Opening in theaters today is this summer's teen escape movie Monte Carlo. And while it caters to a certain demographic, viewers will no doubt enjoy the scenes of Paris and Monte Carlo -- think of it as a two hour time transport without packing a single bag.
Part Roman Holiday and part How to Marry a Millionaire, Selena Gomez becomes an "accidental princess" when she travels to Paris with her family and a case of assuming another girl's identity turns into the trip of a lifetime. There are lots of great yacht parties, polo matches, eye candy, charity balls and luxurious hotels. And even though the reviews have been somewhat tepid, it's the ultimate two hour great escape.
The film also stars Leighton Meester of Gossip Girls and Katie Cassidy of Melrose Place and Nightmare on Elm Street. I love that the director wanted a "Neapolitan ice cream" effect with the casting as the women have three very distinct looks and personalities. Andie MacDowell plays Selena's mom.
|Hotel du Paris in Monte Carlo|
|Suite of blue and white toile with view of the casino|
|Old world charm can be found in the famed lobby|
And yes, the Texas scenes were also filmed in Budapest and often the audience is none the wiser. Filming also took place at the Stefania Palace which doubles for Monaco's Da Silva Ballroom and the Hungarian State Opera Palace. The magnificent Villa Eilenroc in Cap d'Antibes also has its moment in the spotlight. Once the property of American philanthropist Louis Beaumont and his opera singer wife, the picturesque home and gardens now belong to the city.
|Eilenroc above and below|
The timing of this film could not be any more perfect with today's Prince Albert nuptials as Monaco will be in the news all weekend. (I am thinking TBS might consider showing the "The Runaway Bride" this weekend as well but I digress...) In the meantime, you might check out Hitchcock's To Catch a Thief which also had some memorable scenes in Monaco. Legend has it that Princess Grace died on the very same road that the famous car chase occurred in the film in another twist of timely irony.
|Grace Kelly and Cary Grant on the set of To Catch a Thief|
Photo Credits: Hotel du Paris, Eilenroc, Paramount Pictures and Larry Horricks/Twentieth Century Fox.