Ethan Hunt’s career of saving civilization on a regular basis has brought him to the most epic places in the world. His latest IMF operation, stopping a nuclear catastrophe in Mission: Impossible—Fallout, is no exception.
“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, who also serves as a producer for the Paramount Pictures franchise, said during his introduction at the premiere in Paris. He went on to call the picture a “love letter” to the French capitol.
There may have been a great number of iconic movies shot in the historic cities of London and Paris, two locations that earned a lion’s share of screen time in Fallout, but none have done them quite like this. Cruise made international headlines during production when paparazzi cameras caught him motorbiking (the wrong way) around the Arc de Triomphe in France and scaling the top of the Tate Modern in England.
“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,” says director Christopher McQuarrie, who also helmed Rogue Nation. “I made a rough outline and said we were going to let the environment determine the action.” McQuarrie found inspiration in the short film C’était un rendez-vous, which shows a high-speed drive through Paris in a Ferrari in a single-shot.
Because of their creative control, McQuarrie and Cruise were not beholden to the script when it came time for location scouting, rather they were free to explore the cities to their fullest and seek out the most epic settings for each moment. Then the production and locations team worked closely with governing bodies or building management to get access. Cruise himself will tag along for the final scout before shooting begins.
“It is not often that the star of the movie will join for those trips,” says Ben Piltz, the supervising location manager, whose credits include Spectre and Jason Bourne. “But he is also a producer. Going to work with him and Chris is a completely different experience than most jobs I’ve done.”
Of course, the glistening streets of Paris streets don’t sell tickets alone. Ethan Hunt needs to be driving the right kind of machinery on them to really complete the scene. The franchise’s association with BMW engineering is still strong, with him speeding in a second-generation 5 Series E28 and an R nineT Scrambler.
No doubt with Fallout’s release, the world will have a whole new appreciation for Paris, and airlines like Norwegian are selling international flights to Europe as cheap as domestic. So whether you have a trip planned already or are planning on booking one, here is your brief Mission: Impossible guide to the City of Lights.
Places to Visit
This historic location was built as part of the Universal Exposition, a world’s fair held in 1900, in the style of Beaux-Arts architecture. The ornate roof made a stylish landing place for Ethan Hunt to land after doing a HALO (High Altitude Low Opening] parachute jump.
Architect Jean-François Chalgrin designed the iconic arch after it was commissioned by Napoleon. The panoramic terrace reveals the whole of Paris with a unique viewpoint. Of course, Ethan Hunt sees it a completely different way, driving around it on his BMW motorcycle.
The Troca balcony is a unique vantage point when it comes to getting the best views of the Eiffel Tower. It stands on the other side of the River Seine. It also makes a great place for Henry Cavill’s character August Walker to meet with the head of the CIA.
The screened entrance court faces the Place du Palais-Royal, on the opposite side of the Louvre. The gardens are also the place where Ethan secretly meets with British agent, Ilsa Faust.
Things to Do
If Ethan Hunt gets to ride a BMW motorbike down the Paris streets, then why not you? Rent your own adventure bike and hit Rue des Barres or Rue de Valois where scenes were filmed.
Rent a boat and travel down the Canal Saint-Martin, where Ethan is picked up by his IMF associates Benji Dunn and Luther Stickell.
Ethan Hunt got to jump directly over downtown Paris during his high-altitude parachute jump, but you can get up into French airspace yourself with this skydiving company, which does jumps on the north side of the city.
Ethan Hunt and August Walker meet the White Widow in an epic Parisian club built in the Grand Palais, which unfortunately isn’t real. But that doesn’t mean you have to stay in at night. The city has its share of raging spots that actually exist, like Showcase or Wanderlust.
Places to Stay
AirBnB: Les Terrasses de la Tour Eiffel
The beginning of Fallout finds Ethan Hunt camped out in a simple yet comfortably spacious loft. When all you do is sleep or do pushups on the floor, it’s less about creature comforts and more about space. And as always, location is key.