The City of Light is always ready for her close-up. Musement takes a look at 13 of the best films set in Paris to satisfy your wanderlust.
If burying your nose in a book (or two) set in the City of Light isn’t satisfying enough, you can always get a Paris fix from your small screen. Here are 13 of the best films set in Paris you can watch while in quarantine.
1. Amélie, 2001
Audrey Tautou stars as the title character, a charmingly quirky introvert who decides to take it upon herself to improve the lives of other people for the better while inadvertently helping herself in the process.
2. Paris, je t’aime/ Paris, I Love You , 2006
This poignant compilation of short films from 18 acclaimed international directors depicts various forms of love, from romantic to friendly to familial to everything in between, in different arrondissements.
3. Before Sunset, 2004
Celine (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke) play a French man and an American woman who spend a night together in Vienna in Richard Linklater’s 1995 film Before Sunrise. Its sequel brings them together for a chance meeting in Paris nine years late, their afternoon together unfolding in real-time. If you can’t get enough of these two love birds, the 2013 installment is Before Midnight.
4. Two Days in Paris, 2004
Speaking of Julie Delpy, she wrote, produced, directed, and starred in Two Days in Paris. Marian (Delpy) and Jack (Adam Goldberg), a couple who spent two romantic weeks in Venice, catch the overnight train to Paris so she can visit her family and pick up her cat before returning to the U.S. The two days in her hometown prove to be the ultimate test to their relationship.
5. Le ballon rouge/The Red Balloon, 1956
Albert Lamorisse’s short (40-minute) film couples fantasy with equal parts comedy and drama, following a young boy who encounters a seemingly living red balloon on his way home from school one afternoon. Although considered an epic children’s film, it’s fun for all ages.
6. An American in Paris, 1951
George and Ira Gershwin’s vibrant musical is directed by Vincente Minelli and stars Gene Kelly as Jerry Mulligan, an American World War II veteran who has taken up ex-pat life in Paris. Here he falls for French shop girl Lise (Leslie Caron in her film debut). The film features I Got Rhythm, one of the most famous show tunes of all time.
7. Charade, 1963
Also appearing in our London and New York lists, Audrey Hepburn is no stranger to Paris. In this suspenseful whodunit, Hepburn plays Reggie Lampert who falls for Peter Joshua (Cary Grant), an American she meets while vacationing in the Alps. She returns to Paris to learn her husband (who she was planning to divorce) has been murdered and a cat and mouse game ensues.
8. Hugo, 2011
Martin Scorsese’s 3D animated feature was filmed partly in studios and partly in Paris, and tells the story of its namesake character, a 12-year-old orphan who lives at Gare Montparnasse train station. Here he oils and maintains the clocks, before embarking on a journey to solve a mystery tied to his late father.
9. Paris, 2008
Cédric Klapisch’s film features an ensemble of actors portraying a diverse group of people who reside in the French capital. The storyline spans several months, over which many of the characters cross paths, some of their lives even intertwining.
10. Ratatouille , 2007
This unforgettable Disney Pixar film tells the story of Remy, a rat who loves cooking and exercises his craft vicariously through his friendship with Linguini, a garbage boy at a prestigious restaurant. the two form a friendship and Remy helps the young boy’s career take flight.
11. Moulin Rouge!, 2001
Baz Lahrman’s extravagant love story unites Christian (Ewan McGregor), a young English man, with Satine (Nicole Kidman), a courtesan and performer at the titular Montmartre cabaret. Music, dancing, love, and intrigue—an all-around enlivening experience.
12. La Vie En Rose, 2007
Marion Cotillard stars as Edith Piaf in this biopic of the legendary French cabaret performer and actress. It’s also a nice way to time travel and immerses yourself in the vibes of the Paris of yesteryear while watching the career of one of its most captivating entertainers unfold.
13. Le Divorce, 2003
Based on Diane Johnson’s bestselling novel, Le Divorce portrays Roxy (Naomi Watts), a pregnant American whose husband is planning to leave her for another woman, and her younger sister Isabel (Kate Hudson), who visits her sister in Paris and winds up having an affair with a married man. Overall, the film and its all-star cast offer an entertaining look at the different cultural clashes against the exquisite backdrop of Paris.