The Côte d'Azur

The Côte d'Azur

The southern coast of France, also known as the ‘French Rivièra’ and ‘Côte d’Azur’, is a very popular tourist destination for Europeans and Americans. There, the beautiful French country landscape meets the blue Mediterranean, and the large beaches give you that inviting look we all know from the Caribbean. In the '50s the area established itself as one of the most elegant places on earth and since then it has always been like a second home for many of the world's rich and famous. For various Bond films, the EON crew travelled to this part of the world to shoot some memorable scenes, the most important filming location undoubtedly being Monaco.

As one of the world’s smallest states, Monaco has long been a famous resort. Although it maintains its independence, it is closely tied to France. With its beaches, well-known gambling casino, and luxurious hotels, it offered a nice setting for James Bond’s 1995 comeback, Goldeneye. Entering from the surrounding mountains, you should take the Grand Corniche to find the exact spot where Bond brought his Aston Martin to a sudden halt after racing Xenia. Since the actual race scenes were filmed about one and a half hour away from Monaco, we will talk more on that later in this story.
The state of Monaco consists of three towns, Monte Carlo being the most important. This really is the tourist centre of the state. Ian Fleming wrote an essay about it for the Sunday Times, and included this in his Thrilling Cities book. In Monte Carlo you can find the famous Casino de Monte Carlo, which not only featured in Goldeneye, but also in Never Say Never Again, Kevin McClory’s 1983 remake of Thunderball. It was in the Casino de Monte Carlo where Bond tricks the guard by giving him his cigarette case instead of the exploding device he said it was. Inside, he met his enemy Maximilian Largo in an exciting game of ‘World Domination’. When you enter the Casino without the intention to gamble, don't fear to be disappointed. The entrance hall after the lobby is easily accessible for non-gamblers throughout the day. You might recognise the black and white tiles on the floor from the marvellous tango James Bond danced with Domino, in NSNA. Unfortunately, photographing is not allowed, so you should enjoy and remember this remarkable hall during your visit to the Casino. More recently, in Goldeneye, we can see Pierce Brosnan enter the Casino for some gambling with Xenia Onatopp. The interior shots were in fact all filmed in the studios, back in England.
Monaco was used in GoldenEye (1995), featuring Pierce Brosnan
The tiny town of Villefranche Sûr Mer, as seen in 1983's Never Say Never Again
Returning to the coastal road, you will enter the touristy town of Villefranche-sur-Mer. This one is filled with Bond locations, so park your car and travel by foot! The town's old port is called 'Port de la Santé' and it's here where Domino comes ashore to pay a visit to the health club, only to find herself being massaged by our hero instead of her usual masseur.

The other side of town offers us the modern port, called Port de la Darse. Among the many buildings surrounding this marina, we also find the spot where the Bond/Fatima chase ended. Bond is being chased into an old storage, where he is being thrown of his motorcycle. After a hilarious dialogue with the villainess, Bond kills her with his bullets-firing pen. Felix Leiter suddenly shows up, totally out of the blue (movie magic huh?) and the two escape the alarmed police pretending to be sportsmen working out.


This and much more can be found in the chapter 'Back to an Age of Elegance' in ON THE TRACKS OF 007

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