If you are still singing along to “One Day More” or any of the other classic songs from Les Misérables the film has clearly touched a chord. Visiting the locations where Les Misérables was actually filmed is another excellent way of reliving a few moments of this Oscar nominated film. Many of the places are in England and make a wonderful day out or idea for a tour.
The opening scenes where Jean Valjean and other prisoners are hauling a ship through the waves was actually filmed in the dry dock in Portsmouth Harbour. For centuries Portsmouth has been a well- known naval base and is best known for the flagship HMS Victory which is open to the public, and was the ship commanded by Lord Nelson. The Victory also played a cameo role in the movie as it can be seen in the backdrop to the prisoner scenes.
London and Winchester
When Jean Valjean seeks refuge in the film he is taken in by a priest. The church crypt at St Mary Magdalene on Rowington Drive in the Paddington district of London was the location in the movie. In this area the spire of the church is a renowned and distinctive local landmark and is also in the film. The cathedral city of Winchester also features as one of the movie locations in Les Misérables. Scenes were filmed in and around Winchester College and also at the Cathedral itself. Some of the streets including St Swithun Street were transformed into Parisian locations for the film and were the scenes where Valjean was chased through Paris. Winchester itself is a beautiful city to visit and to recall the scenes from this famous movie.
Elephants in Greenwich
A considerable amount of filming took place in Greenwich and also nearby at the historic Chatham Dockyard. The famous Elephant of the Bastille which was home to Gavroche was reconstructed for the film and placed in Greenwich which became La Place de La Bastille. At Chatham the scenes in the Yarn Workshop where Fantine is sacked were actually in the Dockyard buildings. The Cockloft at Chatham Docks became the hospital in the film and the courtroom scenes were also filmed in the area.
In the film Inspector Javert commits suicide by falling into the River Seine. These scenes were actually filmed at Pulteney Bridge Weir in Bath, another beautiful historic city in England. As for the home of Marius, this splendid building is Boughton House in Northamptonshire which is the residence of the Dukes of Buccleuch and Queensberry, and open to the public.
Visiting the movie locations in Les Misérables is an interesting and wonderful way to experience the joy that this film and music brings to so many.