family atop the city without cinematic cross-cutting to remind the viewer the reason why Paris still mesmerizes the world. The later scene with a dog brings delight with the indeed existence of the water pools beneath the Eiffel Tower.

EIFFEL TOWER and Griswalds family

Champ de Mars: national lampoon european vacation

EIFFEL TOWER and Griswalds family

EIFFEL TOWER, Paris

 

THE CROSSROAD

The previous misfortunes have no chance to disrupt Clark’s schedule and his design to take some walking with his family across Paris in a way he would later perform in Rome with a travel guide in hand and no one behind. Anyway, his choice of landmarks happened to be not too shabby. A new sequence is being opened by a motion picture close-up of the ‘METROPOLITAIN’ sign, preserved until the present days. Etienne Marcel metro station was named after a French state official of the XIV century, who had once led the Paris brunch of the all-state peasantry rebellion. The subway station and the main entrance-exit (the one Griswalds use) were opened back in 1908. Clark takes up the position of a devoted cameraman of his family, yet without insight into a manual of polaroid cameras, leaving the moment solely in memory and on the pavement. We could see Rue de Turbigo, a street named to honor the victory of the French army over the Austrians back in 1859. It is worth noting that an attentive traveler could find the already seen ‘Fontaine des Innocents’ five minutes from the crossroad.

Etienne Marcel metro station Paris

Etienne Marcel metro station: Clark Griswald

Etienne Marcel metro station: Helen, Rusty and Audrey

Etienne Marcel metro station Paris

 

FRENCH SOUVENIRS

A cheerful family left behind Etienne Marcel metro station and made their way up to VIII district of Paris next to another two streets named after the American presidents. Avenue Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Avenue du General Eisenhower.  In a narrow means, Griswalds are found to be at the spot, they have passed by a car a day before, next to Pont Alexandre III. With that, the non-french topographical nominations are still yet to be found nearby. Clarke awkwardly disrupts the merchant’s merchandise at the souvenir shop at the crossing of Cours la Reine and Avenue Winston Churchill. Initially, the road connecting the Champs Elysees with the ‘rive gauche’ (left bank) was named after the Russian Emperor Nicholas II but was later renamed in honor of his father, after whom the majestic bridge had been unveiled. The avenue came into its modern name in 1966 to honor the former Prime Minister of Great Britain, who passed away a year before. In 1998, in the presence of Queen Elizabeth II of England, on the other side of the intersection, a monument to Churchill was unveiled, which, therefore, had not yet existed during the travel day of the Griswolds. The souvenir shop itself was meant to be located next to a modern bus stop beside the grandiose ‘Grand Palais’, the exhibition center opened as far back in history as 1900.

FRENCH SOUVENIRS: National lampoon in Paris, France

FRENCH SOUVENIRS: National lampoon in Paris

crossing of Cours la Reine and Avenue Winston Churchill

Cours la Reine and Avenue Winston Churchill

 

RUSTY AND AUDREY

Along with two immersions of the Eiffel Tower, the story had no way to ignore another iconic, not to say required, Paris landmark: Notre-Dame de Paris. Overlooking the Cite island, the Griswalds family promenades along the quay of Seine river, Quai de Montebello, named after the French general of the times of the Revolution. In this vein, Rusty picked up an offbeat location, historically chosen by the cameramen and cinematographers, to stop the breath of his own sister. Just a few hundred meters away, Jesse and Celine decided to board a riverboat on the Seine at ‘Before Sunset’, and Paul Bettany’s Sailas, dressed in a black monk robe with a hood, took a call on the heels of the ‘Pont de l’Archevêché’ in a debated ‘Da Vinci Code’. This very part of the Seine quay pleased the walking tastes of Owen Wilson’s Gil in ‘Midnight in Paris’, who made the most of the street cafe and  ‘Shakespeare and Co’ nearby.

Quai de Montebello: Rusty and Audrey

Quai de Montebello Paris: National Lampoon

Quai de Montebello Paris

 

LOUVRE

The Paris sequence of the movie is to be culminated by a visit to the Louvre museum. With the spirit of the very first ‘National lampoon’ movie, Clark needs as much as fifteen minutes to grasp thousands of pieces of art. As thirty-five years passed, Louvre welcomes its guests by means of two new entrances, the one by the means of a glass Piramide, a sight that had been given much attention in ‘Da Vinci Code’.

Griswalds family visits Louvre

The louvre museum National lampoon European vacation

The Louvre Museum

The entrance to Louvre