The key to the “Mission: Impossible” franchise is Tom Cruise, whose Ethan Hunt globetrot does the most audacious stunts. The nature of the plot is what makes him jump from a helicopter, cling onto the edge of a moving train, plane, or even the Burj Khalifa, or speed a BMW bike through the streets of Paris city. It is to Ethan Hunt what “License to Kill” is to James Bond – a launch pad for all the action.
Tom Cruise’s love affair for the City of Lights is evident in his last film, “Mission: Impossible – Fallout”. “Mission: Impossible is about immersing people into these places and into this world while celebrating the geography of the environments we are in,” Tom Cruise said at the film’s premiere. He even termed “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” a “love letter” to Paris.
Of course, the film was premiered in Paris. What’s more, it is part of a list of iconic films shot in Paris city. Who could forget Jean Seberg’s Patricia selling “The New York Herald Tribune” in Jean Luc Godard’s “Breathless”? As for Godard, even Christopher McQuarrie’s main canvas or backdrop is Paris.
There is also a strange similarity and a stark difference to how Godard and McQuarrie operated. The former director worked without an official script; instead, his characters jump from place to the other giving the audience a great view of Paris boulevards. The one featuring Patricia is set in the Champs Élysées; oddly enough, the makers of “Breathless” did not have any permission to shoot.
An equally iconic scene comes in “Mission: Impossible – Fallout”, when Hunt does a spectacular bike stunt around the Arc de Triomphe, and beyond. “For this movie, and especially the Paris sequence, I didn’t write the script until I knew where I was going to shoot the movie,” said Christopher McQuarrie. “I made a rough outline and said we were going to let the environment determine the action.”
That is where the similarities end. Of course, it is the combination of the cobblestoned-filled setting and Ethan Hunt’s BMW machinery, which makes it an attractive sequence. If the world has a new level of appreciation for Paris, then the city itself deserves half the credit. It is no secret that the makers behind the film operated with permissions.
When someone asked why not film the Kashmir sequence in India itself, instead of New Zealand, Cruise pointed to the lack of permission. Apparently, that is why the Mumbai portions in “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” was set in Vancouver and Dubai. It would be unimaginable to see Mumbai’s traffic stall to make way for Ethan Hunt speeding a bike through there. However, watching him do the same through the Paris streets is some kind of magic.
If you were a fan of Ethan Hunt, then you would want to follow in the ‘footsteps’ of the IMF agent, his associates, and the entourage of spies during Paris tours. Besides the most iconic place in this list – the arch commissioned by Napoleon – you can also get to the below places for that feel you always craved for.
Le Grand Palais
This massive building was constructed as a part of the 1900 Universal Exposition in Beaux-Arts architectural style. Its ornate roof is where Ethan Hunt landed, after jumping off a plane in his High Altitude Low Opening (HALO) parachute jump stunt.
This palatial building faces the Square or Place du Palais-Royal. Its gardens are one of the chilling places to explore during Paris walking tours, of course. It is also the same place, where Hunt meets with Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson).
Esplanade du Trocadéro
If you want a panoramic view of the Eiffel Tower during your trip to the nation’s capital, then the ‘Troca’ balcony is one of the best vantage points for that. It resides on the River Seine’s other side and makes for a wonderful place for August Walker (Henry Cavill) to meet with the CIA big shot, Erika Sloane (Angela Bassett).
This is one of the capital city’s tranquil places, where people come for daytime delights, photography, and lively evening outs. However, to explore the trail as a “Mission: Impossible” fan, you would need a rented boat and get to the tunnels of the canal. In the movie, Ethan Hunt pulls off an escape through these tunnels with the help of Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) and Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg).
Rue de Valois and/or Rue des Barres
If your favorite adventure is riding, then rent your own motorbike and explore these streets to make your Paris tours memorable. Ethan Hunt speeded his BMW bike through these boulevards during the chase.
Club it Up
August Walker and Ethan Hunt meet “White Widow” (Vanessa Kirby) in a Parisian club constructed in the Grand Palais. That club is not real, but the city is home to its own share of nightclubs, such as Wanderlust or Showcase.