Disney’s live action version of Beauty and the Beast came out on DVD this week, so I finally got to watch it, and I’ve got to say.. I loved it. I loved the cast – including Emma Watson, who I initially had some reservations about – I loved the CGI, I loved the characters, and I loved the sets; which are what I want to talk a little more about today.
How stunning was this movie? From the little cottage that Belle and her father lived in, to the forest they travel through to get to the Beast’s castle, not to mention the castle itself – just wow! And that library #librarygoals.
Unfortunately, most of these places aren’t actually real, so you can’t visit them. The production team built all the sets at Shepperton Studios in the UK, then took them down when the movie was complete. However, they did base some of the beautiful locations in Beauty and the Beast on real life places, so I’ve made a list of a few you should check out if you get the chance.
Chateau de Chambord
The Chateau de Chambord in Loire Valley, France was the inspiration for Beast’s castle. Although it’s not an exact replica, you can definitely see similarities between the two, especially with regards to the turrets and spires. It’s interior was also used as inspiration for rooms such as the Kitchen and the grand entrance hall. The Chateau is open to the public all year long.
When Belle is held prisoner by the Beast, she gets given the best boudoir in the castle, and what better room to base this on than the Hall of Mirrors in Nymphenburg Palace, Munich. This exquisite room is decorated with silver and blue alcoves, and tonnes of mirrors, which Belle’s room replicates – it’s just a little dustier.
As a bit of a bibliophile, Beast’s library was my favourite room in the castle, so I instantly had to find out if it were real or not, and it turns out that the Biblioteca Joanina at the University of Coimbra, Portugal, will give it a run for its money. The 18th Century Baroque library is three stories high, filling three great rooms with over 200000 books, definitely enough to make even Belle envious.
St George’s Fountain
The iconic fountain within Belle’s village can also be found outside of the movie, in Rothenburg, Germany. It is called St George’s Fountain and was used as a centerpiece for their market place. At 8 meters tall, it’s a little larger than the one in Beauty and the Beast, but the renaissance decorations that cover it are almost identical.
Village of Conques
The fictional town of Villeneuve, home to Belle, Maurice, and Gaston, is inspired by a real village in the south of France called Conques, Aveyron. This historic town is filled with small medieval streets, archways, and cobblestone paths, very similar to those in Beauty and the Beast. You can even see the resemblance between the houses’ black and white walls, and triangular roofs.