Culture & Entertainment

Coffee with Van Gogh

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Culture & Entertainment

Coffee with Van Gogh

When Life Imitates Latte! I've been reading a lot this week about travel packages catering to fans of 'The Hunger Games,' which invite fans of the hugely popular sci-fi hit to visit numerous film location sites throughout North Carolina. This prompted me to think about some of my own travel moments fueled by a desire to re-live – or at least visit – my own favourite pop culture moments. The first time I went to France in my back-packing days in my twenties I sat in a back pew in the Cathedral of Notre Dame and tried to imagine scenes from the 'Hunchback of Notre Dame ' (I'm a fan of the movie and the Victor Hugo book),  much of which was set in that historic place of worship in the heart of Paris. On a subsequent visit I devoted two afternoons in Paris to tracking down locations that appeared in the Meg Ryan-Kevin Kline romantic flick 'French Kiss'. (Of course they'd fall in love. It's Paris. I often wonder about the outcome of that romantic comedy had the directors chosen to set the movie in Lauter-Bernbach, Germany, or North Platte, Nebraska.) The obsession gets worse. You'd think I'd be immune to such pop culture-inspired stalking  when I'm on my home turf back in Toronto. Sadly, no. I  can't tell you the number of times I've dragged friends on impromptu walking tours of the Greek neighbourhood along the Danforth in Toronto to point out where Nia Vardolos starred in my Big Fat Greek Wedding. And there was that time on top of the Empire State Building in New York when I tried my darndest to visualize Naomi Watt struggling with that big hairy gorilla from the 2005 version of King Kong, but failed miserably. For me, only Fay Wray (who starred in the original 1933 release) did the part justice. But one of my best art-inspired travel moments ever was visiting a cafe in France made popular by Van Gogh's famous Cafe Terrace in Arles.  Of course I had been exposed to endless Parisian cafe scenes in dozens of  French-based films, but when I saw the painting in a coffee-table book I knew life would not be complete until I parked myself on that outdoor patio and sipped a latte, which I finally got to do. (I stopped short of wearing a beret and smoking a Gitane.) Here's the famous Van Gogh painting that lured me in: Van Gogh Cafe Terrace Here's what the cafe looks like in recent years:

Surely, I'm not the only one who has let a film, a book, or an art obsession take over one's travel itinerary? I'm curious, what famous movie (or book) locale have you visited in real time?
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Coffee with Van Gogh

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