A warm blanket and hot tea or chocolate are a proven recipe to binge watch in comfort. Time to travel following the footsteps of the most popular Christmas movies. Do you recognize these places? Visit them and feel like a movie character! Not planning a trip in the near future? Relax – discover the secrets of Christmas productions with us!
“The Polar Express”, or the magical home of St. Nicholas in Rovaniemi
Do you remember the adventures of the boy who doubted the magic of Christmas? Take a seat next to him on the train and travel to the North Pole! A well-known 2004 family movie, a production loved by both children and adults. The Polar Express makes everyone want to visit Santa’s home in Rovaniemi! Finnish Lapland welcomes you with traditional Christmas scenery – low temperatures, snow and a hot atmosphere that warms you better than hot chocolate (although you can drink this one during the break between sightseeing). How to get to Rovaniemi? You can, for example, choose to take a train from Helsinki. Santa Claus Village is approximately 8 km from the center of Rovaniemi and you can quickly cover this route by bus. You will find Santa’s home without any problems but just in case, here is the address: JOULUMAANTIE 1, 96930 ARROW WHEEL, ROVANIEMI, FINLAND.
Santa Claus Village is open all year round and some of the attractions simply stay open longer during the Christmas season. All visitors to the village can go to meet Santa in his office. The visit itself is free, but people who want to take a souvenir photo / record a video and receive a gift from Santa Claus must pay for it. Next to Santa’s office is his Post Office. This is the place where you can post a postcard with Santa’s postage stamp! These are not all the attractions in Rovaniemi. Snowman World will delight all lovers of winter craziness – there is an igloo, an ice rink and beautiful ice sculptures. Santa Claus Village is a place where you can also choose to go dog sledding or snowmobiling. In a word, there is never a dull moment here.
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“Love actually” – 10 London love stories
Love actually is a romantic Christmas comedy directed by Richard Curtis. The iconic production gathered the cream-of-the-crop actors, whose task was to tell the viewers 10 love stories. Surely, most cinephiles perfectly remember the scene in which Mark comes to Juliet’s house to confess his love. Interestingly, the recorded monologue, including the famous “to me, you are perfect”, is entirely written by the actor playing this character (Andrew Lincoln). If you want to feel like one of the characters of the movie, all you have to do is head to Heathrow Airport. Scenes of people saying hello were recorded with a hidden camera,and after which the production team asked them for permission to use the image in the film afterwards.
Speaking of Love Actually, it would be hard not to mention a well-known point on the map of Great Britain. 10 Downing Street shown in the movie is the residence of the British Prime Minister and although what we see on the screen is only a perfectly prepared set decoration, it is worth visiting this location to feel like David (played by Hugh Grant), who criticizes the US President during the famous press conference in front of the building. 10 Downing Street is also the birthplace of David’s love with Natalie who works in the office. The walls of the mansion also witnessed a dance scene with the prime minister – and while Hugh Grant was negative about it, these shots eventually became one of the film’s iconic frames.
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“The Holiday” – Christmas house exchange
What if you could just drop everything and leave? This was the guiding principle of the main characters of the romantic Christmas comedy “The Holiday”. Amanda and Iris swap houses for two weeks, and this adventure marked the beginning of a new stage in the lives of each of them. In the film, you can see the contrast between the winter, snow-covered England, where Amanda came from, and sunny Los Angeles with modern infrastructure, which is Iris’s new place of residence. Many fans of the movie wanted to visit the atmospheric English house, but as it turns out, it was created only for the purpose of the film. The situation looks different when it comes to Los Angeles. Although Amanda’s home is to be located in Brentwood, photos of the front of the building show a villa in San Marino, California. The house was designed by the famous architect Wallace Neff and is still a meeting place for “The Holiday” fans (villa address: Orlando Road 1883, San Marino).
Can holidays in sunny California have a nice Christmas atmosphere? Definitely! The surrounding houses and lawns are decorated with numerous light compositions and figures of elves, Santa Claus and reindeers. In the vicinity, it is worth going to the ice rink, taking part in the Christmas parade, Christmas-themed street performances or planning a day for Disneyland frenzy. Here the magic of the holidays will affect both children and adults!
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“Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” – the cradle of Christmas
“Home Alone 2” depicting the adventures of probably the most famous boy character from all film productions is a great opportunity to visit New York. Kevin McCallister has his hands full, yet he manages to wander the streets of New York. His base is the Plaza Hotel, a five-star hotel located on 5th Avenue and 59th Street. It is close to Central Park, where the famous pigeon feeding or spectacular fireworks display scenes were shot. If you are following Kevin’s footsteps, be sure to check out Rockefeller Center. It is here that you can admire one of the most popular Christmas trees in the world, and this is also where Kevin meets his mom.
When in the vicinity of Rockefeller Center, be sure to also go to the nearby ice rink, which is one of the most famous facilities of this type in New York. You can feel the atmosphere of Christmas walking on 5th Ave. Decorated windows of the shops of the most expensive brands in the world attract attention, being a perfect background for photos at the same time. However, New York is not only a Christmas journey in the footsteps of Kevin. The city is turning into the cradle of Christmas, and the festive atmosphere can be felt everywhere. Those who love decorated houses should definitely visit Brooklyn, namely the Dyker Height district. Residents engage in a competition with each other to win the best decorated house title, and even use the help of professional decorating companies. Spending tens of thousands of dollars pays off, at least from the point of view of tourists who can admire some of the best Christmas decorations.
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“Le père Noël est une ordure”, or Christmas Paris
Now it’s time for one of the most popular French Christmas comedies, an adaptation of the play of the same name but instead of being on call like Pierre who works for a suicide hotline, you should explore Paris. Some of the scenes were shot on Les Grands Boulevards and the final scenes can be found just as easily, because we are talking about the Vincennes Zoo located in the 12th district. Nevertheless, Paris, of course, has much more to offer.
During the holiday season, the city is decorated with illuminations, and the shop windows come to life. You can smell roasted chestnuts at every step, and Christmas markets (like the one at the foot of the Eiffel Tower) are a perfect excuse not only to taste them, but also to purchase souvenir decorations. A walk along the Champs Elysees in the evening will delight not only lovers of romance, while the Christmas tree under the Notre-Dame Cathedral is a must-see for every tourist, although we will also meet local residents here. Add to that the iconic Moulin Rouge, Christmas attractions at Disneyland or skating mania at the ice rink. Paris is amazing at any time of the year, but the atmosphere of Christmas here is simply unique!