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Credit: The Luxe Nomad for The Travel Insider
September 2018

You’ve watched the musical, you’ve memorised the songs, now recreate the experience by visiting the real-life locations of your favourite shows.

Phantom of the Opera, Paris

Image Credit: Pixabay

The 1980s musical is a spectacle of high camp and Paris splendour, and takes place almost entirely in the fictional Paris Opéra. Christine performs on its vaunted stage; the phantom lurks in its cavernous underbelly. Although the Paris Opéra of the book, musical and film is itself fictitious, it is based largely on the beautiful Palais Garnier, which took 14 years to build and is one of the most famous opera houses in the world. The opera house combines elements from different architectural styles and eras, mixing Renaissance and Baroque to stunning effect.


Image Credit: Pixabay

And if it’s beautiful from the outside, it’s even more stunning from within. Book yourself a guided tour during the day to see its full splendour, and learn about its rich and dramatic history. But the real treat is to visit the Palais Garnier after hours – an experience more in line with the spooky, gothic nature of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical. This tour is designed especially for Phantom fans, and will take you around iconic scenes from the musical including, of course, Stall No 5.

Sound of Music, Germany and Austria


Image Credit: Pixabay

It’s impossible to think of Austria without seeing Julie Andrew running through the Tyrolean hills. And don’t Austria know it. Sound of Music-themed tours abound in Munich, Salzburg and Vienna. These tours will take you to the real-life filming locations for the film, including Leopoldskron Palace (the Von Trapp house), the Pegasus Fountain and Mirabell Gardens (remember the dance scene) and Mondsee Basilica (where Captain Von Trapp and Maria finally get married).


Image Credit: Pixabay

Even without the guided tour, it’s easy enough to recreate your own Sound of Music experience in Salzburg. It’s a city steeped in history, with stunning Baroque architecture and beautiful views of the Alps (and also the birthplace of Mozart). Visit Shloss Hellbrunn for a glimpse at the ‘Sixteen Going on Seventeen’ gazebo, take in the view of the whole city from the Salzburg Fortress, or take a day trip to the Alps to bask in the sun on the rolling green hills.

Moulin Rouge, Paris

Image Credit: Pixabay

No trip to Paris is complete without taking in the glamorous (and sometimes seedy) environment at the famed Montmartre. Head there in the day to take the funicular from the bottom of the hill up to Sacré-Cœur Basilica, where you’ll find beautiful views across the breadth of Paris. Later in the day, book yourself onto a Moulin Rouge tour. They’ll pick you up from your hotel, whisk you off to dinner and show at the Moulin Rouge club itself – expect more dancers and feathers than you’ve ever encountered before.


Image Credit: Pixabay

After dinner, the tour continues through the neighbourhood of Pigalle. Pigalle used to be known for its mobsters – now it’s more famous for its nightclubs, bars, sex shops and erotic museums. Then it’s to the beautiful Place Vendôme, before ending for the night at the Eiffel Tower, for a picture-perfect finish.

Once, Ireland


Image Credit: Pixabay

Dublin may not seem like the most romantic city at first, but that’s probably because you haven’t seen Once, the poignant, touching, Oscar-winning film, and its subsequent musical. Once takes places on the streets of Dublin, and brings music and glamour to the most unlikely of places. Start the day with a tea at Simon’s Place Coffee Shop, then head across the road to the now-famous Walton’s music shop, where Girl and Guy first play the award-winning song ‘Falling Slowly’ together. (You won’t be the only pilgrim – the staff regularly receive requests from visitors who are looking to recreate that very scene.)


Image Credit: Pixabay

Later, pack yourself a picnic and head to Killiney Hill Park for the afternoon. Pay the Wishing Stone a visit and drink in the views of Sugar Loaf Mountain and the Irish Sea, before heading to famous pub Temple Bar for a final farewell drink.


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