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At the time of writing of TNG, La Barre, Haute-Saône, France was a tiny hamlet of scarcely 50 people.

Who selected this hamlet as Picard's birthplace? Did someone on the production staff originate from or visit this place? Was it randomly selected?

(Tangentially, if this info is available where do the shots of La Barre in "Family" originate? Are they real, stock photography, or from some other real-world location?)

  • Not a ST fan so ignore this if it's a stupid question but was his birthplace known from the beginning of TNG or introduced later on? If later on had La Barre increased in size? – TheLethalCarrot Mar 7 at 17:27
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    Pin in a map, probably. That's assuming they even knew it was a real place – Valorum Mar 7 at 17:38
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    Several places called La Barre exist in France. Some materials created for the Picard family album implied that Chateau Picard was a Bordeaux wine and in fact certified as coming from the Bordeaux region. - Memory Alpha. – Valorum Mar 7 at 17:40
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    @Valorum: I don't find it believable that someone would invent this name for a place without knowing or chceking that it exists. And the wikipedia page I linked references that this La Barre is the birthplace of Picard citing Okuda's Star Trek Encyclopedia as the source. – ThePopMachine Mar 7 at 18:59
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    @ThePopMachine - Like I said, pin in a map. – Valorum Mar 7 at 20:38
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As to the main part of the question, I was unable to find discussions on how the choice was made, so I suspect the choice was mostly random, based on the story requirements, for instance, it had to be some place in France where there might be vineyards.

As to the second part of your question, La Barre, France was made of sets and matte paintings. From https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Matte_painting

Two matte paintings were made for the fourth season. The first was a backdrop for La Barre, France in "Family".

The matte painting can be seen here, with futuristic buildings in the distance. The foreground appears to be an actual set.

Future La Barre, France

  • This matte was the work of Illusion Arts, and more specifically Syd Dutton. If anybody is so inclined, they could ask him if this was based on a real place or not. He is on Linkedin. Really. – user118610 Sep 25 at 0:15
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It may be a pure coincidence, but TNG: Family director Les Landau grew up in the town of Wilkes-Barre before his family moved to New York. The Landau family maintained close ties with the town and regularly hosted benefits and charity events in support of worthy causes well into the 1980 and 1990s when the show was being written and broadcast.

It's not a great leap of the imagination to go from Wilkes-Barre to La Barre


That being said, I remain reasonably sure that since the script so consistently refers to it as Labarre (all one word) and since no such place actually exists in France, that the town was a completely fictional creation of the show's primary writer, Ronald D. Moore and that the eventual transition from Labarre, France to La Barre, France is a case of the tail wagging the dog, with fans (and eventually writers) placing the town in Northern France due to the location filming and prop wine bottles.

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    Although since TNG was pre-Google and Google maps it’s not like checking if it really was a small village in France was a trivial task... – Jon Custer Sep 25 at 0:21
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It seems very likely that LaBarre is not in the old region of Picardy. The name Picard means a native of Picardy and was probably given to an ancestor who moved from Picardy to someplace else. So it would not make much sense for a family in Picardy to use the surname Picard to distinguish itself from other families in their village in Picardy.

In the last scene in "Family" Rene Picard is outside at night when a meteor streaks across the sky. The constellation Orion can be see above the horizon. Thus it seems probably that "Family" happens in winter, that Orion appears over the southern horizon, and that La Barre is far enough south for Orion to be that far above the horizon. It is possible that La Barre is in Corsica or in land reclaimed from the Mediterranean sea floor in future times.

Is La Barre in Haut-Saone at 47°24′20″N 6°10′50″E far enough south for Orion to be that high in the sky? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Barre,_Haute-Sa%C3%B4ne1

If not, are there any other present day La Barres far enough south, or must we assume that Picard's La Barre was founded sometime in the future?

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