Get your French fix by traveling virtually. Here are our top picks for film and TV shows set in Paris that you can stream from home.
In this fun-loving romantic comedy by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, a film set entirely in Paris, a lonely waitress makes it her mission to bring happiness to others through small kindnesses. Nominated for five Academy Awards and winner of Best Film in the European Film Awards, Amélie will delight you as she wanders the cobblestone streets of Montmartre, waits tables at a real-life bistro on the famous rue Lepic, and finds joy in the small things in life. In the US: HBO/Amazon.
Audrey Tatou plays the quirky Amélie in this international hit.
Funny Face, 1957
In this musical romantic comedy by Stanley Donen, a shy and nerdy shop assistant played by the graceful Audrey Hepburn is accidentally discovered by a fashion photographer (Fred Astaire). The pair make their way to Paris to shoot, sing and dance at many of the city’s famous landmarks. Set to a lilting musical score by the Gerschwin brothers, we challenge you not to get itchy feet for the City of Light after watching this delightful film. Hepburn made at least a half a dozen movies set in Paris, but this is hands-down our favorite. In the US: Free with AmazonPrime.
Audrey Hepburn at the Louvre, on a staircase we know well!
Midnight in Paris, 2011
The French famously love Woody Allen, and he pays tribute to their capital city in this fantasy comedy-drama about an American screenwriter (Owen Wilson) who is magically transported to the Belle Époque every night after midnight. There he meets the likes of Pablo Picasso, Gertrude Stein, Salvador Dali and Toulouse Lautrec, among others. Paris is indeed a place where anyone, not just creatively unfilled screenwriters can find both inspiration and love. In the US: Free with AmazonPrime.
Woody Allen reveals how the past and present are connected in Paris.
Call My Agent!, 2015
This French television comedy-drama series was originally launched in 2015 but is now an international hit. You will fall for this high-strung, dysfunctional, but endearing crew of talent agents as they gallivant around Paris trying to manage the careers of celebrities (playing themselves) and vie for influence. In the process, they wreak havoc with their shenanigans as their personal and professional lives clash. The fourth (and, alas, last) season is currently in the making. In the US: Netflix.
The cast of Call My Agent!, (Dix pour cent in France)
Le Ballon Rouge, 1956
If you have 34 minutes to spare, this fantasy comedy-drama by Albert Lamorisse – the only short ever to win an Oscar – is well worth your time. Follow the protagonist, a young boy named Pascal, through the Menilmontant neighbourhood of Paris as he forges an unusual friendship with a surprising character: a helium-filled red ballon with a mind of its own. No need to read subtitles, as there is very little dialogue. After all, innocence and the joys of childhood speak for themselves, n’est-ce pas? In the US: Rent from AmazonPrime.
A boy and his balloon wander through Menilmontant.
Le Bureau, 2015
Based on real accounts by French spies working for the DGSE (the equivalent of the CIA), this series follows the life of an under-cover agent (Matthieu Kassovitz) who has just returned to Paris from a long-term mission in Syria. It’s a complex political thriller with love at its center. The agent risks his life, career, and country for a Syrian woman he loved under his false alias. Like the American series Homeland, it’s inspired by contemporary events in the Middle East, which makes the stories it tells about power, politics, and betrayal absolutely relevant. Some say it’s one of the best French TV shows ever made. One of the most addictive, that’s for sure. In the US: Rent from AmazonPrime.