When Bridesmaids director Paul Feig was writing his new film, Spy (starring Melissa McCarthy, out June 5), he initially planned for it to take place throughout Europe. Then he visited Budapest. He was so charmed that he rewrote the film to be based in the Hungarian capital, which he called home for six months during production. “It really is the Paris of Eastern Europe,” he says. “It’s just that insanely stunning.”
Home Sweet Hotel
“While I was there, I lived in the Four Seasons Gresham Palace. I felt like Eloise in the Plaza. It’s one of my favorite hotels ever, with fantastic service and a convenient location in District V. It was fun seeing who would pass through. I’d spot bodyguards and think Who’s that? Oh, just the president of Turkey. The building used to be an old insurance company and got beat up during World War II. I loved the bar downstairs, where you’ll find a piano player, an art nouveau design, and one of the best martinis I’ve ever had.”
Your Walking Tour
“I’m not into being naked in front of other people, so I skipped the famous healing baths. I took long walks to stay healthy instead. I’d start at the Gresham Palace, go over the Chain Bridge, and then crisscross over additional bridges along the Danube. From there, I’d hike up to Castle Hill (pictured)—there’s also a funicular—or walk down Andrássy Avenue, a popular shopping street, and end in Heroes’ Square, where you’ll find the big museums, public parks, and summer concerts.”
When He Wasn’t Working
“We worked French hours there, which—let me tell you—are awesome. Instead of a long lunch break, we’d get off in time to enjoy the city’s restaurants. One of my favorites was Costes, which serves modern Hungarian food with a touch of French influence. I also loved the Bordeaux-like Cuvée 5 from local winery Sauska. Their bottles come in grades: the lower the number, the higher the quality.”
Header photo by TrujilloPaumier.
This appeared in the May 2015 issue.