TCD Tidbit #26 ~ The Ninth Gate Filming Locations

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TCD Tidbit #26 ~ The Ninth Gate Filming Locations

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:42 am

Challet Biester, Rampa da Pena, Sintra, Lisbon, Portugal

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The following description is from a travel blog:

The Chalé Biester rises a shade pompously and quite disproportionately from the forest above the town. It upsets the scale, so that everything else, if viewed objectively, seems to be diminished by it, for Biester is a very large house. It might be called a palace, did not propriety forbid, for its reputation was as low as its pinnacles were high. There were people who pretended not to know it was there, even some who had a good deal to conceal themselves, because - exaggerating in the manner of small town gossip - it was regarded as little better than a bordello in best Belle-Époque style; and possibly worse, it had been put there by foreign individuals of unacceptable origin. It quite obviously cost an enormous amount of money in 1904, money it was suspected had been gained in ways which were altogether too blatantly shameless. It was shockingly nouveau-riche even for the period, and so the accusations of immorality were as good as fore-destined even if the owners, as far as one can make out, were fairly mild or timid by nature. Four kings had dined there, it was reported in whispers, but no queens; the monarchs were accompanied by their respective mistresses, and no respectable woman, obviously, after that, could set foot in it - very soothing to those who'd not been asked. Moreover, with its French-gothic pretensions, hypocritically Christian chapel and extravagantly-painted salons, it was not only an eye-sore but an affront to every standard of rectitude.

Quite apart from all that, I have to say I always found Biester irresistible, and for a while I was there a lot, when it was owned by an American who'd bought it on a whim and lived to regret it. Even Robert's millions were scarcely adequate for the colossal and continuous drain it represented on his checkbook. The original owners, who typically only lived there in the summer, had died childless and the story was had left it all to a ‘maid'. Up until the late ‘eighties, it was deserted and there were said to be trees growing through into the main salão. The Americans did a wonderful restoration job, for which they received little praise because, actually, their reputation around the town was not all that high either, and like the original inhabitants they tended to be ignored except as a subject for interesting gossip. When they'd had enough, after only three or four years, it was terribly difficult to sell even at a relatively bargain price. Kings, presidents and others passed through sceptically and turned it down in favour of more commodious and manageable residences until finally a gentleman in the car-rental business took the bait, but possibly he´s lived to regret it too. The source of the aversion was summed up, I think, by another passing American who'd been allowed to stay there for a week or two in the owner's absence. It was all right during daylight hours, but otherwise he couldn't bear to be there alone. I scoffed until one evening I was persuaded to go back with him. At midnight, pitch dark, buried in a thick forest, very insecurely protected from any intruder, with fifty-one empty rooms and raised over cavernous semi-underground chambers, I had to agree it was not cheerful. Richard wouldn't go to bed until we'd checked every room, like over-excited schoolboys looking under each bed and in all the floor-to-ceiling cupboards, and then he locked himself in with a length of rope in order to make a hasty escape out a window if necessary and which aperture he also used to pee out of rather than dare the corridor to the distant bathroom (there were only two in the entire house). Apart from that, there was no heating and it was distinctly chilly. I stumbled out as best I could and ran all the way home, leaving him to it. Normally, if there were enough people in it, it was a different matter altogether.

Biester was entered by a large carved door opening into a baronial hall with marble columns from which drooped the perfect blooms of many pots of orchids that were wheeled in every night from a special greenhouse used only for their cultivation. On one side of that there opened a vestibule with the walls painted in neo-classical ‘Pompeian' motives and containing a life-sized marble nymph archly drooping also; and leading to a circular ‘chapel' garishly but dramatically decorated in primary colours with scarlet-velvet-upholstered prie-dieux. On the other side there was a ‘gothic' staircase ascending a semi-cylindrical stairwell of faux-marbre. Ahead were the three reception rooms that otherwise comprised all of the first floor. The drawing-room extended the length of a long garden terrace, itself already raised to a height which afforded a splendid view of the sunset and all the way to the sea. The dining room comfortably seated twenty six, and with subdued lighting even then the walls disappeared into the gloom. Both had riotously and in a way beautifully painted ceilings of canvas set into carved ‘gothic' tracery, but everything was exceeded, I thought, by the music room, in grass green with white and gold plaster tracery and with acoustics which emphasized every rumble of the black Steinway concert piano. It only lacked a gilded harp, but those were more difficult to come by and anyway no-one knew how to play one. All the painting was the work of the highly-accomplished Italian stage designer Luigi Manini, much in demand during his stay in Portugal between the 1880's and 1913. The splendours declined a little on the first floor, where apart from a ‘boudoir' in tartan and masculine leather and the ‘master-bedroom', really outrageously got up with pink-bottomed cherubs floating above the bed, there was a long corridor opening onto goodness knows how many other bedrooms rather less flamboyantly adorned and graded to the importance of guests; those of no importance, like poor Richard, were relegated up to the next level where they tended to get lost, there were so many rooms and cubicles and spaces that were never entered; and above the lot there was a ‘loft' under the roof that could have accommodated a whole family. To furnish and equip a house like that no more than adequately would have cost at least as much as to buy it, and in this case not much attempt had been made. As I said, it was supported over a lot of other spaces used for domestic purposes, and a very large and immensely enviable kitchen with multiple marble sinks and every traditional practical facility. The workmanship was everywhere of the highest quality, even down to the last details of door locks and shutter hinges. Twenty hectares of gardens contained the usual grove of camellia trees (said to thrive in Sintra like nowhere else) and a miniature swan lake with cascade, as well as flower beds and orchards and vegetable plots and more greenhouses and ‘rustic walks', and all that was bounded by a couple of miles of stone wall. It couldn't possibly be maintained properly without about fifty servants, and that's principally where Robert had bitten off a good deal more than he could chew. It took two fit and energetic elderly women alone endlessly on hands and knees to keep the intricate parquet floors polished and shove the piano about, and an elderly gardener struggled manfully with an assistant only to deal with the orchids and the floral displays - the rest was left to nature. Disasters were always happening: one whole floor gave way to bottomless depths; the upper parts caught on fire because no-one had warned that the single ornate fireplace was not meant to be used; the complicated system of pipes feeding the lake as well as the house blocked up and no-one had the faintest idea how that connected with an underground stream taking the overflow from the roof; no-one could be persuaded for any amount of money onto the roof to look at the slates and the finials; and so on and so forth. It was entertaining to observe these antics from a distance, but it was also a source of deep gratitude for being poor enough never to be tempted into the agonies of trying to represent oneself in possessions, however beautiful.


Château de Puivert, Aude, France

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The Castle Keep

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From Wikipedia:

The Château de Puivert is a so-called Cathar castle situated in the commune of Puivert, in the Aude département of France. This building, on top a hill overhanging the village and its lake, reaches and altitude of 605 m. The site is in the Quercob region, 60 km (40 miles) south of Carcassonne and 45 km (30 miles) east of Foix. The castle has been listed as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture since 1902.

The First Castle

The construction dates from the 13th century. The first mention is in 1170: it then belonged to the Congost family, at the time of the Albigensian Crusade. These lords practised Catharism and were accused as heretics. Then, in November 1210, the castle was subjected for three days to a siege by the army of Thomas Pons de Bruyère, lieutenant of Simon de Montfort and it became the property of the northern barons. All that is left of this older castle is a few sections of wall to the east. A collapse of the natural dam on the lake at the foot of the site caused the destruction of the part of the town of Mirepoix, 30 km north, in Ariège in 1279. According to legend, this was because a certain Dame Blanche wanted to daydream on the lake shores, which were inaccessible in bad weather. She asked that the water level be lowered and works to accomplish this led to the collapse.

The Present Castle

At the start of the 14th century, Thomas de Bruyère, grandson of Pons, and his wife Isabelle de Melun, built the new castle, to the east of the old castle, remains of which are still visible. The coat-of-arms of Isabelle de Melun, daughter of a Grand Chamberlain of France, are still in the old building. The building was given a symbolic and picturesque character which can still be seen today.

The castle was classified as Monument historique (Historic monument) in 1907. The castle is privately owned and has been a location for many films including The Ninth Gate and Le Peuple migrateur, thanks to its very well preserved keep.

The Minstrels Room

On the fourth floor of the keep is the minstrels room (salle des musiciens). It is so-called because eight very fine sculptures of musicians with their instruments are represented in the room. Legend has it that the town of Puivert welcomed in the 12th century a great gathering of troubadours. The instruments seen in the room are the bagpipes, flute, tambourin, rebec, lute, gittern, portable organ, psaltery and the bowed hurdy-gurdy.

The Walls

The castle's functions were military: lookout and defense, unlike many buildings of the era which had religious goals. The curtain wall extends for 175 m, pierced with arrow slits. In plan, it is rectangular. The moat which separated it from the plateau is practically invisible today. The entrance to the courtyard is through a square gate tower, situated in the centre of the east wall.

Five of the original eight towers remain:
• a smooth round tower in the north-east corner
• a rough round tower in the middle of the north wall
• a square tower, with a windowed turret on the eastern side joing the two top floors
• remains of a round tower in the south-eats
• the keep (the best preserved part of the castle).
As well as the central gateway in the east wall, there are two other doorways:
• one in the north-west corner defended by the keep
• another to the south of the keep giving access to the older castle.
The surface area of the site is very large: 3 200 m² inside the walls.

The Keep

The best preserved part of the castle, the square keep measures 15 m by 15 m with a height of 35 m. Originally, it adjoined the manor house. On the west of the tower can be seen pieces of perpendicular masonry, from which it can be deduced that the buiildings were joined in this area. The keep comprises:

• two lower levels: partly underground, with barrel vaulting
• a third floor: accessible through a broken arch door is the chapel. The room is decorated with small columns, moldings and shields. The ceiling is rib-vaulted; in the wall is a "piscina" (basin).
• a fourth floor: a rib vaulted room, the culs-de-lampe sculpted with profane figurines playing musical instruments - the Minstrels' Room ("Salle des Musiciens"). It is well-lit, thanks to three windows resembling those of the chapel.
• the fifth and top floor: defensive platform, originally surrounded with crenellations, provides a magnificent view of the Quercob region.



Château des Cathares, Montségur, Ariège, France

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From Wikipedia:

Cathar castles (in French Châteaux cathares) is a modern term used by the tourism industry (following the example of Pays Cathare - Cathar Country) to arbitrarily designate the series of fortresses built by the French king on the southern frontier of his lands at the end of the Albigensian Crusade. Some of these sites had known, before the Royal period, fortified villages capable of sheltering Cathars and which were destroyed during the building of citadels.

The True "Cathar castles"

In Languedoc, the only real "Cathar castles" were fortified homesteads (castrum), such as Laurac, Fanjeaux, Mas-Saintes-Puelles. Certain sites like Lastours-Cabaret, Montségur, Termes or Puilaurens were castra before being razed to the ground and becoming royal citadels. The legend of Cathar architects and builders is no more than a myth. The only monuments which witnessed the events of the first half of the 13th century, and therefore the only ones which can claim the description "Cathar", given that the Cathar Church never built anything, are the small castles, often totally unknown to the public, whose meagre ruins are away from the tourist routes.

The Royal Citadels

Following the failure of the attempt to recapture Carcassonne by Raimond II, Viscount Trencaval in 1240, the Cité de Carcassonne was considerably reinforced by the French king, new master of the territory. He flattened small castra in the Corbières region and built citadels to protect the frontier with the kingdom of Aragon.

These five castles are often called the cinq fils de Carcassonne (five sons of Carcassonne):
• Château d'Aguilar
• Château de Peyrepertuse
• Château de Puilaurens
• Château de Quéribus
• Château de Termes
These five fortresses resisted various assaults led by the Aragonese army.

The Abandonment of the Citadels

In 1659, Louis XIV and the Philip IV of Spain signed the Treaty of the Pyrenees, sealed with the marriage of the Infanta Marie Therese to the French King. The treaty modified the frontiers, giving Rousillon to France and moving the frontier south to the crest of the Pyrenees, the present Franco-Spanish border. The fortresses thus lost their importance. Some maintained a garrison for a while, a few until the French Revolution, but they slowly fell into decay, often becoming sherpherds' shelters or bandits hideouts.




Hotel Cayre - 4 boulevard Raspail, Paris 7, Paris, France

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From Trip Advisor:

The K+K Hotel Cayre is a contemporary boutique hotel located on the 'Rive Gauche' in Saint Germain des Pris. The 7 floor building with its... The K+K Hotel Cayre is a contemporary boutique hotel located on the 'Rive Gauche' in Saint Germain des Pris. The 7 floor building with its traditional Parisian facade has 125 air conditioned guest rooms. Recently renovated, this hotel and its central location (Metro stop Rue du bac) is a perfect launching point to explore the French capital. Free high speed internet access in all rooms; WIFI in business lounge and lobby, Internet workstation in lobby; Fitness and Sauna for free;


Hotel Central, Sintra, Lisbon, Portugal

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From the hotel’s homepage (It appears only the restaurant is open for now.):

The Sintra Central Hotel is a building that used to be occupied by the Casa dos Templários, the first owners of Sintra. The Hotel is also widely referenced along History and in portuguese literature, like the book Os Maias, by Eça de Queirós. The Sintra Central Hotel has reopened after having been renovated. Sintra Central Hotel offers an excellent esplanade service to its costumers, it has a magnificent view of the Palácio da Vila and all the surrounding area. You can enjoy our esplanade service and at the same time have the pleasure of having a meal cooked just next to you.

The Hotel gets to see its doors opened once more to its costumers. The Sintra Central Hotel is also planning on reopening its hotel service.

Toledo, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain

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From Wikipedia:

Castile-La Mancha is bordered by Castile and León, Madrid, Aragon, Valencia, Murcia, Andalusia, and Extremadura. It is one of the most sparsely populated of Spain's autonomous communities.

The capital of Castile-La Mancha is Toledo.

Castile-La Mancha was formerly grouped with the province of Madrid into New Castile ("Castilla la Nueva"), but with the advent of the modern Spanish system of semi-autonomous regions ("las autonomías"), it was separated due to great demographic disparity between the capital and the remaining New-Castilian provinces.

It is in this region where the famous Spanish novel "Don Quixote" by Miguel de Cervantes was written. Although La Mancha is a windswept, battered plateau ("manxa" means parched earth in Arabic; hence La Mancha is not definitively related to the Spanish word "mancha", or stain, which is derived from Latin "macula") it remains a symbol of the Spanish culture with its sunflowers, oliveyards, windmills, Manchego cheese and "Don Quijote".


The history of Castile-La Mancha has been significant. Its origin was founded during the Muslim period between the 8th and 14th century. Castile-La Mancha was the region of many historical battles between Christian crusaders and Muslim forces during the period of 1000 to the 14th centuries (until the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa, which aftermath assured the Castilian domination of the region with the decline of the Almohad Dynasty). It was also the region were the unification of Castile and Aragon in 1492 under Queen Isabel and King Ferdinand was created.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
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Re: TCD Tidbit #26 ~ The Ninth Gate Filming Locations

Unread postby shadowydog » Fri Aug 01, 2008 12:29 pm

Thanks that is interesting. :cool: Do you know if that house is empty now? Did they film any of the scenes inside the actual house?
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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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Re: TCD Tidbit #26 ~ The Ninth Gate Filming Locations

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri Aug 01, 2008 3:13 pm

shadowydog, I don't know if the house is occupied at this time or not or whether or not any interiors were used. From the description of some of the rooms I think we would recognize a few of them! :lol:
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Parlez
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Re: TCD Tidbit #26 ~ The Ninth Gate Filming Locations

Unread postby Parlez » Fri Aug 01, 2008 4:23 pm

Well, I don't think the Challet looks that big or unwieldy. Rich folks buy and maintain more square footage and terrain than that in the mountains around here. Actually it kinda looks like the pics of Johnny's house in LA. Anyway, I loved the author's funny write-up about the place!
And, oh the Chateaux! Talk about 'melancholy places' where you'd expect to find all kinds of paranormal activity going on - yikes! I remember how effective the lighting was on that arched entryway in the movie. Tres spooky! And wouldn't it be fun to climb around the ruins of the one in the second pic? Let's add that to the Tour de France!
We'll be booking lodging at the Hotel Cayre, right? But of course! :frenchie:
Thanks for a great tidbit, DitHoT!
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Re: TCD Tidbit #26 ~ The Ninth Gate Filming Locations

Unread postby Kittycat88 » Sat Aug 02, 2008 10:48 am

Very nice to see the actual buildings...thanks for the research ...a little spooky, but very intriguing.
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