Regardless of the genre, Europe is a veritable smorgasbord of ideal filming locations. The film industry’s success with masterpieces staged in locations all around Europe is a testament to this fact. From book adaptations such as A Room With A View and the Harry Potter series to Oscar-winning musicals like The Sound of Music, the cities and vistas of Europe offer amazing settings that will truly bring your film to life. If you are in the process of selecting film locations for your next project, here are some set ideas to consider if you’re filming in Europe.
Whether you are a history buff or just appreciate good aesthetics, you will be hard-pressed to find more intriguing locations to film than historical sites scattered all around Europe. For example, the Colosseum in Rome and the Acropolis in Athens are perfect settings for delivering a sense of wonder at the past societies, while the ruins of Pompeii offer dark but beautiful imagery depicting the fleeting nature of life. If you are interested in a darker theme, you might consider places such as Les Catacombes in Paris or Corvin Castle in Romania. Each of these locations has a significant historical value that translates well into film as well as obvious darker visual appeal. These and many more historical landmarks are great choices, especially if you are looking to incorporate a historically meaningful background into your scenery.
The city of Paris has become synonymous with the romance genre. Whether you are capturing the cityscape at night or the beautiful waterways, Paris offers an abundance of gentle and romantic settings. On the other hand, you might prefer to capture the glimmering waters of the Mediterranean or the vibrant, natural landscape in rural Ireland. For a stark contrast, you might juxtapose the quiet beauty of a coastline with an intimate date at a cafe, or the royal splendor of the Palace of Versailles. Options abound for highlighting both raw, natural beauty and cultivated society. To fully encompass the European experience, you may consider using European cruises as a general backdrop. This would allow you to realistically capture multiple locations in sequence without creating a feeling of abruptly jumping around too much geographically.
While the historical and romantic settings of Europe have long been the crown jewel of film settings, a current rising star is European cuisine. With star European chefs like Gordan Ramsay, Pierre Gagnaire, and Joan Roca i Fontané in the spotlight, the culinary arts has never been more popular. As a result, you may want to capitalize on some of the best European foodie locations. You cannot go wrong with filming in France, Spain, and Italy, in the cities of Bordeaux, Girona, and Rome respectively, for their popular cuisine and famous restaurants. Even if your film is not specifically about food, using the visuals of these popular locations and simply the food itself will garner a new level of intimacy with your audience.
While historical context and cuisine are certainly cultural elements, they tend to stand out more as individual categories. When examining European culture in general, you might find that a more subtle approach is best. This can cover a wide range of possibilities from filming a bustling street in Italy, to highlighting Franz Kafka’s memorials in Prague, to capturing the art and architecture of the Louvre. You might use the visual of the close-knit interactions of French citizens at an outdoor cafe to highlight a human connection or an isolated farmhouse in an Irish landscape to emphasise rugged individuality.
One of the keys to settling on the right film setting is to do your research on multiple locations and visit them personally. Only then can you truly get a feel for the environment, and visualise just how the atmosphere and visuals will fit into your scenes. With such a range of possibilities throughout Europe, you can certainly find a location there that fits your film setting perfectly.