The French television series Lupin, which launched on Netflix in January 2021, became an international smash hit and was the number one show in almost every country that Netflix is broadcast in. Subscribers binged the first season over the opening weekend, watching the charismatic Omar Sy play a modern-day gentleman thief, Assane Diop, based on a character named Arsene Lupin from a series of popular French novels from the early 1900s.
Lupin was filmed mostly in and around Paris at some familiar and not-so-familiar sites. We have put together a list of some of the sites for you to discover when visiting Paris.
1. Louvre Museum
Most of the action in the first episode takes place in the world-famous Louvre, the largest museum in the world. When Diop is hired as a janitor in the museum, there’s a scene of him washing the floor while eyeing the priceless necklace owned by Marie Antoinette, which he will eventually steal later in the episode. This scene was actually filmed in one of the Louvre galleries filled with priceless artworks. Omar Sy was given the opportunity to view the Mona Lisa alone for 20 minutes and said he was overwhelmed by its beauty. Other scenes were filmed in the passageways underneath the museum. A replica of the iconic glass pyramid designed by the Asian American architect I.M. Pei, installed in 1989, was used in the car chase scene.
2. Luxembourg Gardens
Another suspenseful scene where the police think they are going to finally capture the elusive Lupin takes place in the Luxembourg Gardens, one of the most beautiful attractions in Paris. Lupin is set to meet his childhood sweetheart, who broke his heart, almost 30 years later at the gardens, and he narrowly escapes.
The scene was filmed at a grand pond, which is used to float miniature sailboats that can be rented by the hour. The sailboats have masts from different countries and also come with a wood stick to help navigate them. Set on 60 acres on the Left Bank of Paris, the gardens were part of the massive Luxembourg Palace built in 1612 for Marie de Medici, part of the royal Italian Medici family, and the widow of King Henri IV.
The park has tons of activities including tennis courts, a marionette show, pony rides and a playground for the kids, chess boards, concerts, food stalls, cafes, an art gallery in the summer, and a bee apiary. For garden aficionados, there are gorgeous flower beds, manicured trees and shrubs, and climbing rose bushes. There are over 106 statues throughout the gardens, including a series of all the queens of France, noted political figures, artists, writers, poets, and a mini Statue of Liberty.
3. Pont Des Arts
In the first episode, there’s a heartwarming scene in which Diop tries to repair his relationship with his teenage son by giving him a copy of the Lupin book, revealing how much the book has influenced his life’s work. The scene was filmed on the Pont Des Arts, a pedestrian Seine bridge near the Louvre. Constructed in 1812, the Pont des Arts was commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte, who envisioned a bridge that resembled a floating garden with benches overlooking the Seine River. It was the first bridge using cast iron and was unfortunately badly damaged during WWI and WWII. A barge rammed into the bridge in 1979, destroying a major part of the structure. A new bridge was built between 1981 and 1984. Today the Pont des Arts is a popular meeting place for picnics, musicians, buskers, and backpackers.
4. Les Puces De Saint-Ouen (Paris Flea Market)
Diop’s closest friend, and partial partner in crime by producing meticulous copies of the necklace and other masterpieces, is Benjamin Ferel, who owns a shop in the famous Paris flea market. Located just outside of Paris, Les Puces De Saint-Ouen is the largest flea market in the world, sprawling over 20 acres and containing over 2,500 merchants. Amateur and professional collectors, interior designers, architects, and vintage fashion collectors come from around the world to shop for antique treasures. Furniture, glassware, crystal, paintings, vintage designer jewelry, clothing, handbags, posters, chandeliers, lamps and light fixtures, and garden furniture and accessories are just a short list of the fantastic finds at the market.
Pro Tip: The flea market is only open on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and is easily reachable by the Paris metro.
5. Pellegrini Family Mansion/Nissim De Camondo Museum
There are a number of flashbacks in Lupin relating to his father’s bosses, the wealthy Pellegrini family, who live in a lavish mansion in Paris. The site is an actual mansion, Nissim De Camondo Museum, which was built in 1911 and owned by Count Moise de Camondo, a wealthy banker from a Sephardic Jewish family in Turkey. The mansion is near the Parc Monceau, where many other wealthy financiers and bankers built their mansions in the same time period.
Camondo commissioned architect Rene Sergent to design the mansion to fit his great collection of 18th-century art, furniture, and objects. The design is based on the Petit Trianon, Marie Antoinette’s palace in Versailles. The home was outfitted with the latest modern conveniences of the time including an elevator, central heating, bathrooms with indoor plumbing, and a vacuum cleaning system. Today the Nissim De Camondo is a public museum on three floors, and most of the original furnishings and rooms are still intact.
The thrilling cliffhanger Episode 5 takes place in the seaside town of Etretat in Normandy. Diop takes his son on a road trip to celebrate his good fortune, which doesn’t last long, as his son goes missing. Etretat is best known for its dramatic chalk cliffs overhanging the sea. Monet captured the beauty of Etretat in a series of paintings in the 1880s, and artists Gustave Courbet and Eugene Boudin also painted the cliffs. The author of the Lupin books, Maurice LeBlanc, maintained a home in Etretat, and today it’s a museum.
Pro Tip: Etretat is reachable by train and then a bus or car service and is about three hours from Paris. It makes the following lists, which you can consult for additional inspiration:
- The Best Day Trips From Paris
- 6 Gorgeous French Villages To Add To Your Travel List
- 5 Idyllic Towns To Visit In Normandy, France
7. Porte Saint-Martin
Diop meets his ex-wife Claire at a cafe near the Porte Saint-Martin, an impressive archway. Built in 1674 by architect Pierre Bullet, Porte Saint-Martin replaced an already existing arch from medieval times and was ordered by King Louis XIV to commemorate his victories on the Rhine and the France Comte. Porte Saint-Martin rises 54 feet in height and is made of marble and limestone.
8. Fontaine De L'Observatoire
Located behind the Luxembourg Gardens is the Fontaine de l'Observatoire, where a flashback of Diop as a teenager walking with his father takes place. Built in 1866, Fontaine de l'Observatoire is located in the Jardin de Marco. Here, you’ll see statues of four women holding up a sphere. They represent the four points of the compass and the continents of Africa, America, Europe, and Asia. Sculptor Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, who won the prestigious Prix de Rome in 1854, designed the statues.
Pro Tip: Good news! The second season of Lupin has been scheduled to be released in June 2021.