Director: Lasse Hallstrom
Cast: Juliette Binoche, Judi Dench , Johnny Depp, Alfred Molina, Carrie-Anne Moss, Aurelien Parent Koenig, Antonio
Gil-Martinez, Helene Cardona, Harrison Pratt, Gaelan Connell, Elisabeth Commelin, Ron Cook, Guillaume Tardieu, Hugh O'Conor
River scenes filmed in Fonthill Bishop, Salisbury
Lasse Hallström's 2000 film 'Chocolat' is based on the Joanne Harris novel of the same name. It tells the tale of a young single mother Vianne Rocher (played by Juliette Binoche) who leaves England, taking her daughter with her to France, where she opens a small Chocolaterie in the fictional French village of Lansquenet-sous-Tannes.
Her presence begins to stir some things within the community, winning the hearts of the community with her charming exuberance and delightful chocolate confectionary. Not all of the community is won over however, the moral crusaders within the community are outraged from the start when she opens the Chocolaterie during lent. The small-minded mayor of the town is one of her biggest dissenters and tries his best to get her shop shut down.
The arrival of some river gypsies further threatens her standing, particularly as she falls in love with Irishman Roux (played by Johnny Depp). In the end, however, Vianne's personality and chocolate help her to teach the people of Lansquenet-sous-Tannes a lesson about acceptance. The film also features as Armande Voizin, Leslie Caron as Madame Audel, Victoire Thivisol as Anouk and Alfred Molina as the Comte de Reynaud.
The village scenes were shot in France at Flavigny-sur-Ozerain in Burgundy, with further scenes shot at the Rue De L'ancienne Poste in Beynac on the Dordogne River. The breathtaking river scenes were, however, shot at Fonthill Lake, Fonthill Bishop near Salisbury in Wiltshire, United Kingdom. This beautiful lake provided the ideal romantic setting for many scenes in the film, with its Mandarin ducks and wild swans. The area is well worth a visit if you want to recapture the romantic magic of the movie, but fans of Johnny Depp will be disappointed to hear that he has probably moved on by now! Nearby are Fonthill Grottoes, three 18th century subterranean follies, designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to their roosting bats. Also in the area are the ruins of Fonthill Abbey. It was built at the end of the 18th century by William Thomas Beckford, who had inherited a huge fortune from his father, who owned plantations in Jamaica. It was built in the style of an Abbey, with a huge 100 yard high tower, which collapsed on the first two attempts to build it. Beckford lived alone in the house (with his servants) until he was forced to sell it after losing his plantations in legal action in 1822. The tower collapsed for the final time in 1835.
The interior scenes in the film were shot at Shepperton Studios in the United Kingdom
Places to stay nearby:
Places to stay in Salisbury include The White Hart, The Pelican Inn, Newton Farmhouse in White Parish and The Old Post House in Great Wishford
A Picture of Britain