La Cage Aux Folles | 1978
Edouard Molinaro’s amiable farce, centering around a gay nightclub was a surprise international hit, becoming first a Broadway musical and then being remade by Mike Nichols as The Birdcage, with Robin Williams and Nathan Lane.
It shot on the charming, and surprisingly unspoilt, waterfront of Saint-Tropez on the French Riviera.
There is no ‘Cage Aux Folles’ club, of course, but you will recognise the Place de l’Ormeau, at the end of rue de l’Ormeau, as the spot behind the club where Renato and Albin (Ugo Tognazzi and Michel Serrault) have a blazing row after stomping out.
Once a fishing village, Saint-Tropez leapt to fame in the 1950s after the release of Roger Vadim’s Et Dieu... Créa La Femme, with Brigitte Bardot. The French New Wave cinema and the girlie Yé-yé movement in music saw Saint-Tropez become a byword for Gallic glamour and sexiness. Despite the tiny harbour being jam-packed with monstrous yachts, the town itself remains picturesquely undeveloped.
The town is named after Christian martyr Saint Torpes who, according to legend, was beheaded in Pisa, Italy, on the orders of Emperor Nero, and whose body was placed in a rotten boat which ultimately landed at the present-day location of the town.
The nearest airport to Saint-Tropez is Toulon-Hyères Aeroport, about 30 miles to the west. Slightly further away, about 40 miles east, is Aeroport Nice-Côte d’Azur. Remember to allow plenty of time if you’re driving into town. The roads into Saint-Tropez can become spectacularly clogged, and this can be a frustratingly slow journey.