Movie Brings War Back to French Village

Charlotte Gray Movie Poster
Charlotte Gray

Destination: France

Movie: Charlotte Gray

I rather wish that I had read the novel,Charlotte Gray (1999) by Sebastian Faulks, because the story seems too complex for the simplified love story that dominates the film, Charlotte Gray (2002). However, I would not want to miss the atmospheric French village that plays an important role in the movie.

Briefly, for anyone, who, like me, missed the movie the first time around, the story revolves around Charlotte (Cate Blanchett) a Scottish woman living in London during World War II. When a pilot she has met and fallen in love with disappears in France, she volunteers to parachute into Nazi-occupied, Vichy France as part of the British effort to help the French resistance. Because of a childhood spent partly in France, she speaks French effortlessly, which helps her disguise.

I won’t go any further into the movie, because, as usual here, I am principally interested in whether the location causes me to want to pack my bag and travel. The answer is yes. The medieval village, with it narrow streets and three-story stone buildings, does exist. It was not shot on a sound stage. San Antonin Noble Val in the SW region of France known as Tarn et Garronne, would definitely be worth a visit. I have to admit that it does not take a lot of persuasion to get me to seek out a medieval village, or to go to France. And after I took a look at the village’s web site, I found even more reasons to go there. Check it out, either before or after viewing the movie.

P.S. I found the additional material on the DVD interesting, and wished there had been more about the fact that tanks rolling through the village brought back unpleasant memories to some of the most elderly of the villagers. I would have liked to hear their stories about the roles played during the war by parents and grandparents of today’s residents.

Have you ever discovered a place you would like to visit after seeing it on a movie screen? Tell us about it.


About Vera Marie Badertscher

A freelance writer who loves to travel. When she is not traveling she is reading about travel. When she is not reading or traveling, she is sharing with the readers of A Traveler's Library, recreating her family's past at Ancestors In Aprons . She writes frequently for Reel Life With Jane and other websites. Also co-author of a biography, Quincy Tahoma, The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist. Contact Vera Marie by e-mail.

3 thoughts on “Movie Brings War Back to French Village

  1. I really enjoyed that movie – as you say, wonderfully atmospheric and Cate Blanchett is always superb. I bought Sebastian Faulk’s “Birdsong” (still on my TBR stack!) because I liked “Charlotte Gray” so much. I think you’ll appreciate the “Normandy: Then and Now” photo album here: http://www.6juin1944.com/album/index.php I heard an interesting interview with Mr. Faulks on a BBC radio podcast. Let me know if you’re interested, and I’ll look it up. :)

    1. Jessie and Colleen: Yes it did make me want to read both Charlotte Grah and Birdsong. Colleen, thanks for the link to the Normandy page. I’m trying to decide whether to try to go up there from Paris for a couple of days next summer.

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