Best Paris Films
Movies to bring you back to the City of Light
By Caitlin Rodgers / Created 2012-05-01
As one of the most filmed cities in the world, Paris can be quite the scene-stealer if she wants to be. In honor of her siren screen calls, below are a few of the many films that have the ability to transport us Seine-side with just the press of the play button; some capture her glory days, others present realities, but all pay homage to a city that is simply like no other. Enjoy!
Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen, 2011
Gil Pender is a man longing for the past: Paris in the 1920s to be exact. A writer visiting the city with his fiancée, he finds more creative inspiration than ever expected when a night’s walk takes a historic turn. While the entire film is a song to the city, its opening montage of cityscape alone will have you one foot out the door headed for Charles de Gaulle.
À bout de souffle (Breathless), Jean-Luc Godard, 1960
La Nouvelle Vague - no Paris film list would be complete without it. This Jean-Luc Godard classic catches everyday Paris in dramatic black and white as Patricia and Michel’s love affair unspools in front of viewers’ eyes.
Funny Face, Stanley Donen, 1957
Film legends Fred Astaire and Audrey Hepburn sing and dance through Paris, showing how much (and surprisingly how little) the city has changed since the movie was filmed five and a half decades ago. Bonjour, Paris!
An American in Paris, Vincente Minnelli, 1951
It’s the classic tale of Americans struggling to find their way in Paris performed by a few of the greats. Screen legends who tell the old story so well, Gene Kelly and Oscar Levant set their sights on a lovely, young Leslie Caron. Together, the three danced and sang the film all the way to the 1951 Oscars, winning six of the major categories including best film and best director.
Amélie (Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain), Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 2001
Amélie is the story of one woman’s fantastical view of the world. Like falling down the rabbit’s hole, Montmartre never again looks quite the same after seeing it through her eyes.
Paris, Je t’aime, 2006
Consider this compilation of short films twenty love letters to Paris. Each featuring a different arrondisement, the film assembled heavy-hitters of both Hollywood and French cinema to pay tribute to Paris’ many sides and side streets.
Ratatouille, Brad Bird and Jan Pinkara, 2007
The unlikely teamwork of Remy the rat and Skinner the sous chef swings the door of Paris haute cuisine open in this animated film by Disney. The movie not only highlights Paris, but celebrates one of its greatest loves and ways of life: food.
The Last Time I Saw Paris, Richard Brooks, 1954
With the feel of an epic romance, The Last Time I Saw Paris is loosely based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story “Babylon Lost.” Set in post-war Paris and starring Elizabeth Taylor and Van Johnson, it’s a story of love lost and found as a man returns to the city to remember his past and hopefully reclaim his future.
C’était un rendez-vous, Claude Lelouch, 1976
This epic eight minute film was shot in a single take in the early morning hours of Paris. The drive, beginning in a tunnel of the Paris Périphérique, launches viewers across the Right Bank as the driver races to a meeting at Sacre Coeur. How many famous landmarks and sites can you spot from start to finish?
Someone Like You, Adele, 2011
The music video for Adele’s chart-topping hit, “Someone Like You,” shows the chanteuse heart-broken and Seine-side to lament lost love in classic black in white.