In the past few years, Girona has become a magnet for TV and film producers. One of the most recent media companies to fall under the spell of the city was HBO, which chose Girona to become one of the settings for the sixth season of the series ‘Game of Thrones’. The filming of the epically popular show took place in September 2015, revolutionising the city’s Barri Vell, where tourists and locals alike tried to get a peek behind the huge curtains put up to hide the set and avoid leaks about the future development of the programme. Join us on a tour of the spaces that witnessed members of the Lannister dynasty, descendants of Ned Stark and other ‘Thrones’ stars, as well as other Girona spots that have welcomed film crews.
On the stairway of the Cathedral a ‘Thrones’ scene was filmed starring the character of Jamie Lannister – you saw the most multifaceted sibling of the Lannister household climb the famous steps on horseback. Even though it’s not yet been made public which territory of the show this section of the series belongs, we do know that Jamie Lannister (Nicolaj Coster-Waldau) wasn’t alone. At the top, by the cathedral, Tommen Baratheon (Dean-Charles Chapman) and Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) were waiting for him. This wasn’t the first time that Girona Cathedral had appealed to a production company. It was also used in the Spanish movies, ‘Agnosia’ (2010) and ‘The Monk’ (2011).
Pujada de Sant Domènec
During the filming of ‘Game of Thrones’, in this street of the Barri Vell, onlookers could see how Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) was jumping to escape from a woman who, at the time of writing, was an unknown character from the series. The stairs of Pujada de Sant Domènec have also been used in films to transport spectators to mysterious villages with a medieval air. The steps that lead to the church of Sant Martí are famous, above all, for a scene from the film ‘Perfume. The Story of a Murderer’ (2006), in which the protagonist kidnaps a red-headed prostitute.
Spanish director David Trueba also chose the Pujada de Sant Domènec for one of his films, but, in his case, he decided to film the site from the interior of the restaurant Le Bistrot, which is found on the right-hand side of the stairs. In ‘Soldiers of Salamina’ (2003), Ariadna Gil listens to the story that is the basis of the film while sitting in one of the restaurant’s chairs – it was the same one where writer Javier Cercas was himself when he discovered the facts that he would later convert into a novel and then this film about fugitive soldiers during the Spanish Civil War.
The Truffaut is much more than an original version cinema, but this double life is not known to many. The floor above the one where the projection room is has had its own cinematographic uses, but for filming rather than screening movies. In ‘La lapidación de Saint Étienne’ (‘The Lapidation of Saint Etienne’, 2012), the venue was converted into the apartment of the protagonist, an elderly man who the owner of the building wanted to throw out. Catalan director and Girona native Isaki Lacuesta was also drawn to this part of the Truffaut, which he used to film parts of the black comedy ‘Murieron por encima de sus posibilidades’ (‘Dying Beyond Their Means’, 2014).
Surely no tourist has ever left Girona without taking a photo from the bridges that cross the river Onyar, with the houses on the riverbank reflected in the water and the Cathedral in the background. People familiar with the city know that the bell tower of the church of Sant Feliu usually also appears in these images, even if it’s at a distance and almost hidden. Despite being almost constantly in the shadows for most visitors to Girona, for Barcelona film-maker Mar Coll it was the ideal location for shooting the funeral in ‘Tres dies amb la família’ (‘Three Days with the Family’, 2009). In that film, the church of Sant Feliu takes on a key role, with both its exterior and interior appearing.
Whether you’re exploring the city alone or in company, the Bridge of the Princess (also known as the Bridge of Gómez) deserves a visit. Compared to the strident red colour of the Bridge of the Red Levers (Pont de les Palanques Vermelles, better known to everyone as the Bridge of the Old Fishmongers or the Bridge of Eiffel, after its designer), the Gómez bridge is much simpler, but just as charming. In fact, it was here that Mario Casas and Clara Lago acted out one of the most romantic scenes from the film ‘Tengo ganas de ti’ (‘I Want You’, 2012). Under the light of the stars, Casas’s character attaches a lock to the bridge, then throws the key into the river as a symbol of his eternal love. It’s worth contemplating the Onyar from this bridge even though there’s no point in going to the ironmongers first – for some years now, the local council has removed any locks that lovers leave on the bridge.