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10 Places James Bond Put On The Map
By Josh Lew,
Mother Nature Network, 15 October 2015.

The World of Bond

The next James Bond film, "Spectre," will soon be hitting theatre screens around the globe. Bond movies are known for their exotic locations. After the casting, the first things fans usually want to know is where the next 007 entry will be filmed.

Since he first set foot in Jamaica in 1962's "Dr. No," James Bond has been all over the globe. In addition to London, his favourite spots have been the Caribbean, the Alps of Central Europe, the Far East. He's also particularly fond of the Casino de Monte-Carlo in Monaco.

Many of these places don't look exactly like they did in the Sean Connery or Roger Moore eras, but most are still recognizable. Take a tour of these iconic locations where 007 caught the bad guys.

1. Khao Phing Kan


Khao Phing Kan sits to the north of the popular Thai beach destination of Phuket. Since it appeared as the hideout of Bond nemesis Francisco Scaramanga in "The Man with the Golden Gun," this island has become known as James Bond Island to many.

Actually, most people come to the Phuket area to see Koh Tapu, a towering limestone islet just off of Khao Phing Kan that is instantly recognizable to anyone who has seen "Golden Gun." The island and adjacent islet are both protected as part of Ao Phang-Nga National Park.

2. Stoke Park

Photo: Carine06/Flickr

Located in Buckinghamshire, Stoke Park is near the village of Stoke Poges. It is a luxury hotel and sports estate with a main building that dates back to the 18th century. You can book the five-star hotel and play a round on 18 of the 27 holes at the golf course, which appears much like it did when Bond played against Auric Goldfinger in 1964's "Goldfinger." Sean Connery claims that he became a golf enthusiast after filming the scene.

Guests who don't care for fairways can come to the park for afternoon tea or to eat at one of the three restaurants. A tennis tournament is held on the club's grass courts in the weeks before Wimbledon. Some of the world's best players come to warm up for the Grand Slam tournament.

3. Basilica Cistern

Photo: Matthew and Heather/Flickr

This site, one of the oldest of all James Bond settings, was built in the 6th century by the Byzantine emperor Justinian. Overall, the cistern stretches for 100,000 square feet. At capacity, it can hold 100,000 tons of water. However, it is nearly empty these days, with never more than a few feet of liquid in the bottom.

The cistern was a location in "From Russia with Love." The film said that the ancient structure led directly under the Soviet consulate. This was not true in the 1960s when the film was made. Today the cistern is a popular tourist attraction both for Bond fans and regular tourists. Atmospheric lighting has been installed to add to the allure.

4. Piz Gloria

Photo: Todd Petrie/Flickr

The Schilthorn is a peak in Switzerland. It is similar to many of the other Alps in Central Europe, except for one thing: the revolving restaurant that is perched on its summit. Called Piz Gloria, the restaurant can be reached via a cable car. The venue actually got its name from the 1963 Bond novel "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" and the subsequent 1969 movie.

Piz is Romansh for "mountain peak." However, the actual location of the restaurant is in the Bernese Highlands, where German is spoken and Romansh is rarely heard. Even so, the restaurant has embraced its name and its association with James Bond. Bond-themed attractions are still a major draw to this day, more than 45 years after the movie was released.

5. Fontainebleau Miami Beach

Photo: Gilles Messian/Flickr

Usually just called the Fontainebleau, this iconic landmark is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. It was opened in 1954 after being designed by Morris Lapidus, the architect who was responsible for several of Miami's most famous hotels.

The Fontainebleau played a major role in "Goldfinger." It is seen at the beginning of the film and is where Connery's Bond meets Jill Masterson (who is eventually assassinated by being covered in gold paint). The Fontainebleau is a silver screen regular. Several Frank Sinatra vehicles were shot here, as were "The Bodyguard," "Police Academy 5" and some of the scenes from "Scarface."

6. Sölden, Austria

Photo: Gerrit Quast/Flickr

Bond has been to the mountains of Central Europe a number of times, but he has never been to Sölden. If you were skiing in the Austrian Alps this past winter, you might have caught a glimpse of Daniel Craig. Sölden will play a major role in the next 007 entry, "Spectre." According to the pre-release buzz, the snow-covered slopes are the backdrop for the movie's most spectacular chase scene.

There are some similarities with past Bond locations. Some of the scenes were shot in Sölden's Ice Q Restaurant, a mountaintop eatery that does not revolve but still has a lot in common with the previously mentioned Piz Gloria.

7. Himeji Castle

Photo: Sébastien Bertrand/Flickr

Himeji is one of best examples of classical Japanese architecture. The hilltop castle in Hyogo Prefecture was built in the 14th century. It has appeared in numerous films. Famed Japanese director Akira Kurosawa filmed at the castle for two of his masterpieces, "Ran" and "Kagemusha."

The castle entered the world of James Bond in 1967 for "You Only Live Twice." The film marked Sean Connery's fifth time as 007. While in Japan, Bond visits the castle, which houses a ninja training centre. In real life, the castle is a popular tourist destination both for international and domestic tourists, and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

8. Taj Lake Palace

Photo: Arnie Papp/Flickr

This picturesque palace was built in the 18th century by one of Rajasthan's royal families. It is located in the highland city of Udaipur and was used as a winter residence. The castle, now a luxury hotel, is known for its location, in the middle of a lake, and for its white marble walls. Guests are usually whisked to the hotel by speedboat.

The Taj played a major role in "Octopussy." Roger Moore's Bond is taken there by the titular character. Some of the other scenes in the movie were filmed in two other palaces in Udaipur, Jag Mandir and Monsoon Palace.

9. Casino de Monte-Carlo

Photo: Glen Scarborough/Flickr

More than any other place, Bond is most closely linked to the Casino de Monte-Carlo. The Belle Epoque style was described extensively in Ian Fleming's first Bond book, "Casino Royale." The casino appeared in "Never Say Never Again" (which was not an official EON James Bond production) and in "GoldenEye."

If you want to visit the casino's interior, you will need formal attire. There are very few low-stakes games here, so you won't be able to hit the nickel slots after you have looked around. You can, however, hang out in the square outside the casino with a cup of coffee and watch all the luxury cars roll up.

10. Green Grotto Caves

Photo: Brandie/Flickr

The Green Grotto Caves are located along the northern coast of Jamaica. The caves are a popular tourist attraction. The green colour does not come from the rocks themselves, but from algae that clings to the walls. Besides the otherworldly colours and shapes, the highlight for visitors is an underground lake with totally clear water. This is in the innermost chamber.

In "Live and Let Die," Roger Moore's first film as 007, the caves were the hideout of villain Dr. Kananga. The scenes were actually not set in Jamaica, but on the fictional island of San Monique. In the Fleming novel on which the movie was based, there are references to the real caves. Fleming was familiar with the area because he spent a lot of time in Jamaica.

Top image: Taj Lake Palace (night shot). Credit: Matthew Dryden/Flickr.

[Source: Mother Nature Network. Edited. Some images added.]

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