In the third installment in the series looking at
the world of James Bond, we visit France...
The World Of James Bond - France
2nd August 2004
Bond has mixed feelings about Paris; we learn of the memorable
evening that culminated "in the loss, almost simultaneous,
of his virginity and his notecase" on his first visit to
Paris aged sixteen, but he has "cordially disliked"
the city since the war for pawning its heart to the tourists and
"you can see it in the people's eyes - sullen, envious, ashamed".
He prefers to stay at the Terminus
Nord, because he likes "station hotels and because this
is the least pretentious and most anonymous of them". Built
in 1865, the 3 star, First Class Historical hotel is now owned
by the Accor Hotels group and is located at 12
Boulevard Denain, close to the Gare Du Nord station. The Terminus
Nord has recently been renovated to its former glory and its atmosphere,
decor and Art Nouveau stained glass lend it the air of a Victorian
Once checked in, he can then look forward
to a drink at Harry’s
Bar or Fouquet’s. Harry’s, at 5
rue Daunou, is home to the International Bar Flies,
often frequented by Hemingway and the birthplace of the
Famously advertised to Anglophones as being located at
"Sank Roo Doe Noo", the bar is also usefully close
to Metro Opéra, while Fouquet’s was the hangout
for WWI bi-plane aces. Now concentrating on its classic
cuisine, Fouquet’s menu is between €65 and €105
and can be found at 99
Avenue de Champs Élysées, near Metro George
Above: Hotel Terminus Nord, James Bond’s
favourite hotel in Paris.
At the end of From Russia With Love, Bond has an
appointment at the Ritz
Hotel, which he enters "through the door on the
left that leads into the Ritz bar" from Rue
Cambon. Since it is approaching midday he orders a double
vodka martini in what is now a Champagne bar known as the
Cambon Bar, before making his way to room 204 to meet Rosa
Klebb of SMERSH.
Founded in 1898, the Paris Ritz is considered by many to
be the finest hotel in the world and certainly sets the
standards for other hotels in its class.
Favoured by such people as Hemingway (after which one of
the other bars is named), Coco Chanel, Jean-Paul Sartre
and countless Royalty and heads of state, Ritz has become
synonymous with luxury and it was from here that Princess
Di and Dodi Fayad made their final fateful journey.
For lunch Bond again has several favourites. Café de
la Paix is in Boulevard
des Capucines, again close to Metro Opera. One of the most
famous cafés in Paris, it has been restored to its original
splendour and visitors may well rub shoulders with the rich and
famous while La Rotonde (105
Boulevard du Montparnasse) is a typical early 20th century
Parisian brasserie with a menu starting at €32 and nearby
Le Dôme (108
Boulevard du Montparnasse) has lots of dark wood, intimate
corners and good simple cuisine, making it one of Paris' most
beloved spots - Hemingway was particularly keen on the spinach
For dinner Bond prefers restaurants that serve what he might
consider to be "a good plain wholesome meal", which
may be true as long as it goes on company expenses. These include
Grand Vefour, a three star Michelin restaurant, which includes
on its €160 fixed menu a specialty of ravioli of foie gras
with a truffle cream sauce. You can find the restaurant at 17
Rue Beaujolais, close to Metro Palais Royal - Musée
du Louvre. Also on his list is another three star Michelin restaurant,
Lucas-Carton at 9
Place Madeleine or yet another Hemingway favourite, Au Cochon
d’Or, a luxurious old bistro located at 192,
Avenue Jean-Jaurès, formally close to the Paris slaughterhouses.
The slaughterhouses are long gone but the restaurant is unchanged.
Outside of Paris
Our first encounter with James Bond is in the Casino of
the fictional French town of Royale-les-Eaux. Described
by Fleming in Casino Royale as being "just north
of Dieppe" and lying "near the mouth of the Somme
before the flat coastline soars up from the beaches of southern
Picardy to the Brittany cliffs which run on to Le Havre",
we have few clues as to where we can find it and it is not
until On Her Majesty’s Secret Service that
we learn a few more details.
Bond is driving his Bentley for a night at the tables of
the casino in Royale-les-Eaux, when a girl in a white Lacia
Flaminia Zagato Spyder overtakes him. He is on "that
fast but dull stretch of N1 between Abbeville and Montreuil"
and takes chase. The first opportunity we really have to
place Royale is when Bond reaches a sign saying "Montreuil
5, Royale-les-Eaux 10, Le Touquet-Paris-Plage 15".
From the map we find that he must have passed through Wailly-Beaucamp,
which lies on the N1, slightly more than 6 km from Montreuil
and 19 km from Le Touquet-Paris-Plage. He then follows the
girl through Montreuil and over the Étaples-Paris
level crossing, after which "the left-hand turn for
Royale came up".
Above: "That fast but dull stretch
of N1 between Abbeville and Montreuil"
Above: Casino at Berck-Sur-Mer.
This is where things don’t add up
though – the distance from Montreuil to the coast
is a total of more than 20 km, rather than the 10 km on
However, 12 km from Wailly-Beaucamp is Berck-Sur-Mer, known
at the turn of the 20th century as Berck-Plage.This has
the requisite casino and a beach, two attributes essential
for Royale-les-Eaux, and at the turn of the 20th century
became a place to visit for its air and light, much in the
same way as Royale was visited for its spring water. Probably
Royale is a mixture of several of the casino towns in the
area and placing it precisely is futile.
Goldfinger sees Bond arrives in Le Touquet in his service-
Martin DB III. He is on the trail of Auric Goldfinger and
having secreted a homing device on Goldfinger’s Rolls Royce,
Bond is able to follow the car from a distance. Bond tails Goldfinger
on the N1 through Abbeville, but when the road forks he mistakenly
continues towards Paris. Realising the error when 10km short of
Beauvais, he takes the N30 towards Rouen (in fact probably the
N31). Goldfinger drives through Evreux and Chartres before making
an overnight stop at one of the five star hotels in Orleans, "a
priest and myth ridden town without charm or gaiety", while
Bond decides upon the Hôtel
de la Gare - "when in doubt, Bond always chose the station
Making an early start the next morning, Bond is again on Goldfinger’s
tail when he notices a girl in a Triumph that he had seen in England
and daydreams about meeting her and where to take here. Snapping
himself out of his fantasy, he follows the N7 towards Nevers and
misses Goldfinger’s turn off the road at Moulins, so has
to turn back and head onto the N73 and N79. Somewhere on this
road he watches Goldfinger stop for lunch and deposit a gold bar
in a dead letter box by "a pretty bridge over a pretty stream"
with "a survey number set in the arch – 79/6".
Once Goldfinger is on his way again, Bond picks up the gold and
hides it in secret compartment in his car and continues trailing
Goldfinger to Mâcon and then towards Bourg. Bond notices
the Triumph behind him again, and assuming that she is also on
the tail of Goldfinger, wrenches the Aston Martin into reverse,
successfully putting her car out of action. Promising to drop
her in Geneva and pay for the damage, Bond continues to Bourg,
Pont d’Ain and then tackles "the S-bends of N84"
before crossing the frontier into Switzerland.
In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service Bond briefly
spends some time in Marseilles, when going to meet the head of
the Corsican mafia, whose daughter he is about to marry. Although
it seems that he doesn’t find the time to visit one of "the
little places down by the harbour" where he is recommended
to order the "plat du jour and drink the vin du Cassis"
he is driven along the famous Canebière, and "where
it crosses the Rue de Rome", the driver "turned right
and then left into the Rue St Ferréol", before arriving
at the home of his future father-in-law, Marc-Ange Draco. The
following day he makes his way by rail and air to Strasbourg.
Staying in "a fine room" at the Hotel
Maison Rouge, Bond orders foie gras and half a bottle of champagne
before retiring early to bed. Although there is still a hotel
of the same name in Strasbourg, it should be pointed out that
the original moved in 1973.
"The World Of James Bond" will visit America next...
Article by David Leigh.