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Thursday April 18th 2024

Ma Nuit Chez Maud (MY NIGHT WITH MAUD) | 1969

Ma Nuit Chez Maud location: Notre dame du Port, Clermont-Ferrand
Ma Nuit Chez Maud location: Jean-Louis is smitten with a woman he sees at mass: Notre dame du Port, Clermont-Ferrand | Photograph: wikimedia / Romary

One of Eric Rohmer’s series of Six Moral Tales.

Devout Catholic Jean-Louis (Jean-Louis Trintignant) suddenly decides he wants to marry Françoise (Marie-Christine Barrault), a woman he’s noticed at Mass, when an old friend invites him to visit the recently divorced Maud (Françoise Fabian). Naturally, they flirt, discuss Jansenism, consider marriage and don’t have sex.

The setting is significant. It’s Clermont-Ferrand, in the Auvergne region central France – the birthplace of Blaise Pascal. The philosopher’s famous but dubious wager (if there is the slightest possibility of a Christian heaven, then as a matter of probability, one ought to be a believer) is constantly referred to.

Clermont-Ferrand, capital of the Auvergne region, is also the natural gateway to the vast Massif Central territory, between the Puys Mountain Range and its volcanoes, overlooked by the famous Puy de Dôme (Vulcania is the only park in Europe devoted to Volcanism).

The interior of Maud’s apartment was recreated in a small studio on the rue Mouffetard in Paris, but the rest is Clermont-Ferrand.

The church, in which Jean-Louis becomes fascinated by the ‘blonde’, is Clermont-Ferrand’s 12th century Notre Dame du Port, Rue Notre Dame du Port (which became a UNESCO World Heritage site in1998).

He bumps into old school pal Vidal (Antoine Vitez) at Garden Ice Café (which at the time of filming was Le Suffren), 48 Place de Jaude, the southern end of the main square of Clermont-Ferrand, at Avenue Julien.

Vidal invites him to a concert by Russian violinist Leonid Kogan at the Théâtre et Opéra Municipal, Rue Nestor Perret, at the northeast corner of Place de Jaude.

And it’s at the northern end of Place de Jaude at Rue Blatin, beneath the equestrian statue of Vercingetorix (by Frédéric Bartholdi, the man who designed the Statue of Liberty), that Jean-Louis finally speaks to Françoise.

Overlooking the city from the northwest, the Parc de Montjuzet is where Françoise reciprocates.

The epilogue, in which Jean-Louis runs into Maud on the beach a few years later, is on the island of Belle-Ile-en-Mer, off the coast of Brittany in the Bay of Biscay.