Welcome to the Ch’tis: what impact did Dany Boon’s film have on the city of Bergues? …

In the wake of the immense success of “Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis” and its more than 20 million spectators, the small town of Bergues has seen tourists flocking in the tens of thousands. A big boost for the local economy.

Pathé Distribution

To say that Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis was a hit in theaters when it was released in 2008 is still far below the truth. With 20.48 million admissions, it is quite simply the greatest commercial success of French cinema. Only Titanic, with its 21.7 million, manages to exceed it at the French box office. An authentic cultural phenomenon therefore, in the long run, whatever one may think of the artistic qualities of the film.

It is through the eyes of Philippe Abrams (Kad Merad), director of the Post Office of Salon-de-Provence transferred to Bergues, that Dany Boon makes the whole of France discover his region of origin, the Nord-Pas de Calais. , renamed from Hauts-de-France. Prejudices and negative prejudices will soon give way to a slice of good humor, so communicative that it will convince nearly a third of the French population to rush into dark rooms.

Below, the movie trailer …

A huge boost to local tourism

The film was an absolute jackpot for Dany boon, who wore the caps of actor, producer, director, and screenwriter. But also for the Hauts-de-France region, in particular in the small town of Bergues, where it was filmed.

For what reason, moreover? An intimate and family story for Dany Boon, beyond the true quiet charm of this city of Flanders of 3637 souls: his great uncle, Adalbert Carrière, was the carillonneur of Bergues from 1934 to 1999. The famous belfry of the city, classified historical monument, was also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005.

In the wake of the film’s release, the bistros and restaurants of Bergues were taken by storm. The Maroilles producers’ union also assured that sales of cheese increased by 7 to 10% after the film was released, and those of Castelain brand beers by 30% compared to 2006. But the prize went to stamped products. “Ch’ti”, which grew by 239% between March 2007 and March 2008!

“Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis had a lot of positive effects on Bergues, especially in terms of tourism and the local economy” explained in 2017 Marc Bourel, vice-president of the Hauts-de-Flandres Tourist Office. “Before Dany Boon’s film, the Tourist Office recorded 9,000 requests (the postal code requested per family) per year, which corresponded to between 23 and 25,000 people entering the Office. Two years later, in 2010, we were at 35,000 requests or around 100,000 people! Today, the excitement is going down but the situation remains even better than before the shooting “.

A Ch’ti Tour for the road!

Some filming locations have become cult: the post office (which is in fact the former local of Gaz de France), the house of Mme Bailleul (where the famous breakfast scene in Maroilles was filmed in particular), the pee in the channel during the postman’s memorable tour, the belfry of course, which also welcomed more than 36,000 visitors shortly after the film’s release …

Not to mention a fan claim: see where the now famous chip shop is located At Momo! Owned by Jean-Paul Dambrine, she now travels across France for various occasions. “People know that Dany Boon ate here and they want the Momo chip shop in their garden, to celebrate a birthday, a day after the wedding” also told the person at the microphone of Franceinfo in January 2021.

Marc Bourel, from the Hauts-de-Flandres Tourist Office, and Jacques Martel, the town’s carillonneur, thus had the idea of ​​setting up a Ch’ti Tour, during which a tourist guide brings back the scenes of the filming of Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis. A guided walking tour that lasts 1.5 hours. You can find more information here.

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