It's no easy feat bringing the words of the page to life, but that is exactly what Shawn Levy and Steven Knight are hoping to do in Netflix's latest original limited series, All the Light We Cannot See.


The new four-part series is based on the novel of the same name by Anthony Doerr, and stars Aria Mia Loberti in the leading role as Marie-Laure LeBlanc, a blind French teenager whose path collides with German soldier Werner (Louis Hofmann) in the unlikeliest of ways.

Set in the 1940s and chronicling the Battle of Saint-Malo, the series is not only a story of hope and resistance, but also features some cinematography that often feels like you're watching a movie.

While the show is based in multiple places, including Essen in Germany and Paris and Saint-Malo in France, was All the Light We Cannot See actually filmed there?

Read on for a full breakdown of the locations used in the new Netflix series.

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Where is All the Light We Cannot See filmed? Location guide for Netflix drama

Aria Mia Loberti as Marie-Laure, Hugh Laurie as Etienne LeBlanc in All the Light We Cannot See sitting on rocks overlooking the sea with a fishing rod.
Aria Mia Loberti as Marie-Laure, Hugh Laurie as Etienne LeBlanc in All the Light We Cannot See. Netflix

Throughout the series, we follow Marie-Laure and her father Daniel (Mark Ruffalo) as they flee Paris after the Nazis occupy the French capital and seek refuge in the countryside, as they finally settle in Saint-Malo, the place where Daniel's uncle and aunt live.

The shots of Paris are relatively sparse, but are included throughout the first couple of episodes, but the series wasn't actually filmed in the French capital. Instead, the streets of Budapest, Hungary, doubled as 1940s Paris for the series.

Specific Budapest locations used for the series include The Festetics Palace, Zichy Castle in Sopoly and the Exchange Palace.

As for the iconic Champs-Élysées, which is shown in the series's first episode as Parisians watch the Nazi soldiers enter the city, it was actually a section of Budapest's Vécsey Street.

Aria Mia Loberti as Marie-Laure in All the Light We Cannot See wearing a grey-blue dress, holding a stick
Aria Mia Loberti as Marie-Laure in All the Light We Cannot See. Doane Gregory/Netflix

Speaking to Netflix about shooting in Hungary, director Levy explained that it was at the same time as Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Levy said: "I wish to god the story of All the Light wasn’t as timely as it is... But to be there telling this story, in that time, in that place — it was unsettling, for sure, but deeply impactful.

"It made me realise that this story is both timeless and timely. It’s not often in one’s career that you get to tell a story that can be both."

Similarly, Ruffalo added: "We were about 200 miles away from the border and it was very hard to be so close by and not want to pull the plug and go help in some way."

As for shots of Saint-Malo, the series was actually filmed on location in the French port city which, as depicted in the show, was bombed heavily in real life by the Allies in 1944.

As well as Saint-Malo, Villefranche-de-Rouergue (a commune in the Aveyron department in the south of France), was used for filming. A lot of the main scenes of streets, bombings and the eventual Saint-Malo liberation were shot here.

A large part of the town was adapted for production needs, but the location was chosen for its close similarities to Saint-Malo pre-Second World War, and filming took place in July 2022.

While viewers may be left thinking that the drama does feel like a film, that was actually Levy's intention.

The director revealed: "I approached this series as if it were a four-hour film. I hired the same crew and artistic collaborators from my movies, and we were all dedicated to transposing the beauty of the book and screenplays onto the screen.

"If I’m going to do my job and tell this story the way I think this story deserves, it has to be cinematic no matter the format."

All the Light We Cannot See will premiere on Netflix on Thursday 2nd November 2023. Sign up for Netflix from £4.99 a month. Netflix is also available on Sky Glass and Virgin Media Stream.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr is available to buy now.

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