The Charming French Village in “Chocolat”

Sets from the Movie "Chocolat" |

The movie Chocolat has something for everyone. Even if charming French villages aren’t your thing, and the sight of Juliette Binoche as chocolatier Vianne whipping up her heavenly concoctions doesn’t thrill you, there’s always Johnny Depp to look at!

Screenshots from the movie "Chocolate" |

It’s 1959 in a small village in the South of France when Vianne and her daughter Anouk arrive in their bright red capes and start stirring things up.

Village Square in the movie Chocolat

In the DVD Special Features there is an interview with the production designer who explains that they filmed the exterior shots in Flavigny, a stone-walled French village from the 10th city. The cemetery that overlooks the town was created for the film, and because there is no river in the area, they shot the water scenes separately, in England. The statue of ‘Comte Reynaud’ was made (out of plastic!) for the film.

Screenshots from the movie "Chocolate" |

Vianne buys the old patisserie in the town square for her new chocolate shop. The fact that she does so during Lent, when most villagers have given up sweets, doesn’t go over well. The Comte de Reynaud (Alfred Molina), especially, takes umbrage, and comes to the shop to confront Vianne:

Screenshots from the movie "Chocolate" |

Undeterred by the town’s chilly reception, Vianne sets to work on the shop, painting everything turquoise and hanging a new sign out front.

Screenshots from the movie "Chocolate" |

This hot chocolate she makes looks like hot fudge. You’d have to eat it with a spoon!

Screenshots from the movie "Chocolate" |

Binoche was trained at a real chocolate shop in Paris so she would really know how to make the candy in the movie. Seems like a good skill to have in life! :)

Screenshots from the movie "Chocolate" |

Working in the kitchen with her new friend and coworker (Lena Olin):

Screenshots from the movie "Chocolate" |

Totally gratuitous Johnny Depp photo, as the Irish “River Rat” Roux:

Screenshots from the movie "Chocolate" |

When Roux comes to town, Vianne is the only shopkeeper who will serve him. He shows his appreciation for her friendship by fixing her front door:

Screenshots from the movie "Chocolate" |

Vianne throws a party in the backyard for her landlady Armande’s birthday (Judi Dench):

Screenshots from the movie "Chocolate" |

I believe these scenes were shot at a small rural farm in Somerset, England. I read that Judi Dench was unable to travel to France at the time because her husband was very ill.

Screenshots from the movie "Chocolate" |

Screenshots from the movie "Chocolate" |

Alfred Molina plays the local “baddie”–the Comte de Reynaud, who rules the village with an iron fist.

Alfred Molina's house in Chocolat

The interior sets for his house and mayoral office, created on a soundstage in England, were beautiful, too:

Screenshots from "Chocolat" movie

Love the fireplace in his kitchen:

Sets from "Chocolat" movie

The exteriors for the village, shop, church, and mayor’s home were all filmed in Flavigny-sur-Ozerain, Côte-d’Or, France, according to The river scenes, however, were filmed in England at Fonthill Lake in Wiltshire.

Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp in Chocolat

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  1. says

    Oh the transformation of their shop is just too much…oh to have the money to create something so beautiful! France is just such an amazing place with such history!
    I will have to check out the movie..I has always wanted to watch it …now I have to :)

    Janet Doherty’s last blog post..Mother’s Day Cheer

  2. says

    Hi Julia.
    Did you see the movie “I love you man?”
    They have a little on going joke about this movie.
    Chocolat really was a wonderful sensual adventure.
    I enjoyed your take on it!


    velvet and linen’s last blog

  3. Andrea says


    It’s Mother’s Day and I’m doing all the things I love to do, but haven’t had time for lately. First, I painted our hallway leading upstairs (with Alan’s help). We used Sherwin Williams, Whole Wheat. We finished that, with the exception of the hand rail, which I think we are going to have to replace. The second thing I wanted to to do was catch up on your blog. I must admit it feels like home. And, Happy Belated Birthday. I knew it was coming and then everything got crazy with Alan’s mom. I think I’ll rent Chocolat. It looks like my kind of movie. Andrea

  4. says

    May I make a suggestion, not an easy movie for sure: “Blow Up.” It’s not just about style, but it’s all about style – mod London in the mid sixties. I haven’t been able to get “the look” of the movie out of my head since I first saw it about 1970. It’s also a look at live-work loft living 40 years ago.

    Terry Kearns’s last blog post..Mary Mac’s – Barometer of Intown Health?

  5. says

    Oh I love this movie! Love, love, love! It has nothing to do with the fact that I have been in “lurve” with Johnny Depp since I was about 16 (I swear). It’s a really well done movie and has lots of eye candy (pun totally intended). I’m going to have to find out where the real village is and make a trip there. If I do, I’ll send you photos. Every time I watch this movie I MUST eat chocolate. Have you ever had a chocolate sandwich? OMG, you MUST! You need a good crusty baguette (soft bread will NOT be the same) and a good chocolate bar. Hershey’s will work if you like milk chocolate (and I think it’s okay with Hershey’s), but I prefer a good quality dark chocolate bar. You don’t want a thick bar. Cut about a 4 inch piece of the baguette, then slice it open (like you would for a sandwich) and toast it lightly (LIGHTLY) under the broiler. Place the chocolate between the two pieces of bread while they’re still warm to melt it a little, and enjoy. I first had this in Paris and was blown away. Now it is a decadent snack to have while watching Johnny Depp….I mean Chocolat.

    Mom in High Heels’s last blog post..Lightening my load. Or What on earth have I done?

  6. says

    Wow you went all out today, lots of pics…..I’ll have to rent this one, I’ve never seen it.
    Thanks for sharing, just how I imagine the country side to look like.

    Suzy’s last blog post..News Flash….This just in!

  7. says

    What beautiful pictures! And I can’t wait to try Mom in High Heels’ chocolate sandwich! Sounds a bit like pain au chocolat but with normal bread and therefore less greasy. Yum!
    The follow-up book to Chocolat, The Girl With No Shadow, is set in Paris and would make a wonderful movie with some opportunities for lovely sets.

    Struggler’s last blog post..Struggling with the $20 challenge

  8. hookedonhouses says

    Aunt Amelia–

    I watch the movie on my computer and snap photos of it as I go. Then I try to narrow them down to the best ones, which is always hard for me because I want to show everything. :-)

    Glad you enjoy it! -Julia

  9. says

    I am thinking we must be kindred spirits. This movie is one i own and love watching… yum is all i can say. (over Johnny Depp) :)

    When the mayor gets hysterical, I am always amazed at how people can be so intimidated, especially when they know in their hearts they are so, so very wrong.

    Can wait for Mondays…always a favorite for sure!

    Claudia@DipityRoad’s last blog post..Finding Inspiration

  10. Kellye says

    I wasn’t quite as bowled over by this movie as were some. You know I’m a little different. 😉
    I love the exteriors, though.

    10th century France? WOW. As an American, it really amazes me how those buildings are still standing. Even in our large cities, we have a tendency to bulldoze everything and start from scratch.

  11. Catherine says

    Julia, I have a suggestion for Movie Mondays. it is the house of “Death at a Funeral” an English movie of the director Frank Oz, that house is incredible.
    Have you see it?
    Thank you

  12. Emmeline says

    I’m new to your blog, and blogs in general really, but I love yours! The houses you show here are absolutely gorgeous and you do such a good job researching the little known facts, too. The practical magic house, along with this entire page, have quickly become my favorites. You now have a new fan!


  13. Gwynneth says

    I had to laugh at the comment above about “I Love You, Man”–it IS a funny, running gag about Paul Rudd going on about “Chocolat” to his new pal, a total “guy’s guy”, Jason Segel, who thinks it’s pathetic that Rudd’s character, Peter, would say that his fondest memory is “eating summer salad with [his girlfriend] and watching Chocolat with Johnny Depp”. If you haven’t seen this “bromance”, I highly recommend it, as well as the extended discussion about “Chocolat” in the DVD extras!