Grande Vadrouille Pumpkin posterGrande Vadrouille Pumpkin poster
©Grande Vadrouille Pumpkin poster|Laurence Dallerey
"Are you ? You are ?"
Once upon a time

La Grande Vadrouille

The Bourvil-de Funès duo triumphed in “La Grande Vadrouille”! It’s one of cinema’s classics and greatest hits. The film was shot all over France, notably on the Causse de Mende in Lozère, but did you know that several cult scenes were shot in Burgundy?

In 1966, the film’s director, Gérard Oury, shot several sequences in Burgundy. Today we can relive the great moments of this fabulous adventure in several villages that during this period plunged back into the Occupation and Nazi flags.

You follow us on the route of La Grande Vadrouille in Burgundy?


This is where the entrance to the village with the false sign indicating Meursault was filmed, eh yes don’t look for this entrance to Meursault because it’s the Porte Neuve in Vézelay. Do you remember it? It’s night-time and Augustin is shining his light on the plaque indicating Meursault. This is also the setting for the scene in which Bourvil intercepts Louis de Funès cycling down a street to avoid meeting a German patrol passing by at the junction of rue des écoles and rue de l’Horloge. You’ll no doubt remember the bicycle wheel continuing to turn and the patrol passing by without seeing them?

When Sister Marie-Odile’s cart leaves the fictitious site of Meursault, it’s still Vézelay and its hill that we glimpse in the background.


La grande vadrouille - Euh dites-moi mon ami, il faudrait quand même me surveiller ce foie
La grande vadrouille - Euh dites-moi mon ami, il faudrait quand même me surveiller ce foie
La grande vadrouille - Euh dites-moi mon ami, il faudrait quand même me surveiller ce foie


In this village, the mythical scene of the arrival at the Hotel du Globe was filmed. Louis de Funès and Bourvil stroll under the arcades to get to the Hotel, they call out to the landlady who answers through a window. They enter the inn where there are plenty of Germans inside, including one who, at night, by snoring, upsets Louis de Funès’ sleep…

During the filming, Gaston Rosi lived on the second floor of a building across the street from the set. “I opened my windows and took out my little camera,” he explains. On the reel, which he still broadcasts with emotion, we see the famous duo knocking on the door and inadvertently stumbling upon a party organized by German soldiers. Today, the Hotel du Globe is a pretty, honey-colored, timber-framed private home!


The sequence of the two British aviators stealing the truck carrying barrels and squash was filmed at the entrance to Château de Faulin, between Clamecy and Vézelay. Not far away is Anthien, on Route 958, where the scene of the famous shoe exchange and the breakdown of the mail van took place.

La Rochepot

In the film, we see the postal van on the present-day D33, with the magnificent Château de La Rochepot in the background.

La Grande Vadrouille

finally in Meursault

We all remember the scene in the Kommandantur, which is today’s Hôtel de Ville, where Louis de Funès and Bourvil are arrested by the Germans.

The Office de Tourisme is offering a unrevealed guided tour of the village, complete with anecdotes about the places that were used as sets. For example, the mythical scene of the Kommandantur fire… One of the town hall doors actually caught fire and had to be replaced… the facade was blackened and had to be repaired. The production company and Gérard Oury had to foot the bill. To extinguish the fire started by the fugitives, the team mobilized real Burgundian firemen for a fee of 50 francs.

We also recognize the rue des écoles and the little bridge over which Louis de Funès and Bourvil set off driving the cart of the resistance fighter sister Marie-Odile, a role played by actress Andréa Parisy. For the anecdote, when the actors leave the Kommandantur, to create a quick effect, the horses were replaced by a carriage pulling the horse-drawn carriage, then before the little bridge, the horses were put back in front of the carriage.

It’s in the rue de Martray that we see the firemen’s carriage called the Bouzine arrive with fanfare and set off in the direction of the Kommandantur. The car still in working order can be seen in Meursault, a 1906 Renault. Two examples exist! Meursault’s firefighters were called upon extensively during the filming, and many Murisaltiens bonded with the actors and rubbed shoulders with the infernal duo we adore!

Which films beat La Grande Vadrouille?

For a long time, this film was the biggest box-office draw in France, selling over 17 million tickets. It was eventually surpassed by James Cameron’s Titanic in 1997, Dany Boon’s Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis in 2008 and Intouchables in 2011. But it’s still a legend!


Ah Beaune! Bourvil and de Funès filmed together in the cour de l’Hôtel-Dieu. Everywhere nuns, extras, wore the hennin which was their traditional hairstyle, now extinct. Mike Marshall, English actor Terry Thomas, aka Big Moustache, Marie Marquet and Andréa Parisy were present. In the Salle des Pôvres, the cult scene of the Englishman who comes to be treated by the nuns who diagnose a liver problem took place… “Say 33! Say 33!”… “Thirty-three!”

Hospital activity was still ongoing, so doctors, patients, nurses worked while the film crew labored.

One day, while the cameras were rolling, Bourvil and de Funès went missing. They were found on the banks of the Bouzaize, teasing trout… Other scenes, such as the stretcher transfer, were filmed at the wine museum’s wine cellar.

The shoot lasted a week, and the actors took full advantage of the time to visit the wine cellars. So much so that Terry Thomas, aka Big Moustache, was a little conspicuous. He was found on several occasions coming out of the cellars, his eyes shining, his gait uncertain… And as is often the case in Burgundy, they all left with a few nectars in their luggage.

What about you? Go and take a look at the fresco dedicated to the film, it can be seen at the corner of Rue des Tonneliers and Rue du Château in Beaune. Indulge yourself by reliving the film as it was shot!

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