The Neighborhood of Bel Air
Bel Air is an affluent residential community in the hills, just east of Brentwood. Together with Beverly Hillsand Holmby Hills it forms the Platinum Triangle of Los Angeles neighborhoods.
The Bel Air west gate at Sunset and Bellagio
Residences in Bel Air tend to be private and hidden, by dense foliage and gates, from the winding roads of the community. Residences range from relatively modest ranch-style houses, to lavish mansions and magnificent estates. While some houses in Bel Air seem quite modest from the outside, often lying mere feet from the street, they still have large grounds. In general, the higher up the mountain, the smaller the building lots, and more modest the houses. However, those residences along roads such as Stradella Road and Linda Flora Drive provide panoramic views of the Los Angeles basin and Catalina Island. The most desirable houses are near the main entrances of the Bel Air Country Club, because they boast views of both the country club and much of Los Angeles. Lower Bel Air boasts many of the most expensive homes in the community, largely because of their proximity to Sunset Boulevard, a major thoroughfare.
Of several entrances, there are two main ones: the East Gate at Beverly Glen and Sunset Boulevards, and the West Gate at Bellagio Road and Sunset Boulevard, opposite an entrance to UCLA. Bel Air is generally subdivided into three distinct neighborhoods: East Gate Old Bel Air, West Gate Bel Air and Upper Bel Air.
The UCLA Hannah Carter Japanese Garden is located in Bel Air . It was inspired by the gardens of Kyoto. Many structures in the garden - the main gate, garden house, bridges, and shrine - were built in Japan and reassembled here. Antique stone carvings, water basins and lanterns, as well as the five-tiered pagoda, and key symbolic rocks are also from Japan. Several hundred tons of local stones came from the quarries in Ventura County and the foot of Mt. Baldy, northeast of Los Angeles.
Television and film
Television shows and movies have been filmed in Bel Air, or are said to take place in the community. Exterior shots for the Beverly Hillbillies were shot in and around the 1938 French neoclassical-style mansion at 750 Bel Air Road, built by Lynn Atkinson (and later sold to hotelier Arnold Kirkeby after Atkinson's wife refused to move into a house she thought too ostentatious.) After the exterior shooting was completed, the residents of that address forbade any more filming, as passers-by would wander onto the property and ask to see 'Granny'. Exterior scenes from movies such as Get Shorty have also been filmed in the area. Several television films of The Rockford Files were filmed in Bel Air. The television sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel Air was set in the neighborhood although the exterior shots used were filmed in nearby Brentwood. The Bel Air Film Festival, first held in 2008, is an annual international film festival held in Bel Air and the Los Angeles area.
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