In Victor Hugo’s book, Montreuil-Sur-Mer is the hometown of tragic heroine Fantine and where Jean Valjean serves as mayor.
Meanwhile, since 1996 the town has capitalized on its connection with one of the world’s best known stories and musicals by putting on its own theater production every summer. For the 17th annual edition last year, the show included a fireworks display, an army of 450 actors and extras and original choreography.
Today, the fortified town is a living relic of the past, with picturesque streets that date back to the Middle Ages and have changed little from their original construction -- and Hugo’s setting.
The film is doing for the small French town what the "Twilight" series did for movie settings like Forks, Washington and Silver Falls State Park in Oregon, and what "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" have done for tourism in New Zealand -- attracting star-struck tourists.