26 February 2013

Licensed To Thrill - Following 007 Around The World

The James Bond franchise is one of cinema’s most long-running and enduringly popular series of films. There are many reasons why they appeal to people (mainly men admittedly): the girls, the gadgets, the cars, the villains and their nefarious plots, the witty one-liners. And one other key component – the exotic locations. Put yourself in the shoes of the world’s most famous spy and visit some of the scenes of his most explosive exploits.

Vaux le Vicomte – This staggeringly beautiful French château is located just south of Paris. In “Moonraker” it was the home of Hugo Drax, whose plan to destroy the world and start a new colony on the moon was thwarted by Bond in a “Star Wars”-inspired finale. Both the house and its incredible gardens are open to the public.

Monte CarloThis principality of Monaco, lying along the gorgeous French Riviera, has for years been a favourite playground of the rich and the very-rich indeed. The famous Monte Carlo casino is where Bond encountered the deadly Xenia Onatopp in “Goldeneye”, and also where the gripping finale of the novel “Casino Royale” played out. If you can’t afford to play the tables, there’s plenty more to do in the area including the annual Grand Prix, and celebrity-spotting!

HavanaOne of the few highlights of the otherwise risible “Die Another Day” was its depiction of Cuba’s capital city, in particular the historical centre Old Havana. The fading glamour of its baroque and neoclassical buildings has seen the area declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and time is well spent walking around these parts, taking in that unique Cuban vibe.

Piz GloriaOne of the highest revolving restaurants in the world, the Piz Gloria high in the Swiss Alps featured extensively as Blofeld’s lair in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”. The production contributed to the restaurant’s building costs, and as a result it was given the name “Piz Gloria” from Fleming’s original novel. Enjoy the panoramic views of the Bernese Alps before tackling the black run down the mountain which Bond used to make his exciting escape from Blofeld’s henchmen.

Venice - Naturally for a series so preoccupied with romance, beautiful Venice has featured repeatedly in Bond films, including “Moonraker” and “From Russia with Love”, possibly also because the interlinking canals provide so many opportunities for great boat chases. The best use of it though was made by “Casino Royale”, wherein Bond faced off against a group of villains in a house as it slowly collapsed into the water.

CairoIn “The Spy Who Loved Me”, Bond and Agent Amasova of the KGB spent a deal of time running around Cairo and the majestic pyramid complexes, trying to escape from the gigantic Jaws and his metal teeth. A rooftop chase over the city streets is a real thrill, and the film is also notable for having one of the best opening sequences in the series.

TangierVibrant Tangier in Morocco has a long reputation as a hotbed for spies and under-the-table diplomacy. Regarded as an International City by foreign powers during the wars, it was a refuge for many cultures, and espionage became almost a currency. Naturally it was a perfect locale for Bond in “The Living Daylights”. The markets of the old Medina and the fish port are unmissable visits for tourists.

The BahamasMany Bond films feature underwater action, such as “Thunderball” and “The Spy Who Loved Me”, and the Bahamas, with its pristine clear waters, exotic fish and gorgeous islands, was an ideal spot for these shoots. One of the world’s most popular holiday destinations, especially for honeymooners, try a boating charter through a company such as Moorings to explore this paradise in the Atlantic.

About Today's Guest Writer:
Rob is a lover of all things Bond and can't wait to follow in his hero's footsteps this summer.

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