To Catch A Thief: Take 14

Le Stuff’s Definitive Location Guide to Alfred Hitchcock’s Classic Film

Series Post #16

The Picnic Site Revisited

When I started Le Stuff in June of 2009 I had no idea I would come across so many people who shared my quirky fascination with To Catch A Thief

I have been fortunate over the years to gain insight into the film and its locations from numerous devoted readers.

One person, though, stands out above the rest.

The latest research by Luca has been languishing in my email inbox for too long now and, as usual, he has truly done his due diligence.

All of the photos in this post (except for the screenshots) were taken by Luca.

More to follow….

The approach to the picnic site looking west.


Again, approaching from the west. Luca stood on the roof of the garage that now sits next to the picnic site in order to take this photo. The shot approximately matches Hitchcock’s camera position (though at a different height). Continue reading


Bertani’s Staircase: Mystery Solved

robie on restaurant verandaThe only To Catch A Thief location that has given me fits is the staircase leading down to Bertani’s restaurant.  I had reached the frustrating conclusion that it was destroyed forever when the port was renovated in the 1970’s.

Well, not so fast.

Grant and Hitchcok below “Bertani’s Steps” in Monaco.

Enter Luca, a devoted Le Stuff reader from Turin, Italy.

Luca and I had exchanged a few Emails regarding TCAT’s picnic site (which he correctly located) when he told me that he had also found Bertani’s steps.

I was skeptical.

I soon learned, though, never to underestimate a man on a mission.

Luca had indeed located the steps and the process by which he discovered them is a veritable lesson in tenacity.

How did he do it?

First, he Continue reading

Locations in the New Citroen Car Commercial

Many thanks to everyone who commented and Emailed their suggestions regarding the locations used in the new Citroen DS5 commercial.

The correct locations are:

0:01 – The D3 leading up to the village of Gourdon (Gourdon can be seen in the background).
0:04 – The D2 driving east toward the village of Greolieres.  This section of road is extremely popular and has been featured in numerous car commercials, movies (Ronin – beginning at 0:31 to 0:59 and Goldeneye – beginning at 2:14 (Greolieres in the background) to 3:16. to name just two), and on countless car review sites.
0:20 – On the Promenade des Anglais in Nice near the old town.
The Hotel Suisse and Hotel La Perouse can be seen in the background.


The Long Escape by David Dodge

I recently received the following Email from David Dodge expert Randal Brandt:

“I am very pleased to announce the publication of David Dodge’s The Long Escape by Bruin Books. First published in 1948 and out of print for many years, the new edition — once again featuring a biographical introduction by yours truly — is available now.”

This is a must-read for any fan of David Dodge.

Thanks Randal and keep up the excellent work at A David Dodge Companion.

To Catch A Thief: Take 8

Le Stuff’s Definitive Location Guide to Alfred Hitchcock’ s Classic Film

Series Post #10

Brigitte Auber told me recently that she first met Cary Grant in Cannes, just before filming began on “To Catch A Thief”.

Alfred Hitchcock introduced them on the balcony of Grant’s suite at The Carlton, overlooking the Bay of Cannes.

She liked him immediately.

Brigitte and Cary Grant

The setting for such an auspicious introduction seems fitting doesn’t it?

Where else but The Carlton would a young, beautiful French actress, destined for a long, successful career, meet the most famous movie star on the planet?

Today, more than fifty years later, Continue reading

Le Stuff on The BBC!

Before Alfred Hitchcock could cast Cary Grant and Grace Kelly in his blockbuster film “To Catch A Thief”, American author David Dodge had to write the novel.  His book was inspired by an actual burglary that took place next door to the Villa Noel Fleuri, a house Dodge had rented for his family in the south of France in the early 1950’s.

In September of 2010, bravely fighting my way through the warm sun and delicious food of the Cote D’Azur, I joined writer (and expert detective) Jean Buchanan in her search for the mysterious villa.  Randal Brandt, a Dodge expert with no equal, provided invaluable assistance from his home-base at the Bancroft Library at the University of California Berkeley.

Listen to the program here.

Learn more here.

Like what you see?  Subscribe to Le Stuff here.

The following text is from the BBC Radio 4 website.

The American thriller and travel-writer, David Dodge (1910-1974), is best known for his 1952 novel To Catch A Thief, which Hitchcock turned into an iconic film three years later. Unusually for Hitchcock, half the film was shot on location, and the Riviera is as much a star as Grace Kelly (in her final film – she met Prince Rainier during a publicity shoot and became Princess of Monaco) and Cary Grant (whom Hitchcock tempted out of retirement with this script).

Dodge’s book was inspired by a real incident when he briefly became the number 1 suspect for a daring cat-burglary at Continue reading

The French Riviera: Driving Heaven?

Click here for information on the French Riviera Mini Cooper Driving Adventure!

From the celebrated corniche roads to the beautiful back country, the south of France offers intrepid drivers endless opportunities for motorized fun.

The crew at BBC’s Top Gear already knows this.
They began their search for the “World’s Best Driving Road” near Monaco on the renowned col de Turini.

In Alfred Hitchcock’s glamorous 1953 film, To Catch A Thief, driving plays a pivotal role during chase scenes through the beautiful villages of the back country and on the dramatic moyenne corniche (with Grace Kelly behind the wheel no less).

“Ronin”, starring Robert DeNiro and “GoldenEye”, starring Pierce Brosnan also feature Continue reading

To Catch A Thief: Take 5

Le Stuff’s Definitive Location Guide to Alfred Hitchcock’ s Classic Film

Series Post #7

Having narrowly escaped the police in Monaco, John Robie flees to Cannes in a motor boat with Danielle Foussard.  Once in Cannes, he slips into the water and casually swims to the beach (while a police airplane circles above).

The beach is directly across the main boulevard (La Croisette) from the famous Carlton Hotel.  The Carlton plays a prominent role in To Catch A Thief, but more on that later.  It is here, on the beach, that we get our first glimpse of Grace Kelly.

If there has ever been perfect casting in a movie, it may be Grace Kelly for the part of Francie Stevens.  Icy cool and strikingly beautiful Continue reading

To Catch A Thief: Take 3

Le Stuff’s Definitive Location Guide to Alfred Hitchcock’ s Classic Film

Series Post #5

At the end of post # 4 the police were fast approaching Robie’s villa just outside the village of St Jeannet.


The police enter the house and ask the former jewel thief to accompany them to the station for questioning.  He agrees, but asks if they will first allow him to change into something a bit more formal.  While changing in his bedroom he fools the police into thinking he has escaped by car.  And so begins the famous chase scene that  takes viewers through some of the most picturesque villages in the south of France (apparently this was was also one of the first cinematic sequences filmed from a helicopter).

The Chase:
The first town we see is Le Bar sur Loup.  Le Bar is a picturesque, working class village that looks pretty much the same today as it does in the movie, with its dramatic, fourteenth century chateau dominating the town center.  Notice the old railroad bridge at the edge of town. Continue reading

To Catch A Thief: Take 2

Le Stuff’s Definitive Location Guide to Alfred Hitchcock’ s Classic Film

Series Post #4

At the end of post #3 several policemen had been dispatched to question John Robie at his villa in the hills above Nice.  As they drive into the countryside the village of Gourdon is visible in the distance.


The Villa:
From Gourdon the scene fades and we see, for the first time, John Robie’s villa (pictured above). This is the villa that seems to generate so much interest.
The house is located Continue reading

To Catch A Thief: Take 1

Le Stuff’s Definitive Location Guide to Alfred Hitchcock’ s Classic Film

Series Post #3


The Movie Begins:
A woman screams as she discovers her jewelry has been stolen.
In a panic she runs onto her hotel room balcony where we, the viewers, are treated to an expansive shot of Nice’s world famous seafront boulevard, the Promenade des Anglais.


And so begins Alfred Hitchcock’s light hearted thriller “To Catch A Thief”.

A rash of daring jewel thefts has the entire Riviera in an uproar.
An emergency meeting is held at the
Commissaire de Police in downtown Nice where several officers are quickly dispatched to question former jewel thief John Robie, the obvious suspect, at his villa in the hills above the Riviera.
As the officers leave Nice they are shown driving up a hill with a sweeping view of the city and the Mediterranean in the background.  The “hill” is actually Continue reading

To Catch A Thief: Prelude

Le Stuff’s Definitive Location Guide to Alfred Hitchcock’ s Classic Film

Series Post #2


Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch A Thief, starring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly, premiered in New York City in August of 1955.

It was an immediate hit.

Adapted from a novel by David Dodge, To Catch A Thief tells the story of ex- jewel thief John Robie (Grant), who is forced out of retirement by a mysterious string of burglaries in Nice and Cannes.  It seems the thief is using all of Robie’s old tricks and the police suspect him of committing the crimes.  In order to salvage his reputation, and his hide, Robie decides to track down the copy cat himself.  Along the way he becomes romantically involved with the icy, but very beautiful, Frances Stevens (Kelly).

Aside from the obvious star power of Grant and Kelly, the movie showcases the stunning scenery of the French Riviera and the villages just north of the coast. To Catch A Thief still stands, in my opinion, as one of the most visually captivating films ever made.

For those of you who are true To Catch A Thief addicts, I recommend Continue reading

To Catch A Thief: The Definitive Location Guide To Alfred Hitchcock’s Classic Film


Most cyber junkies are probably not aware that bloggers have the ability to track, among other things, the search word or words used to reach a particular blog or blog post.  For example, if someone enters “Tourrettes sur Loup” into the Google toolbar and that, in turn, leads them to my July 28 post on the Auberge de Tourrettes, then I know that the title and tags I’ve used have been effective.  Being aware of “blog stats” can be very helpful in driving traffic to a blog.
The reason for this explanation?
Since my first Le Stuff post on June 10, 2009, one subject has easily trumped all other searches by a country mile.
Here are a few examples:

john robies villa in the hills of nice
where exactly is john robies villa
john robie cours saleya flower market nice
flower market john robie

I think you get the idea.

I’m sure many of you are probably scratching your  heads at this very moment and wondering “Who is John Robie?”
Continue reading

John Cleese Puts Wine Snobs in Their Place

John Cleese and I have at least two things in common.

1) We have both parlayed good looks and a crackerjack sense of comedic timing into long standing and lucrative careers in show business
2) We each have a healthy disdain for wine snobs

I’ve just finished watching “John Cleese’s Wine for the Confused” and I strongly recommend it to anyone with an interest in wine.  Cleese broaches the sometimes intimidating subjects of choosing, tasting, serving, and storing wine with humor and a simple, easy to understand style.

Released in 2004 and running a quick 92 minutes, this film is a must see for anyone in need of a wine confidence boost.

Available on Netflix and Hulu.

Movies to watch before traveling to the south of France….

Cary Grant and Grace Kelly in “To Catch a Thief”

One surefire way to increase your excitement about an upcoming trip is to watch a movie set in or near your destination. Listed below are a few of my favorite flicks filmed in the south of France.

To Catch A Thief (1953)
Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, the French Riviera.  Need I say more?
A stylish, timeless classic directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
Great footage of Le Bar sur Loup, Tourrettes sur Loup, Gourdon, Monaco, Nice, Cannes, Eze, and more.

And God Created Woman (1956)
The one that put St Tropez and Brigitte Bardot on the map.  Watch it and you’ll understand why everyone was so gaga about Brigitte.  There is also great post war footage of St Tropez before it became an international tourist destination.

French Kiss (1995)
Kevin Kline and Meg Ryan star in this feel good chick flick shot in Paris and the south of France.  Plenty of scenes filmed on La Croisette and in The Hotel Carlton in Cannes.  The nearby village of Valbonne is also prominently featured.

Ronin (1999)
The ultimate European thriller starring Robert DeNiro as a bad-ass ex C.I.A. agent for hire.  Lots of footage shot in Cannes, the village of La Turbie, the old port in Nice, and in the hills behind Le Bar sur Loup.