France is a fabulous travel destination that has plenty to offer for potential travelers. From elegant cities, nice beaches, and gorgeous mountain views to delicious food and advanced winemaking and drinking culture, in France, there’s something for everyone.
If you’re dreaming about your next vacation in Paris or simply want to know more about the French lifestyle, here are 15 great movies set in France that are worth your attention. Whether it’s a comedy or a drama, these films perfectly showcase France’s cities and landscape, local culture, cuisine, and of course – romance and passion that the French are famous for.
So sit back, relax, and enjoy a good story — with a glass of some French wine, maybe?
French movie “Paris” centers around Pierre (Romain Duris), a cabaret dancer with a heart condition waiting for a heart transplant. As Pierre is spending his days watching other peoples’ lives from his balcony, his sister Élise (Juliette Binochewith) with three kids decide to move in. Other parallel and intertwining storylines in the movie feature various people that Pierre and Élise meet in their daily lives: their neighbors, a baker, a local vegetable market vendor, etc. “Paris” is a sentimental movie with great actors and gorgeous Parisian views.
Paris, I Love You / Paris, Je T’Aime (2006)
One of the best movies about Paris, which is actually more like an art project, “Paris, Je T’Aime” tells 18 separate stories all set in different neighborhoods in Paris. Each of the stories is an independent film with its own directors, writers, cast, different filming and storytelling techniques — the only thing that connects them is the beautiful city. “Paris, Je T’Aime” is packed with famous actors such as Gerard Depardieu, Natalie Portman, Elijah Wood, and others. It is a must-see film for Paris-lovers and those who want to spend their next vacation in the French capital.
Paris Can Wait (2016)
“Paris Can Wait” is a great movie set in France full of breathtaking scenery, representation of the local cuisine, and romance. The story follows Anne (Diane Lane), a wife of a successful movie producer (Alec Baldwin) that unexpectedly ends up on a road trip from Cannes to Paris with her husband’s business associate Jacques (Arnaud Viard). Instead of driving her to Paris as promised, Jacques is taking Anne through the French countryside, stopping for gourmet dinners and romantic viewpoints, providing her with a new lust for life.
One Wild Moment / Un moment d’égarement (2015)
If you’re looking for a real passionate French drama, “One Wild Moment” should definitely be on your list. The film follows two divorced fathers, Antoine and Laurent (played by François Cluzet and Vincent Cassel), who spend their vacation in Corsica with their respective young daughters: seventeen-year-old Louna and eighteen-year-old Marie. One evening at the beach Louna seduces Laurent, and so the drama begins…
Back to Burgundy / Ce qui nous lie (2017)
Set in the picturesque Burgundy, “Back to Burgundy” is an emotional story of three siblings that reunite at their home after their father falls ill and eventually dies. Without having anyone to consult with, Jean, Juliette, and Jérémie have to take some serious decisions about their family’s vineyard and the upcoming harvest. A heartwarming drama about family struggles, “Back to Burgundy” is also a great movie for those who want to better understand the specifics of the French wine-making culture.
A Good Year (2006)
“A Good Year” is probably one of the best-known movies set in Provence. Directed by Ridley Scott, the film is based on Peter Mayle’s best-selling novel and tells the story of a London banker Max Skinner (Russel Crowe), who relocates to Provence to sell his uncle’s vineyard. After spending a few days in the French countryside, Max discovers the new laid-back lifestyle and meets a beautiful woman (Marion Cotillard) that makes him reevaluate his priorities. Set among the gorgeous lavender fields in Southern France, “A Good Year” is an easy rom-com perfect for a cozy evening at home.
Swimming Pool (2003)
Another movie set in Provence, “Swimming Pool” is an erotic thriller directed by the famous French director François Ozon. It follows Sarah Morton (Charlotte Rampling), a British crime novelist who decides to spend some time in her publisher’s country house in Southern France to overcome writer’s block. All seems to be going well until a young attractive woman (Ludivine Sagnier) claiming to be the publisher’s daughter shows up. Beautiful and charming filming locations of the French countryside set an interesting contrast to the film’s unexpectedly thrilling storyline.
Midnight in Paris (2011)
Directed by Woody Allen, “Midnight in Paris” is one of the most magical and romantic movies set in the French capital. It features Owen Wilson as a screenwriter and aspiring novelist named Gil who comes to Paris for a holiday with his frustrating fiancée Inez (Rachel McAdams). One evening, Gil finds himself walking alone through the empty streets when a vintage car pulls over, and Gil is transported back in time to the Paris of the Lost Generation. Here he meets many of his literary heroes and a charming lady Adriana (Marion Cotillard).
The Intouchables / Intouchables (2011)
A must-see for French cinema lovers, “The Intouchables” is a hilarious and heartwarming comedy based on a true tale of friendship. It centers around Philippe (Francois Cluset), a wealthy and quite isolated quadriplegic man living in Paris, and Driss (Omar Sy), his streetwise caregiver with a criminal record. As the two men from contrasting worlds become friends, Driss encourages Philippe to have a little more fun and adventures in life despite his disability.
Things to Come / L’Avenir (2016)
“Things to Come” is a French-German drama film starring Isabelle Huppert as Nathalie, a middle-aged philosophy professor whose life is going through some serious changes. After her husband announces he’s been having an affair, her mother dies, and her book-deal falls through, Nathalie suddenly finds the freedom that she never had in her life before. A warm and thoughtful film, “Things to Come” is mainly set in Paris, but it also features other beautiful French locations.
The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014)
One of the most mouthwatering movies set in France, “The Hundred-Foot Journey” is a dedication to the world-famous French cuisine and its culinary delights. An Indian family settles in a small French village where they decide to open a restaurant serving traditional Indian food. Just across the street, there’s another fancy Michelin-starred restaurant run by Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren), an expert in sensual French cooking. As the story unfolds, the initial competition and the clash of the two cultures slowly turn into cooperation and friendship.
Le Divorce (2003)
Comedy film “Le Divorce” centers around two American women and their experiences in the French capital. Roxy (Naomi Watts) is an ex-pat poet living in Paris with her French husband, who recently asked for a divorce after falling in love with his mistress. Isabel (Kate Hudson) is Roxy’s sister who came to Paris for a visit and started an affair with a married man. As you can guess, “Le Divorce” is a story of passion and love, full of magnificent views of Parisian architecture and some witty American humor.
Before Sunset (2004)
Nominated for an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, “Before Sunset” is the critically acclaimed sequel to the 1995 film “Before Sunrise”. Filmed entirely in Paris, the movie continues the story of an American man (Ethan Hawke) and a French woman (Julie Delpy) who shared a passionate night together in Vienna. “Before Sunset” shows the couple meeting again nine years later in the French capital and spending an afternoon together. If you’re looking for the most romantic movies set in Paris, this might be your best choice!
My Old Lady (2014)
Another sentimental movie filmed in Paris, “My Old Lady” follows a troubled New Yorker, Mathias (Kevin Kline), who goes to Paris to sell an apartment owned by his estranged father. Little does he know that the property still has residents: an old woman, Mathilde (Maggie Smith), who has a complicated history with Mathias’ father, and her daughter Chloé (Kristin Scott Thomas). Smart and funny, “My Old Lady” is a fulfilling comedy-drama with a great cast and some French romance.
C’est la vie! / Le sens de la fête (2017)
“C’est la vie!” is a witty French comedy about a hectic wedding party held in a sumptuous 17th-century French chateau. The wedding planner, Max, is trying to make everything perfect as he deals with his short-tempered assistant, unprofessional staff, an egocentric groom, a former admirer of the bride, a free-loading photographer, and other issues that just seem to never end. If you’re looking for an undemanding feel-good movie with some French charm and passion, “C’est la vie!” might just be it.