Musketeers - Sets vs. Reality - The convent of conception

Soooo….they went back to the convent, we went back to the convent. We probably would have been back even if they hadn’t, because I just love this place (there might be some unhealthy emotional attachment going on due to Annamis-related-reasons, though), but that way it was just a lot more satisfying.

This was actually supposed to be the first stop on our tour, but when we got there we were turned away, because they were filming some weird German movie there (that movie kept haunting us throughout the tour, I might add. We kept stumbling upon them. So this is what the ARD does with my license fees. Make sure I don’t get into castles in the Czech Republic. Thanks for that.), so we had to come back the next day. Which was probably just as well, cause when we got there we were basically by ourselves aside from a small group of school children (that we successfully avoided, though). We finally found the back entrance, too (totally missed that one last time), which conveniently has a bench located in front of it so you can sit there and stare at the gate for hours rest a bit.

Funny little tidbit: They filmed their little episode of Prison Break there as well, but Milady and Aramis are basically running around in circles, because the room only has one entrance and they really needed to make the most of it. So they’re walking down one side (pretending to walk away from the cell) and when they get to the end of the room, they knock out the Red Guard, turn around, find their horses where they should have stumbled upon them way before they did the Red Guard and ride back up the exact same way they came from, only on the other side of the room. So basically like this:

Well, that‘s one way to do it, I guess. (And if you don’t know the place, you’d never know! So kudos to them.) ;)


Musketeers - Sets vs. Reality - Slavers’ Camp

Ah, this one. We had some fun times at this one. I think at one point we had a conversation that went approximately like this:

me: You DO realize we’re looking for a specific rock in a forest full of rocks, right?
inwe-k: Yep.
me: You DO realize we can NEVER tell anyone about this, right?
inwe-k: Yep.
me: Just checking.

Then I almost got stuck in between two rock walls and yeah…fun times.

Anyway! Great place. Looked very similar to the place they filmed 1x09 at - only this time we had blue skies…and were in a completely different part of the country! And we found the rock we were looking for (…unlike last time), so double bonus points! We kept wondering if we were actually in the right place right until we stood before the first rock formations, though. They really do sneak up on you. You can’t even see them from the parking lot (I call it the reverse Grand Canyon effect - everyone who’s ever been to the Grand Canyon will know what I’m talking about). 

A tiny bit of green screen going on in the show (they have this lake in the background where there is nothing resembling a lake in real life, see second picture from the top) and they had to remove some handrails but most of it looks exactly as does on the show. The place where they pitched Milady’s tent was very conveniently accessible: as you can climb there, there are actual stairs and all leading up to those rocks, so nobody had to do too much actual climbing.

Overall, very pretty. We also had a lot of fun watching other people get stuck between the rock walls I made it out of alive and with only slight camera damage. Interesting how much fun that is once it’s not you.


Musketeers Locations: Agnes‘ Church

Agnes‘ Church was our very last stop on the second leg of the tour and getting there was almost thwarted twice: first, by massive traffic jams around Prague, then by partridges. Yes, partridges. There are whole flocks of them running around on the streets (okay, dirt tracks) leading to the church and they all seem to be quite suicidal judging by their knack for running in front of the car as soon as inwe-k put her foot even anywhere near the gas pedal. If you look closely in the episode, you can see them in the background in a few shots as well, so I guess the crew must’ve had the same problem. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get into the church, because you have to organize that in advance and we didn’t know when or if we would be there, so we had to stay outside. 

And since we’re already talking about this episode, the place where Marie and her lackey hide the baby is also one they’re using quite a lot on the show. For instance, it has also doubled as the port where Bonnaire comes ashore (with a LOT of greenscreen involved to get the sea and huge ships into that backyard), and Milady walks along there on her way to see Sarazin.

So that’s it, folks. 5 days, about 20 cities/towns/villages/houses-in-the-middle-of-nowhere, roundabout 40 different sets and more than two-and-a-half-thousand kilometres later, we left the Czech Republic behind us and had to go back to our slightly more boring lives. Which means you won’t have to suffer through any more set posts from me (…unless Musketour Part III should happen next year - which inwe-k and I are in tentative negotiations about…). Going back to our regularly scheduled programming of pictures and gifsets now, I promise!


Musketeers Locations: The Library

Tough one, that one. No idea which palace it’s actually supposed to belong to. But it’s GORGEOUS. They do know how to build impressive libraries in the Czech Republic, I’m telling you (and by now we’ve seen enough to be able to judge that…lol). I always thought it was supposed to be part of the Louvre, but then they used it for the Summer Palace as well – so yeah. Either they didn’t care or they didn’t think about it or I’m missing something. It doesn’t really matter anyway, because either way it’s beautiful. Unfortunately, you can’t actually get in unless you’ve booked a private tour in advance, so we had to stay at the doors.


Musketeers Location: Gaudet’s Camp

We thought we’d seen it all. We thought the streets couldn’t get any worse. I don’t know how often we had joked on both tours about the next street we’d have to turn on surely being a dirt track. We didn’t actually EXPECT it to happen. And then it did. Two actual kilometres of dirt track. This crew is really taking some pains to get to some of their shooting locations.

The bridge really is the only way to get over there (which made me wonder how they actually got the horses there….) and apparently it’s so derelict that they were building extra supports for it while we were there (not very reassuring, let me tell you, especially when you can’t communicate with the Czech construction workers to ASK whether it’s safe…). Alas, we didn’t plunge to our deaths. Obviously.

Speaking about death and episode 1, though, we also went to the mill where d’Artagnan’s father died, but we didn’t take any pictures. Contrary to what I was led to believe, the mill isn’t abandoned, but is hosting a bustling beer garden, which kinda threw us off completely. It looked so different than it did on TV that at first we didn’t even recognize anything and once people start staring at you weirdly, pulling out your camera isn’t the first thing you wanna do. So. No pictures there. Sorry.


Musketeers Locations: Convent

One of my favorite locations ever for very obvious reasons. Which was particularly great because we (or at least I) didn’t really expect anything from it. I kept saying I’d be happy to just look at it from the outside, I don’t need to go in (because of our time constraints), but inwe-k wanted to. Considering it’s a bit of a hike up there, I was a little skeptical, but boy am I glad that I listened to her. This place is amazing. The rooms are tiny, I have no idea how they fit a whole crew in there (especially the bedroom – which IS an actual bedroom with a canopy bed and everything) and they used a lot of the actual furniture that’s there. The infamous gate “that’s open to everyone, day and night” is actually quite firmly bolted shut, though, which is probably why we kept overlooking it until we were back home and rewatched the episode (and then realized where it was).


Musketeers Locations: Châtelet Prison

Continuity. I love it. And with this place, they’ve been really good about it so far. They’ve used the Châtelet twice in the first season. It’s the place where Athos is supposed to get executed in episode 1 and where the Queen pardons prisoners in episode 2. If you look closely, you can even see that the place where the Queen is taken hostage by Vadim is night next to the steps that lead down to where Athos was almost executed. Unfortunately, the tower is surrounded by scaffolding right now, which makes for really stupid pictures (but probably saves people from being struck by falling debris). The thing that sucked most, though, was the fact that we were a really big tour group (…in which we were the only foreigners….again) – half of which felt the need to explain to the stupid aliens that the tour guide had said that you’re not allowed to take pictures (Which you are. With a permit. Which I had.). So that got old real fast. Interestingly, the Cardinal’s Office is actually part of the same castle.


Musketeers Location: The Cardinal’s Office

Considering last night was the last time people (at least in the U.S.) saw the Cardinal, I thought it was kinda fitting to dedicate today’s set post to him, or rather his office. I guess now that the Cardinal doesn’t need it anymore, they can start using it for wedding ceremonies again (which is what they actually use it for in real life. Had a wedding party arrive just as we left). The table in the front is the actual table they use as the Cardinal’s desk if I’m not completely mistaken and the door Milady often comes in from leads to a balcony overlooking the Châtelet prison, which is part of the same castle.


Musketeers Locations: Ninon’s Trial

Ninon’s Trial we had to do in two stages (one on each leg of the tour), because it’s actually not filmed in one place, but two: the room where her trial is held looks very similar in style to the rest of the rooms, but is actually at another castle in a completely different part of the country (where they also filmed the scene in episode 1 in which Aramis and Porthos are looking for Cornet at the monastery in Chartres). It’s also a room where the continuity on the show is kind of wonky, because they also used this room in episode 1 for Athos’ trial – and it wouldn’t really have made sense for his trial to have been held at a monastery now would it? The rest of the monastery is located on a little island in the middle of a river and it’s the most peaceful place ever. All you can hear is birds singing. Other than that – complete and utter quiet. We almost didn’t wanna leave (but they closed, so we had to).


Musketeers Locations: Summer Palace

This is a long one. Sorry. I’m calling it the “Summer Palace” because on the show, it’s quite obviously not supposed to be the Louvre and they only filmed there in summer, so there. I think these are all the rooms and gardens that are supposed to be part of it (I’m not sure how the library fits in there, it would make sense that they consider it part of this palace, but they also use it a lot for the Louvre, so it’s getting its own post). In reality, though, these things were actually shot in four different locations in three different cities – so it took some time to piece it all together. For some reason, we had our biggest fangirl moment of the whole tour at the colonnade (….which surprised even us) where we were flailing around for at least an hour. We were also lucky enough to get a private tour of the Sala Terrena, which was really interesting (And gorgeous. And gloriously cool on a 37°C day), and which involved an unexpected wine tasting and the first genuinely enthusiastic tour guide we’ve seen so far (who let me take pictures even though it was forbidden \o/). So that one (or rather, that four-in-one) was definitely another tour highlight!


Musketeers Locations: Widow’s Church

No idea what this church is supposed to be called on the show, so let’s call it “The Church of the many, many widows”. It’s wow. Weird. Seriously. Some of the weirdest art I’ve ever seen in a church. And I’ve been to more churches in my life than I ever wanted to be in. Our tour guide was giving me the evil eye the whole tour because I was taking pictures instead of listening to her (…drone on in Czech. Which I don’t understand. And it’s called division of labour – inwe-k is reading the guide books and giving me the highlights, I take pictures. For which I had an effing permit that cost twice as much as the entrance fee I might add!) Aside from the weird art, it really is gorgeous, though. Again, a bit derelict, but still kind of awe-inspiring. Looking at it from the outside, you’d never expect such a grand interior.

Anway. I was confident I had mostly taken the right pictures. Until I got home, rewatched episode 10, and realized that the scene in which they trick the Cardinal into making his confession was filmed at the exact same church.  Dammit. So you only get half a picture of that scene, because I had taken a picture by coincidence (from the place where the Queen comes in), but not one of the other side. Oops.


Musketeers Locations: Ninon’s Salon

Ninon’s Salon was the place inwe-k was most looking forward to seeing and it is really, really gorgeous (I am so going to be repeating myself here in every post, I’m sorry, but it’s true). We were lucky enough to get a private tour of the library, but we kept having trouble piecing together which part of the outside of the building they had been using for the night shots. Until we realized (upon rewatching) that half the building on the show is actually “greenscreened” in. As you can see on the pictures, the library is actually the outermost part of the building in reality, but for the episode they made it the center of the structure and just CGIed another colonnade (with a gate) in on the other side (which explains our confusion). If you look really, really closely you can see that these columns aren’t exact replicas of the “real” ones, but look a little different at the top. 


Musketeers Locations: The Louvre Palace

One of the most used locations that we went to on the first leg of our tour was the Louvre. Since this was our first stop, we had no idea what to do, and it showed. I didn’t get a photo permit, so they stopped me from taking pictures once it got interesting (damn) and we didn’t get English guides, so we suffered through the whole tour in Czech without understanding a single word (except for “BBC Musketeers” - which they actually say on the tour - the only place where they say it on the tour, by the way). Anyway. The castle’s quite beautiful, but a lot more derelict (especially on the outside) than it looks on TV. Which just shows one of the Czech Republic’s biggest problems: too many castles, too little money for the upkeep, which is a shame.

Also part of the palace is the Cardinal’s little hidey-hole (where he has his secret meetings with Milady) as well as the vault…..which is actually the exact same place as the Cardinal’s hidey-hole. Talk about repurposing. One scene that always makes us laugh now when we see it is in episode 9 after Milady talks to the Cardinal, she storms off into the dark….right into a dead end basically. (Now that I think about it, they do that a lot - letting her run into dead ends.) I just imagine her cursing and stomping her feet once she realizes there’s no way out now. (It’s funny once you’ve been there?)


Musketeer Locations: The lake (1x09)

Alright, I’m not gonna do these in any particular order, but in honor of my favorite  last Sunday’s episode, we’re gonna start with this one.

Gorgeous, gorgeous place. Totally get why it’s one of Alexandra’s favorite places to shoot. The weather sucked when we were there and it was still beautiful. Kudos to the guys for swordfighting there, because we were tripping over our own feet just walking around due to all the roots and the uneven ground.  The rocks are really impressive as well, but it’s next to impossible to pinpoint the exact formation where they shot those scenes (Or maybe we were just blind. Also totally possible.).

In any case, a definite tour highlight for us (which I think inwe-k is especially grateful for considering the…well, let’s call it “adventurous” drive we had to get there the night before….)


Musketeers - Sets vs. Reality - The old fort at Châtillon

So inwe-k and I went Musketour-ing again a few weeks ago to go see the season 2 sets (well, those that are publicly accessible at least, but more on that in another post) as well as going back to a few of our favorites from season 1 that they used in season 2 as well. I’m gonna start with “the old fort at Châtillon”, as it was definitely one of my favorites. We basically got a private tour at our own speed, which was perfect and I could have stayed there for hours, because it really is a gorgeous, gorgeous place that is made even better by the fact that it is quite derelict. 

The back of the fort they show on the show while the guys are riding up to it (see uppermost pictures) is actually a completely different castle in a completely different part of the country, but everything else was actually filmed there and for once, there was no green screen going on; what you see is actually what you get. For us, this was our very last stop on the tour before we went home and it was definitely a worthy finale!

Just realized while cleaning up my harddrive that there’s a bunch of, quite frankly, totally random Musketour photos I never posted! So I’ll just pack them all in one post, as they don’t really deserve posts of their own.

The tragic crossroads in the middle of freakin’ nowhere! (Thank god for Google Maps. Don’t know what we’d do without it.) The church where d’Artagnan and Constance married is right next to it, by the way, but unfortunately, it’s permanently closed and can’t be visited. 😞

The basement chapel! The altar wasn’t there the first time we were there, so it was a nice surprise. While inwe-k took one for the team and drew our guide’s attention, I snuck off to take some pictures. 😋

The ambassador’s hideout! They used this place in eps 3 and 4, though one side was heavily greenscreened as you can see (well, considering they blew it up - not surprising). Some acrobatics involved in getting these pictures (which I don’t want to elaborate on 😝), but not really a lot to see there. We went there on a hunch, because I thought it might have been where they filmed the outside scenes, but I had no confirmation, and as it turned out: my hunch was right! 😊

The Court of Miracles! That one was a bit of a surprise - the surprise being I only realized what I’d photographed about 3 months later, I used to think that was filmed somwhere else and only took these pictures to get my photo permit’s money’s worth. In my defense, they did cover it up pretty good on the show!

The stairs of death! Such a random set. Took me forever to find it and as you can see, the side d’Artagnan comes in through was greenscreened again.

The Huguenot church! There was an exhibition going on when we were there, which was a bit unfortunate, so some of the windows were blocked out and the security kept changing their minds on whether I was allowed to take pictures or not, so I kept getting yelled at and then told to go on and take some in alternating 5-minute-intervals. Other than that: nice church! 😄


The Musketeers - Sets vs. Reality: The Louvre

This was actually the very first stop on our very first tour, but back then we were young and stupid and had no idea how the Czech Republic worked, so we endured a tour in Czech without understanding a word and weren’t allowed to take pictures, because back then, photo permits were something I wasn’t intimately familiar with yet.

So we went back! And what a good decision that was, because the weather was great and we got a private tour to boot (with a guide who actually spoke English! And that doesn’t happen often.) It’s also home to about a dozen very peacock-y peacocks and mating season was in full swing, so we got quite a few displays of that as well (Howie seems to know what we’re talking about here).

It’s a beautiful place, though a lot more derelict on the outside than you can see on TV. The grottoes are great (they double as the treasury and one of the Cardinal’s hidey-holes) and they really picked the best rooms on the inside to film in. Still laughing about the fact that when they lead away Aramis after his arrest in 2x09, they lead him straight into Louis’ old bedroom, though (…they seem to have some kinky methods of punishment at court…). They really need to stop multi-purposing rooms and thinking nobody notices. ;)


The Musketeers - Sets vs. Reality - Miscellaneous sets

Alright, last one! This one’s a bit of a free for all, places that didn’t deserve their own post, that sort of thing. About half of these we stumbled upon by accident (”I wonder what’s behind that gate….”), but hey, not looking a gift horse in the mouth.

We were a bit disappointed that some of the places we had hoped to visit turned out not to be publicly accessible. We had that problem with the de la Fère estate last year and, as it turns out, Pinon also is off-limits (which sucks, because it used to be open to the public until last year when they realized they make more money only letting movie crews in) - as is Porthos’ dad’s home (and his sis-in-law’s entertainment space). So no family estates to visit at all.  Found Emilie’s camp, though, both places where they ride off into the sunset in the season finales and - completely by accident - the harbor from 2x02 (which, naturally, is not a harbor at all). The church where Adele is buried I stumbled upon while doing research (which I still had to do myself because the media hadn’t produced fancy maps yet, thankyouverymuch). Also went back to one of the castles from season 1 because we knew they had filmed there in season 3 again (this is the second time they’re using it as a monastery, only last time it was Chartres, now it appears to be Douai) which was a bit of a bust, though, because - again - we ran into that stupid German movie crew who was filming there over the weekend and had transformed everything there for their movie (To those interested: their marketplace was teeming with carrots as well. Seems to be a very important historical vegetable) and we had forgotten how much the tour sucked.

So that‘s it. I’ve got a few more places we haven’t seen yet that might or might not get visited in the future, but for now you have all suffered through enough posts!

Musketeers - Sets vs. Reality - The lake at the Spanish border

Well. This one. Let me tell you. Getting there? Bit of an adventure. Unfortunately, most of the trees they used during filming have been felled, which was a bit confusing when trying to find out where exactly they had filmed (the trees and scrubs where the showdown fight happened: all gone). However: other than the missing trees it’s just as gorgeous as it looks on TV. We were especially happy because when we went to the lake from 1x09 last time the weather really sucked (which happens a lot when we have outdoor spaces on our schedule now that I think about it…) and this time we had blue skies for once. The water in the lake is so clear you can basically see to the bottom (and you can see a lot of fish!). Kudos to their set scout, he really has a great eye!