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We’ll Always Have Paris

Oct 2nd, 2008 | By | Category: 90210 & Beverly Hills, 90210 Filming Locations

Once again I am indebted to Mike over at MovieShotsLA for finding yet another location that had eluded me – a location I had been searching for for close to 16 years! During Season 3 of the original 90210, Brenda and Donna spend their summer in Paris. In the episode entitled “Shooting Star/An American In Paris” Brenda meets a tall, dark and handsome college student named Rick in a beautiful French garden. Later on in the episode the two walk underneath a curved rose-covered trellis and it is that trellis that I have been searching for ever since that episode aired way back in August of 1992. A few years after that episode aired, my parents took me on a trip to Europe as a present for my high school graduation. Our first stop was France and I remember walking around the streets of Paris carrying a small picture of Brenda and Rick under that trellis, stopping every native French person I could find to ask if they knew where it was located. Yes, I really am that blonde! :) My naive 18 year old self truly believed that Shannen Doherty and Tori Spelling had actually flown to France to film their Paris scenes. That reality was shattered this past summer when I took the Universal Studios tour and discovered that most of “Paris” was actually filmed at the Universal backlot. Not filmed at Universal, though, were the garden scenes. So I still had no idea where Brenda and Rick’s trellis was located. Knowing how obsessed I was with finding Brenda’s garden, Mike stayed up very late one night this week and located it for me and I was able to actually stalk it yesterday!! Let me tell you, I could not have been more excited!!

Mike and I were fairly certain that Brenda’s garden was located in one of the three main botanical gardens in LA, and since I had stalked the Arcadia Arboretum on Sunday without finding it, Mike set his sights on the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens in San Marino. He stayed up late one night searching Google images until he finally located Brenda’s trellis in the Rose Garden area of the Huntington, a good 5,000 miles from Paris, France. THANKS MIKE!!!! So yesterday, I dragged my dad out to the Huntington, in 103 degree heat no less, to do some 90210 stalking.

The Huntington shows up three times in the “Shooting Star/An American in Paris” episode. We first see it in the scene when Brenda and Rick first meet. In that scene, Brenda is sitting on a circular bench underneath a large oak tree. Sadly, that circular bench was removed long ago and the tree Brenda sat under is now surrounded by foliage, so the area looks very different. But there was a similar bench located just a few yards away, so I had to take a picture sitting on that. :)

The area where Brenda actually sat sixteen years ago is located on the very Southeast corner of the North Vista lawn, pictured above. The path Rick walks through when he first comes upon Brenda is now gone and filled in with foliage. Such a bummer!!!!

This same tree and bench area also show up in the episode following “Shooting Star/An American in Paris”, which is entitled “Castles In The Sand”. It is shown in the scene when Brenda dreams about Rick on her plane flight home to LA.

The next location I dragged my dad to stalk was the white flowered trellis Brenda and Rick walk under on their last night in Paris together. This is the location where “Reek” tells Brenda that if she were truly in love with Dylan she wouldn’t be standing there with him and then the two share their final Paris kiss. This particular trellis is located in the Rose Garden area of the Huntington, just off of the Tea Room.

This same location also shows up in the Hil D. movie A Cinderella Story. In the movie Hilary attends a masquerade ball at the Huntington. The exteriors of the ball location were filmed outside of the Huntington Gallery building (the interiors were actually filmed at a theatre in Downtown LA). During the ball, Chad Michael Murray takes Hil on a walk under the same trellises Rick and Brenda walked under 12 years before. After walking under the trellises, Chad leads Hilary to a gazebo where the two share a moonlit dance. That gazebo was brought in by producers and put in the Brown Garden especially for the filming and was removed when the three day shoot was complete.

Next up was the site I was most excited about seeing in person, the location I had wandered the streets of Paris trying to find – the curved rose-covered trellis Brenda and Rick walk beneath during their tour of Paris. Even sixteen years later, I could not have been more excited to see this location in person. :) I truly felt like a high school girl all over again! The trellis appeared in the scene where Brenda takes Rick on a walking tour of Paris and I am happy to report that it looks EXACTLY the same as it did when it appeared on 90210, except that due to the time of year, the flowers usually covering it were not in full bloom yesterday. This trellis is also located in the Huntington’s Rose Garden; it covers the path which leads to the Japanese Garden area.

Interestingly enough, this very same location showed up on 90210 some years later as the location where Steve and Janet tie the knot. Producers added some black street lights to the site which are not normally there. Otherwise it looks much the same as it did when it first appeared on 90210.

The Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens was originally the private home of Central Pacific Railroad owner Henry E. Huntington and his wife Arabella. Originally called the San Marino Ranch, Henry and his wife purchased the property in 1902 and began creating a truly incredible botanical garden in their backyard. Throughout his lifetime, Henry also collected fine art and books and today it is his art, library and gardens that make up the Huntington. The 207 acre property is an absolutely beautiful place to spend an afternoon. I am usually not big on museums, but the Huntington is simply breathtaking. The gardens alone cover over 120 acres and consist of painstakingly maintained landscapes from different areas of the world. It really takes more than one visit to discover all of this amazing place. The grounds are serene and peaceful and when visiting, you will feel a million miles away from Los Angeles. The Rose Garden is exquisite, the Bonzai Court and Zen Garden are truly unique, the Japanese Garden is incredible with its winding koi ponds and bamboo forests, and the newly built Chinese Garden with its enormous lake is absolutely gorgeous. This is one location that is a must-see, not just for stalkers, but for anyone visiting the Los Angeles area.

Besides 90210 and A Cinderella Story, The Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens has appeared in countless movie and television productions, including First Daughter, Be Cool, Legally Blonde 2, The Bachelor reality show, The Wedding Planner, Beverly Hills Ninja, The West Wing, American Wedding, Monster in Law, Charlie’s Angels, as well as hundreds of others. It was also the location of Robert and Anna’s wedding on the soap opera General Hospital. Anytime you see a garden popping up on one of your favorite television shows or movies, chances are it was filmed at the Huntington.

Until next time, Happy Stalking! :)

Stalk It: Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens is located at 1151 Oxford Road in San Marino. You can visit their website here. You can also visit their filming website here.

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7 comments

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  1. RobinPickles says:

    I guess I am as Naive as you, because I thought they went to Paris too! For me, I kept thinking that I HAD been there…I spent my 16th year old summer in France, and thought I HAD been in that garden..hahahhahahahaa

    I didn’t meet Reeeeeek in Paris either… =) ( hearing her say it was never as funny as in the later eppy back in california when Brenda sees Reeeeeeek in the video store, and later Nat Says it at the peach pit….

    Nat: Hiiiiiii reeeeeeeeeeeek…..(funniest facial expression ever!)

    Even made Brenda finally spill ze beans!

    Cheers,
    Robin

    Is this one Findlays Cult Classic house too?


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