THE MORNING LIST
Watching a series can transport you far away: to Hawaii with The White Lotus or, a bit closer to home, to the snowy slopes of Haute-Savoie, following the footprints left in the snow by Piste Noire.
‘The White Lotus,’ from Hawaii to Taormina
When season 1 of The White Lotus (OCS) came out in 2021, the series immediately seemed like a postcard for Hawaii, and in particular for the Four Seasons hotel in Maui, the main plot location. But with season 2, shot in 2022 in Taormina, Sicily, at the San Domenico Palace − a Four Seasons hotel again − The White Lotus took on another dimension. Sicily itself became a character. From Noto’s baroque churches, in the southeast of the island, to the Villa Tasca in Palermo (a small 16th century palace with a huge garden and a dream pool, available on Airbnb at more than €5,000 a night for eight people), all the luxurious places that director Mike White points his camera at are being taken by storm. The essential role of the gay characters in the plot has even inspired the Italian LGBTQ tour operator Quiiky Tours to create a custom tour. Even at a minimum of €2,500 a night, the San Domenico Palace is sold out for a long time to come!
‘Sexify’ showcases trendy Poland
Can a series put a country on our travel bucket lists? That’s what sexify has done for Poland. A hit with audiences, the story about a student who is forced to explore a compelling topic – female sexuality – shows off Warsaw like never before. The main plot location, the student residence where she lives, is in fact a youth hostel, Kapsula, where you can sleep for €35 in 2-cubic-meter boxes, Japanese style. Located in the district of Srodmiescie Polnocne, dominated by the imposing Palace of Culture and Science, it anchors the action in the center of the Polish capital. In the evening, the city seems to be at peak hype: although the nightclubs are fictitious – Heaven is not a trendy club, but a gay sauna – you can discover addresses like the restaurant Zoni with its metallic decoration, or the Praga district, with its bars and tagged walls. sexify makes you want to take a springtime trip to Poland.
‘Peaky Blinders’ and the Birmingham of thugs
Peaky Blinders has become a phenomenon for Birmingham, the large industrial city in the Midlands, about 200 kilometers northwest of London. The series created by Steven Knight 10 years ago is set in the inter-war period. The thugs of the Peaky Blinders gang enact their reign of terror in the working class districts of Birmingham, then get rich, while facing down Irish nationalists and the Italian Mafia. Rackets, dealing, illegal gambling: What an advertisement for a city! And yet, with the series’ huge success, the desire to discover Birmingham, with its recognizable canals, has only grown. The Peaky Blinders The walk – designed by some watchful fans – explores iconic filming locations and the historical sites where the real gang was active, from the Rainbow Pub to the Burlington Hotel. Don’t forget to watch all six seasons before the trip!
When ‘Borgen’ heats up Copenhagen
Borgen, the Danish series that tells the story of a female politician’s rise to the position of prime minister, has put Copenhagen in a new light. Far from the eternal Little Mermaid, the capital’s emblematic statue, the action focuses on places of power, such as Christiansborg Castle, the seat of the Danish Parliament. The good restaurants of the series are real addresses, such as the Kayak Bar in season 4 where you can eat seafood before going on the water, paddle in hand. Other sites are hybrid: The exterior of the Italian restaurant Il Buco appears in season 3 as the headquarters of the new party founded by Birgitte Nyborg, the heroine of the series. Finally, the very recent season 4 transports us to the capital of Greenland, Nuuk, where the representatives of the autonomous Danish territory are based, and also to the more picturesque town of Ilulissat, with its beautiful colored houses.
In ‘Piste Noire,’ the wide open spaces of Avoriaz
One, then two, then three corpses at altitude. Piste Noire is a crime series on French TV channel France 2. It was filmed in Morzine in the Alps during the winter of 2021-2022, and although the series is quite classic in style, it is also formidably effective. Led by an amazing duo – the actors Constance Labbé and Thibault de Montalembert – it takes advantage of the vast landscapes of Haute-Savoie in eastern France, and in particular the Joux-Verte Pass, which climbs from Morzine to Avoriaz. But by tackling the subject of the environmental impact of ski resorts head-on – and the luxurious real estate projects that accompany them – Piste Noire also gives us a different view of the mountains. The François-Baud footbridge is recognizable at a key moment in the action, and the river, the Dranse, is omnipresent. In the ski scenes, the slopes of Avoriaz have been enhanced. The series uses the fictionalized resort as a window to a natural landscape beautifully filmed by drone.
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