Before filming Playtime, Tati visited cities in Europe and America in an effort to understand the universal architectural tropes of the Modernists. He then attempted to film in real locations around Paris but it became apparent early on that it would impossible to to completely stop activities at Orly Airport to allow for set ups etc.and his experiments at various supermarkets, department stores and office blocks ended badly so he eventually decide to build his own city, Tativille, to allow completion of his movie.

Tativille was constructed on the plateau de Gravelle, an industrial site of around 15000 square meters. Constructed in collaboration with Eugene Roman, Tativille was an adventure in cardboard and scaffolding, with facades that were often only photographs and some of the sets mounted on rails to allow their use in different locations and shots, the project took over three years and was to lead to the financial ruin of Tati who mortgaged his house and signed away the rights to his earlier films in an effort to maintain the production. President Pompidou himself eventually intervened, organising a special credit line to allow completion
All images from NDLR