Top five travel-inspiring movies

By Emily Gibson

There's nothing like a beautifully shot film to make you feel like up-and-leaving the very next day. Here are five examples that show off their stunning destinations to full effect.

Park Guell in Barcelona. Photo / Thinkstock
Park Guell in Barcelona. Photo / Thinkstock

L'Auberge Espagnole

Barcelona is as significant a character in this film as its seven young actors. Based on a group of international students in the Spanish city on a university exchange programme, the movie is largely narrated in French (the nationality of its key protagonist, Xavier) but Spanophiles are spoilt for choice with endless footage of the city's bustling streets, stylish bars, gorgeous architecture and cobbled back alleys. As the filmmaker himself, Cédric Klapisch, put it: "I think this movie is really an advertisement for travel. Travel is against racism, against prejudice. It's all about curiosity and respect."

Midnight in Paris

Thanks to Woody Allen, everyone fell in love with Paris all over again when this delightful work was released two years ago. Right from the start of the movie, which opens on a montage of the city's most iconic monuments and views, the narrative weaves in and around its wonders. From Monet's Garden, the Musée de l'Orangerie and the Rodin Museum, to the Palace and Gardens of Versailles, Les Puces de Saint-Ouen (the flea market where Gil meets Gabrielle) and - of course - the River Seine.

Best of all, though, are the scenes in which Gil parties like a 1920's rock star in the city's elegant Latin Quarter.

The Talented Mr Ripley

If you have a soft spot for Italy, this film offers an abundance of eye-candy, and not just in the form of Jude Law. It was shot largely on the beautiful island of Ischia, the biggest of three volcanic Phlegrean islands in the Bay of Naples and accessed from Naples by ferry.

Ischia is famous for its beaches and the healing waters of its spas, which cater largely to German and American tourists. The town is divided in two: Ischia Porto, the harbour district and commercial hub of the island (which is filled with pubs and bars) and Ischia Ponte, the historic quarter home to the ancient Aragonese castle and romantic cobbled streets seemingly untouched by time.

Life of Pi

This 2012 3D live-action and computer animated adventure film is based on Yann Martel's novel of the same name. Its entire first act was shot in the coastal town of Puducherry in South India, where a majestic blend of French colonial and Indian cultures can't help but charm every viewer (and real life tourist). Many of the scenes take place in the French Quarter, characterised by its wide, serene streets, French villas, and trailing bougainvillea. Those with itchy feet after viewing the movie might be interested to know that some grand French Quarter houses have been converted into hotels and restaurants, giving travelers close access to its remarkable recent history.

Out of Africa

If an East Africa Safari is high on your wish list, Out of Africa is for you. Set in Kenya, this romantic film's sweeping shots of dramatic, isolated plains and unique wildlife act as a compelling endorsement of the continent's hypnotic beauty. Starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford, viewers keen to retrace its narrative can visit the Karen Blixen museum on the outskirts of Nairobi, or take a ride in a Waco biplane, similar to the Tiger Moth that Denys Finch-Hatton flew over the African savanna.

- nzherald.co.nz

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