Agnès Varda was a wandering filmmaker. Her films are often built on journeys, whether fictional in her dramas or real in her documentaries. Her restless spirit lasted right until her final films; often exploring, revisiting and endlessly road-tripping around France and beyond. This spirit embodied her cinema right from the off, and was never bettered than in her 1962 classic Cléo from 5 to 7.

Set roughly in real-time, it follows its protagonist Cléo (Corinne Marchand) on her haphazard journeying around Paris. Having received a doom-laden tarot reading while awaiting results of cancer tests, the famed singer does her best to avoid confronting the potential reality of illness by meandering around the city.

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On the journey, variously on foot and by car, Varda treats us to Paris at the height of the city’s 1960s chic. Cléo visits friends, drinks coffee in some of the city’s most famed cafés, meets friends in art studios and talks to strangers.

The summer journey provides a wealth of detail, offering us glimpses of a Paris that would change and eventually be lost. Filmed chiefly on the creative Left Bank, it defined much of the crisp, urban imagery that became associated with early 1960s French cinema.

Here are five locations from the film as they stand today.

First café and hat shop

On her first stop after hearing of her doomed future, Cléo wanders out of the flat on Rue de Rivoli until she gets to a café where she breaks down. This was once the Café “Ca va, ça vient”, appropriately named considering the nature of the film.

Cléo from 5 to 7 (1962)
Modern rue de Rivoli

The café stood at 24 Rue des Bourdonnais, but has since become an empty, anonymous building. The view from its vast windows is more recognisable. 

Cléo from 5 to 7 (1962)
Modern rue des Bourdonnais

After being consoled in the café by her maid Angèle (Dominique Davray), Cléo wanders with her over the road and is taken by the possibility of a new hat. The café they were just in can still be seen from shop’s window as the hat shop was on the adjacent Rue de Rivoli. 

Cléo from 5 to 7 (1962)
Modern rue de Rivoli

The shop was Francine and stood at 128 Rue de Rivoli. Though no longer a hat shop, the building is still used to sell clothes.

Cléo from 5 to 7 (1962)
Modern rue de Rivoli

Cléo’s flat

After her various journeys around town via taxi, Cléo arrives back at her flat on the Left Bank. The flat was 3 Rue Huyghens and today the outside is unchanged. Access couldn’t be obtained to visit the building though its interiors are seen in great detail in the film.

Cléo from 5 to 7 (1962)
3 Rue Huyghens

After a musical interlude in the flat with none other than the film’s composer Michel Legrand, Cléo wanders again. She is seen walking out of the flat and along Rue Huyghens.

Cléo from 5 to 7 (1962)
Rue Huyghens

She comes out onto Boulevard Montparnasse, the shot initially facing back down Rue Huyghens before she walks into the busy marketplace of the street.

Cléo from 5 to 7 (1962)
Boulevard Montparnasse

Before following her, Varda shows us a pharmacy. Today, the pharmacy has moved right onto the corner of Cléo’s original road, as seen in the previous shot.

Cléo from 5 to 7 (1962)
Al fadi restaurant on a modern Boulevard Montparnasse

Le Dôme

Distressed at some of the sights on Boulevard Montparnasse, Cléo enters the second café of the film: Le Dôme. The café has a famous cultural history, being a regular spot for the likes of Picasso, Ernest Hemingway and many other artists of all sorts.

Cléo from 5 to 7 (1962)
Café le Dôme

The café has changed dramatically since filming, but still has various recognisable aspects. The long straight passage through the main part of the café, for example, is still familiar.

Cléo from 5 to 7 (1962)
Modern café le Dôme

Even the café’s outdoor seating has a similar arrangement, though is entirely covered rather than actually outdoors.

Cléo from 5 to 7 (1962)
Modern café le Dôme

The seat next to the glittery pole where the main character sits is no longer a seating area. Instead, the pillar seen in the shot is now the spot for a till and various dishes.

Cléo from 5 to 7 (1962)
Modern café le Dôme

Parc Montsouris

One of the film’s most famous sequences takes place in Parc Montsouris, an unusual park fitted into an old quarry situated in the 14th arrondissement. The first we see of the park is the Palais du Bardo, seen from another of Cléo’s taxi rides. Sadly this building was burned down in the 1990s. An easier selection of shots to recognise involve Cléo’s walk into the park after being dropped off on the path at the top.

Cléo from 5 to 7 (1962)
Parc Montsouris
Cléo from 5 to 7 (1962)
Parc Montsouris
Cléo from 5 to 7 (1962)
Parc Montsouris

Walking through the park, she gravitates towards its small waterfall where she meets a solider called Antoine (Antoine Bourseiller). We first see them meet from a view shot higher up the rocky incline.

Cléo from 5 to 7 (1962)
Parc Montsouris
Cléo from 5 to 7 (1962)
Parc Montsouris

While the water feature is still to some degree intact, the part seen gushing beneath them is now mostly hidden by an overgrown section of flowers and trees. Instead, I took my shot from just adjacent to this spot.

Cléo from 5 to 7 (1962)
Parc Montsouris

Hôpital de la Salpétrière

The whole of the film’s journey is leading up to what Cléo was trying all along to avoid: the results of her cancer tests. Buoyed by Antoine’s company, she finally heads to the hospital where she can get the results. The final shots of the film are outside the Hôpital de la Salpétrière in the 13th arrondissement. Today, the hospital is unchanged.

Cléo from 5 to 7 (1962)
Hôpital de la Salpétrière

References