Moonrise Kingdoms: An international Wes Anderson travel guide
Location is important to Wes Anderson. Watch any movies by the peerless filmmaker and you’ll usually find that setting plays almost as pivotal a role as the characters do. Adding vivid, luxurious, and quirky visual motifs to his stories, these locations are often an irrepressible part of what makes particular scenes so memorable and striking.
Anderson’s love for travel is also evident within his films, occasionally drawing inspiration from his homestead in New York and the surrounding area. But more often than not, they showcase whimsy and grandeur on an epic international scale, bringing to attention some of the most historical and prestigious buildings and areas in countries far beyond the US.
In an interview with Time Out magazine in 2014 regarding The Grand Budapest Hotel, Anderson revealed how travel was pivotal to the creation of the film, explaining that himself and Hugo Guinness wrote it while travelling all over Germany, Austria, Hungary and Czech Republic.
It’s also no surprise that Anderson’s perspective is so global when he appears to be based all over, explaining, “I haven’t been in America for a couple of years . . . I have my apartment and my office in Paris, and my girlfriend has a house in Kent so we go there pretty often, and I’m often in London too. But in Paris I still feel like I’m an American abroad. My French is no better than it ever was.”
Whether you’re planning a worldwide tour and intend on flourishing it with some Anderson-style whimsy or are simply hoping to slowly work your way through all the essential locations of his movies, this is the ultimate guide about where to go (and what to do when you get there).
Muse upon Mendl’s genius at Pfunds Molkerei from The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
Bautzner Str. 79, 01099 Dresden, Saxony, Germany
The ornate location of the film’s decadent pastry shop is aptly home to the “most beautiful dairy in the world”. You won’t find any of Mendl’s famous Courtesan au Chocolats here, but you can sample a variety of artisanal cheeses served from farm to table.
Get the urge to runaway from home at Conanicut Point Light from Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
64 N Bay View Dr, Jamestown, RI 02835, U.S.
The shooting location for the exterior of Suzy Bishop’s home is possibly even more grand to see in real life than it is on screen. It could even inspire you against getting stuck in one place and lead you to embark on a wild adventure, just like Suzy did.
Enjoy one last fling at Hotel Raphael from Hotel Chevalier (2007)
17 Avenue Kléber, 75116 Paris, France
Anderson’s short film serves as a prologue for The Darjeeling Limited and sees Jack (Jason Schwartzman) enjoying one last anguished moment with his lover (Natalie Portman) as they find closure in a dying romance. The hotel where Anderson shot the beloved short is just as breathtaking as Jack boasts it to be, complete with an astounding view of Paris. We’re not sure if room service do grilled cheese, but it can’t hurt to ask.
Find peace on the Royal Rajasthan on Wheels from The Darjeeling Limited (2007)
The luxurious train the three brothers travel on in the movie is almost exactly as regal and opulent as it looks. Featuring an eight day tour program across India and boasting facilities including a spa, bar & lounge, and a decadent dining experience the Royal Rajasthan is a singular travel experience worth the journey. Bring your siblings with you and figure out some family healing.
Narrate your family history outside the Tenenbaum house from The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
339 Covent Garden, Harlem, New York, U.S.
The house that Royal Tenenbaum (Gene Hackman) bought in the winter of his 35th year is a statuesque building located in the heart of Harlem. The building was only used for the exterior of the Tenenbaum house and not the sprawling floors or rooms explored in the movie.
Order a butterscotch sundae at The Grand Prospect Hall from The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
263 Prospect Avenue, Park Slope, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
The restaurant where Margot (Gwyneth Paltrow) decides she’ll “have a butterscotch sundae” while enduring an awkward reunion with her father was shot at the legendary New York restaurant celebrated for being “New York’s finest catering hall”.
Listen to a stranger’s life story at Hotel Bristol Palace from The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
Zámecký vrch 918/34, 360 01 Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic
Though Anderson used a small model for the exterior shot of the majestic Grand Budapest Hotel, it was actually modeled after the Hotel Bristol Palace in the Czech Republic. The actual location lacks the vivid pink facade of the Grand Budapest, but it’s similar in just about every other way including its lavish interiors and architecture.
Earn a new scout badge at Camp Yawgoog from Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
61 Camp Yawgoog Rd, Rockville, RI, U.S.
The setting of Camp Ivanhoe is a legitimate scouting camp based in the southwestern corner of Rhode Island. Founded in 1916 as a “scout adventureland forever”, the camp teaches similar life skills to those seen in the film. All it’s missing is Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton).
Plan a ridiculous heist at the John Gillin Residence from Bottle Rocket (1996)
John Gillin Residence, Dallas, TX 75220, U.S.
The location for Bob Mapplethorpe’s (Robert Musgrave) house is an iconic building based in Texas. The large single story Usonian house was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1950 and built eight years later, making it the last home constructed before his death. In Bottle Rocket it’s the location where the three pals (played by Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson, and Ned Dowd) plan their ludicrous heist.
Save Latin at St John’s School from Rushmore (1998)
St John’s School, 2401 Claremont Lane, Houston, Texas, U.S.
The shooting location for Rushmore Academy may just inspire you to sign up for every extra-curricular activity available or to solve an impossible math equation with casual panache. Just try not to fall in love with any school teachers while you’re there.
Hide out with your honey at Alexander Hamilton U.S. Customs House from The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
1 Bowling Green, New York, NY 10004, U.S.
The shooting location for “The Public Archives” where Margot & Richie camp when they run away together is based at the historic New York building that we assume probably doesn’t host adorable sleepovers.
Sit on the steps behind the Quirinal Palace from The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)
Piazza del Quirinale, 00187 Rome RM, Italy
The final scene from the movie shows Steve Zissou (Bill Murray) sitting forlornly on the steps behind the back entrance of the palace and also includes a shot of the back door of the stunning building. In classic Anderson style, the filmmaker reportedly discovered the location by accident while riding his bike around Rome.
Be on the lookout at the Point Judith Lighthouse from Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
1470 Ocean Rd, Narragansett, RI, U.S.
The iconic lighthouse is also located on Rhode Island so be sure to pack some binoculars such as the highly-rated pair from Athlon Optics in case a kind soul lets you walk to the top and be on lookout like Suzy.
Get your life together at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel from The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
301 Park Ave, New York, NY 10022, U.S.
One of the most legendary and prestigious hotels in New York is the setting of the Lindbergh Hotel in the film where Royal has an apartment. It’s the ideal place for scheming to win back your family or for just enjoying some serious levels of luxury.