The new French Netflix series Lupin has become a huge international hit. Like all films and series set in Paris, it’s fun to try and figure out where the key scenes were filmed around the city. Obviously there are the iconic Parisian monuments like the Eiffel Tower and Sacré Coeur that you’ll recognize right away, along with bridges such as the Pont des Arts. But there are plenty of other locations in and around Paris, some well known, some more obscure.
The Louvre (1st arrondissement)
Much of the first episode takes place at the Louvre Museum, where the main character Assane Diop (played by Omar Sy) is a janitor checking out the Queen’s Necklace than he plans on stealing. You’ll see the familiar Gallery of Italian Paintings, the Mona Lisa and the Wedding at Cana. His co-conspirators even end up crashing their getaway Ferrari through the inverted pyramid. Fun fact: two popular music videos were also filmed at the Louvre in recent years, including “Mona Lisa Smile” by Will.i.am and “Apes**t” by the Carters (aka Beyoncé and Jay-Z).
Hotel Meurice (1st)
Assane enters the Hotel Meurice where he steals the room card from the cleaning lady to confront Madame Pellegrini. The lobby is fairly unique, but you can also see the hotel’s logo — two greyhounds with the “M” — etched into the glass in the revolving door Assane passes through at the entrance.
Rue de Rivoli (1st)
Assane is standing under the easily recognizable stone arches of the Rue de Rivoli – with the tourist shop behind him and the wrought-iron fence of the Tuileries Gardens across the street – when he tricks the cops into waiting outside while he cons a rich old lady out of her jewels.
Marie du Paris Centre (3rd)
Commissioner Dumont is kidnapped in the Mairie de Paris Centre (formerly the Town Hall of the 3rd, now housing the Town Hall for the first four arrondissements together). You can recognize the Carreau du Temple next door and the security camera showing “Rue Perée” where he loads the heavy box into a van on the side street. Across the street in front of it is the small park, Square du Temple-Elie Wiesel.
Le Jardin des Grands-Explorateurs (6th)
In the first episode Assane has a flashback to 1995 with his dad walking past La Fontaine de l’Observatoire in the small park directly south of the Jardin du Luxembourg (officially called Le Jardin des Grands-Explorateurs Marco-Polo et Cavelier-de-la-Salle). As it starts raining and they see Madame Pellegrini in her car, and the easily recognizable red brick building in the background, the Institute of Art and Archeology (part of the Sorbonne University). I used to pass through this square every day on the way to school on the Rue d’Assas in 1995, so it was particularly fun to see this spot in the series.
Luxembourg Gardens (6th)
In the present day, Assane disguises himself as a bike delivery guy to meet up with Juliette Pellegrini in the Jardin du Luxembourg. You’ll even see the historic little toy boats in the water basin.
Le Petit Palais (8th)
The scene where Assane actually steals the necklace after the auction takes place in the lower-level lobby of the Petit Palais, not the Louvre. It’s recognizable for the enormous pillar and circular skylights (that are on the floor of the entrance hall), as well as the wood-paneled hall he exits through after the policeman pats him down (and finds just a pen). Fun fact: the diamond necklace really did exist in French history (the Affair of the Diamond Necklace was one of the reasons public sentiment turned against Marie Antoinette), but it was never recovered and auctioned off as shown in Lupin.
Nissim de Camondo Museum (8th)
The scenes at the Pellegrini mansion (at least the exterior scenes) were filmed at the Nissim de Camondo Decorative Arts Museum near Parc Monceau.
Parc Monceau (8th)
One of the flashback scenes where a young Assane and Claire are confronted by three troublemaking classmates (who pick a fight with Assane) takes place at the Parc Monceau. Just after the kids cross over the decorative bridge, you can see the 18th-century colonnade in the background.
Square d’Anvers (9th)
In the 4th episode you see Assane approach the door to his apartment on the Square d’Anvers. There’s only one green space in the 9th arrondissement with that view of Sacré Coeur in the background, and you can see the street sign for Avenue Trudaine at the crossroads when Fabienne comes to see him. Fun fact #1: I know this park because I lived I the 9th in 1999 and was looking a green space to take my pet duck (…long story for another time). Fun fact #2: The building that’s supposedly his apartment is actually the back of the Lycée Jacques Decour, where Fred went to high school.
The neo-industrial style café where he meets his ex-wife Claire is L’Appartement on the northeast corner of the Rue du Faubourg St-Martin and Boulevard St-Martin. You can clearly see the Porte St-Martin behind them and when she leaves the café.
Marché aux Puces (St-Ouen)
Assane’s friend Benjamin has a flea market stand at the Marché Biron in the Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen, easily recognizable because it’s the only uncovered market with glass shop fronts (and the classy red carpet).
Croix de Chavaux (Montreuil)
There are several scenes filmed in the eastern suburb of Montreuil, particularly the Croix de Chavaux housing project where Assane visits the thugs he tricks into helping him steal the necklace. It’s easy to recognize because the strange orange 1970s building right next door is the Conservatoire de Musique et de Danse de la Ville de Montreuil. Not sure if they meant it to be a coincidence or they didn’t think we’d notice that the same apartment block is where Assane lived until his father died. You see the Conservatory again when he tries to escape being sent to the social services by climbing out the window to the balcony.
Other Locations Outside Paris
According to articles in the French press about the filming, the private school Assane goes to where he meets Claire and Benjamin is the Collège de la Maison d’Education de la Légion d’Honneur Les Loges, in Saint-Germain-en-Laye. The prison scenes were filmed at the Bois-d’Arcy prison in Yvelines (near Versailles). And the decoy van lures police to a garage in the northeastern suburb of Pantin, but you don’t see much there. In the final cliff-hanger episode, Assane takes Claire and Raoul to the beach at Étretat, Normandy. This is a real place, quite famous for its rock formations.
Places that I haven’t figured out yet (anyone?)
- The restaurant where Claire tells Assane she’s pregnant (Update, spotted by reader Suzanne: it’s Le China)
- The restaurant where Assane gives his friend Benjamin the jewels to purchase his shop at the Marché aux Puces (Update: this is ALSO Le China, in a different room)
- The café where Assane confronts Dumont after the kidnapping, and gets Fabienne’s name
- The actual location of fictional newspaper L’Objecteur. This one is killing me because I recognize the façade, but can’t place it! (UPDATE: Secrets of Paris readers recognized this address at 8-10 rue du Renard, close to Hotel de Ville. “This happens to be the Technicolor Headquarters.”)
Interesting Detail: the Dreyfus Affair Reference
The journalist Fabienne Bériot’s dog is named “J’accuse” (which means “I accuse), which is the name of the famous 1898 open letter by the writer Émile Zola to the president of the French Republic in defense of Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish officer who had been accused of treason by the French army and sent to prison. The letter eventually swayed public opinion enough that the case was reopened and Dreyfus was eventually acquitted of all charges in 1906.
Looking for a Review and Some Context?
I won’t be getting into the details of the series here, since there are already plenty of excellent articles out there which can do that better than me. This one from the Guardian (UK) is the best I’ve found so far, especially useful for anyone who isn’t familiar with the original Arsène Lupin books from the early 20th century that inspired the series: How France’s Lupin became the surprise Netflix hit of the season
For a Laugh While Waiting for the Next Season…
The French star Omar Sy (fairly well hidden behind a Covid mask) went unnoticed in the Paris Metro while putting up a poster for the series (in French…he tells the woman with the dog “It’s my first day, can you help me?”):