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Sometimes the star of a film is a highly paid Hollywood hotshot.

Sometimes it’s a movie’s soundtrack that gets people talking, or the costumes that steal the show.

But for travellers, it’s often a stunning location, displayed in glorious technicolour on the big screen that makes a scene stay in your mind for days afterwards.

1. Pondicherry, India

If film fests had a ‘best for inspiring travel’ category (and they really should), Ang Lee’s Life Of Pi would have been a clear winner in the past year – in addition to the zillions of awards it actually did collect. 

Many of the scenes were shot in the low-key, coastal town of Pondicherry, and were shot so beautifully they made a visit to the rugged coastline and the pretty town skyrocket to the top of everyone’s travel wishlist.

Unsurprisingly, Pondicherry has seen a 250 per cent increase in tourism since the film’s release as visitors have been flocking to see the location first-hand, in particular the marigold-strewn market where Pi and his girlfriend locked eyes, the lush gardens and parks around the town and the amazing French colonial architecture. 

There’s plenty more to see in Pondicherry, even if you’re not a film geek.

The former capital of French India has changed hands between the French and the English multiple times over the past few centuries, but the French colonial influences on the town are still very distinctive – the streets are called ‘Rue’, while the Aayi Mandapam is an Arc d’Triomphe-style, Napoleon III-era memorial, and French colonial houses are found throughout.Leafy streets are lined with chic, Parisian-style boutiques that sell saris, jewellery and antiques.

Plus, of course, there’s miles of that rough and romantic coast to go strolling along.Just don’t go looking for the zoo while you’re there – it doesn’t exist.  

The town’s botanical gardens served as the filming location for that and apparently it’s not quite as lush as it appears in Life Of Pi – Lee went on a 10-day planting spree to prepare it for filming.

2. Paris, France

We all know it wasn’t Russell Crowe’s unsteady operatics in Les Miserables that spurred the 45 per cent increase in tourism to Paris. 

Although much of the movie was filmed in England, the musical rekindled movie-goers’ interest in the French Revolution.

Les Mis fans can’t get enough of Place de la Concorde, the location of many beheadings and the Conciergerie where Marie-Antoinette was imprisoned.


Top 5 film locations to travel to: From Life of Pi's Pondicherry to Twilight's Fork, US
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