Before Midnight, the third in the Richard Linklater-directed film series starring Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke as Céline and Jesse premiered at Sundance on Sunday. The latest flick finds the wandering, philosophizing pair in Greece this time round. Nine years ago, Before Sunset had them rendezvous in Paris, and another nine prior to that Before Sunrise first brought the two strangers together in Vienna. In honor, we retrace the fictional couple’s steps and suggest hotels to return to when you tire of walking.
As Nicholas K. Smith discovered, Jesse and Céline cover a lot of Viennese cobblestone in Before Sunrise. The most well-situated hotel between all the film’s landmarks—Mölker Bastai, Kleines Cafe, the Riesenrad in Prater Park—is also the most plush: Palais Coburg Hotel Residenz starts at €590 ($740 US) a night, but as the former home of Austrian royalty it’s to be expected.
But a little farther out, the design hotel Das Triest, which opened the same year the movie was released (1995), could actually be afforded by two university students at €143 a night. Its modern design also matches the progressive romantic sensibilities of the young protagonists and offers a refreshing contrast to all the history they took in on their travels.
In Before Sunset, Jesse finds himself in The City of Light on the last stop of his book tour. He and Céline pick up where they left off at his book reading at the iconic Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Saint Germain des Prés, so a bed at the nearby L’Hôtel is befitting. What was once Oscar Wilde’s residence is now a charming 20-suite boutique hotel. The stunning six-story circular staircase you see upon entry is enough to inspire prose. Once you’ve partaken of their Michelin star restaurant and relaxed in the private swimming pool and steam room down in the catacomb basement, head out on your jaunt through the streets of Paris, making your way to the Right Bank for Le Pure Café, the Promenade Plantée and plenty of conversation, before returning by Bateau Mouche.
Seeing as Before Midnight had it’s debut 10 or so hours ago in Park City and we weren’t there, we can’t recount details of the duo’s latest walkings and talkings. But unsubstantiated rumours (aka Wikipedia) put filming in the Messenia region of Peloponnese, and there we’d make The Romanos, Costa Navarino our luxurious concluding point. While we can’t see Jesse and Céline playing a round of golf on the nearby course, we can imagine the forty-somethings—their hosteling days well behind them—cooling their calloused heels with a refreshing dip in a private en-suite infinity pool and tossing out some final pontifications while watching the sun set over the Ionian Sea (which they would have a stellar view of, no less). But judging by the film still, they might be more at home among the natural stone arches and tiled roofs of The Westin Resort, Costa Navarino. There too are infinity pools meant for two.
Wonder what city the two will choose to saunter through in 2022 when they’re in their fifties: Before Noon in Florence?