Through fashionable Paris in the footsteps of Audrey Hepburn
The Ritz appears in three of Audrey's films. In the first film she made in Paris, "Funny Face," this is where the magazine editor stays. It's appropriate, as the hotel was Coco Chanel's home for many years.
In Audrey's second Paris film, "Love in the Afternoon," made in 1957, this is the hotel where Gary Cooper stays and where married women visit him in the afternoons. Audrey plays Ariane, the daughter of a detective hired by the husband of one of the women who make these afternoon visits. Improbably, Ariane falls in love with the aging playboy and helps him escape. Once again, Audrey is paired with a man who is much too old for her (by nearly 30 years), and his character is distinctly creepy.
In "How to Steal a Million," the dashing art specialist-turned-burglar played by Peter O'Toole stays here. After Audrey discovers him examining a forged painting at her home, she drives him back here in the middle of the night in his own E-type Jaguar. She is fetchingly dressed in nightdress, coat and gumboots. Later in that movie, she comes here to ask him to steal the statue. She is dressed in black lace Givenchy with an eye veil through which you can see glittering eyeshadow on her lids. It's a classic scene.
At one point in the film, Peter O'Toole leans out of his hotel window and aims his toy boomerang at the Colonne Vendome, the column in the middle of the square. He nearly falls out of the window as he catches it. In that same scene, he gets Audrey to dress up as a cleaning lady to play her part in the theft. He says this will "give Givenchy a night off." That was a rare thing in Audrey's life!
This is where we end the tour. I hope you've enjoyed following in the footsteps of Audrey Hepburn. Despite the fact that Audrey never lived here, the city is closely associated with her unique brand of glamour and sophistication.
If you want to visit more sites related to Audrey Hepburn, go to the Palais Royal, where the final scenes of "Charade" were filmed. Colette, who gave Audrey her first big break, lived in an apartment in the Palais Royal and there is also a vintage clothing store in the arcade run by Didier Ludot, who wrote a book about the history of the Little Black Dress.
Another place you might enjoy is the Musée Jacquemart-André, the exterior of which was used for the art gallery in "How to Steal a Million."
But now you are probably ready for a meal or a snack. If the Ritz is open and you can afford its high prices, walk right in. But if you are on a budget, continue around the square to your left, and take the street leading out, then turn right into the rue Daniel Casanova. This narrow street has many little cafes and sandwich bars. Bon appetit!
And thanks for walking with Audrey and me today.