15:39 28 February 2013
It’s awards season in the film world and over the last few weeks, the finest actors, directors and films have been battling it out to win coveted Baftas and Oscars.
And films are a great way to gain inspiration for our travels as they transport us to far-off worlds and stir our imaginations. So, here we outline some of the destinations that featured in the nominations for “Best Picture” at this year’s Oscars, and explain why these places make perfect holiday and film locations.
Paris: Amour and Les Miserables
Eiffel Tower, Paris
While having vastly different storylines, two of this year’s finalists are set in Paris – Amour is set in modern-day Paris and follows the changing lives of retired music teachers Georges and Anne as Anne’s health deteriorates, while the musical Les Miserables is set in post-revolutionary France.
And, last year, two contenders in the same category – Midnight in Paris and Hugo – were also set in the city.
So, what makes the French capital such a popular film location? First of all, Paris is known as the City of Love for good reason, so it’s the perfect destination for any love story. This makes it the ideal destination for holidaymakers who want to woo their other halves as couples can admire beautiful buildings as they walk hand in hand, hide away in intimate cafes and bars, stroll down the River Seine and take their pick from luxury hotels galore.
Then there’s the city’s history and sense of drama. From passion-filled events such as the 1832 June Rebellion that features in Les Miserables, to the world-famous sights such as the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe and Montmartre, Paris offers up endless shot opportunities to directors. These sights and the city’s history will also ensure that you’ll never be bored on a trip to Paris whether you’re a first timer or have been to the city before on numerous occasions.
And, as the days get longer, spring is an ideal time to visit Paris. But if you are planning to visit in May, be aware that on May Day (May 1), almost everything – including sights such as the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower – will be closed.
Pacific Ocean: Life of Pi
Director, Ang Lee, is no stranger to awards ceremonies having already won an Oscar for “Best Director” for Brokeback Mountain and having had four of his films (including Life of Pi) nominated in the Best Picture category. And this year’s nominee, Life of Pi, takes viewers to several inspiring locations including India, Canada and Mexico.
The film focuses on Pi who sets sail from Pondicherry, India, with his family to start a new life in Canada. However, on the way, their ship sinks and Pi is left floating on a raft in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with a tiger called Richard Parker.
While floating on a raft with a tiger probably doesn’t sound that appealing, destinations in the Pacific Ocean are. For example, one stunning scene in Life of Pi sees a huge whale jumping over Pi’s boat, and if you want to go whale watching in this area, Hawaii is a good place to head.
The whale watching season in this group of islands runs from December until early May, so now is the ideal time to visit. Plus, you’ll get to laze on white-sand beaches, surf, go diving or snorkelling and even learn to hula dance if you wish.
Pi is eventually rescued in Mexico and this is another Pacific Ocean holiday gem. You’ll fall in love with the varied country whether you choose to visit a coastal holiday resort, the sights of the country’s capital Mexico City, explore the fascinating Mayan ruins or even just to enjoy tequila-soaked nights out.
Washington DC: Lincoln
Washington in bloom
Steven Spielberg is another regular at awards ceremonies and this year his film about US president, Abraham Lincoln, has received wide acclaim. Set at the end of the American Civil War, the film stars Daniel Day-Lewis and tackles the President’s battle to abolish slavery.
Washington DC is such an iconic American city that it is the perfect setting for political dramas. The White House, the Washington Monument and the Capitol Building are all ideal film backdrops – as well as being fascinating sights for travellers to visit.
And then there’s the city’s rich history – for example, every president since John Adams has ruled from the White House and the FBI was founded here in 1908 – which offers rich pickings for film writers and producers looking for their next big idea. But it also makes the city a fascinating destination for holidaymakers looking for more than sun, sea and sand. In the Smithsonian complex alone, for example, there are 19 museums, while other interesting attractions include the International Spy Museum, a tour of the FBI HQ and the US Mint’s engraving and printing tour.
Spring is a lovely time to visit Washington before temperatures hit the 30s in summer. The city will be in bloom and there’s even a cherry blossom festival from March 20 until April 14 to celebrate.
Other Oscar-inspired highlights
Alternative Hollywood holidays
If you fancy venturing slightly off the tourist track, you could head to the other American cities featured in Silver Linings Playbook (Philadelphia – perfect combined with a trip to Washington DC), Django Unchained (Mississippi) and Beast of the Southern Wild (Louisiana).
Or, why not go to the ultimate destination for an Oscar-themed holiday – Los Angeles? Not only can you star spot here, you can visit the Hollywood Walk of Fame, surf, sunbathe or pose on the beaches, or enjoy hours of fun at one of the nearby theme parks such as Disneyland or Universal Studios Hollywood.
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