Top 15 Films to Inspire Your France Trip!
I recently posted an article about the “Top 15 Films Set in Italy,” & within just a few days ~ it had been viewed on Pinterest more than 7,000X!! Which made me realize: not everyone can travel to Italy this year, or perhaps even in coming years…but anyone can watch a movie inspired by Italy. So I decided to curate this collection of the “Top 15 Films to Inspire Your France Trip,” which is for people traveling to France soon ~ but also, for those who simply wish to visit France from the comfort of their own home…
Romantic French Films
1. Before Sunset ~ The sequel to “Before Sunrise,” where a young American (Ethan Hawke) & a beautiful Parisian (Julie Delpy) meet on a train, & depart for a night together in Vienna. “Before Sunset” picks up nine years later in Paris, where they run into each other again. The chemistry between the two leads is enough reason to watch ~ as is the beauty of Paris.
2. Chocolat ~ Two of the most sensual actors to ever grace the screen, Johnny Depp & Juliette Binoche, come together in a delightful film, set in a small town in the French countryside. Juliette’s character opens up a chocolate shop in town, creating confections that awaken the town’s desires! Then enter: Johnny Depp ; )
3. Ever After ~ A “Cinderella” adaptation with Drew Barrymore in the lead role (stripped of make-up, yet more beautiful than ever), this is a FANTASTIC movie!! Angelica Houston is her wicked stepmother (& perfectly cast), but this Cinderella defies typical stereotypes: she is intelligent & highly independent, even befriending Leonardo DaVinci in the process of winning her prince. A truly empowering film, also set in the gorgeous French countryside.
4. Sabrina, The Classic Version ~ There’s a new version of “Sabrina,” with Julia Ormond in the title role ~ but it’s the classic version I include here, with Audrey Hepburn as Sabrina, & Humphrey Bogart as one of the very wealthy Larrabee brothers. When Sabrina, the daughter of the family chauffeur, returns from Paris…she manages to capture the hearts of both brothers. Must watch!!
French Film Thrillers
5. Belle du Jour, featuring Catherine Deneueve ~ If you’ve never seen a French film: perhaps you should start here. Catherine Deneuve represents the height of French sex appeal (along with Brigitte Bardot), & in this film, she plays a young, married woman who decides to fill her afternoons by working as a prostitute. This is definitely not an American film! Surreal, erotic….it’s a movie that explores the darker side of Paris.
6. The Da Vinci Code, based on the book by Dan Brown ~ If you’re headed to Paris anytime soon, watch this movie: it will get you in the mood for a Parisian adventure! Starting out in the world-famous Louvre, professor & symbologist Robert Langdon takes us on a wild ride all over Paris, searching for clues to an ancient mystery. Based on one of the best-selling books of all time, the book is better ~ but the movie is still worth watching, with Tom Hanks in the lead role.
7. Swimming Pool ~ You may not have heard of this movie, but it features one of France’s best actresses: Charlotte Rampling. She plays the lead role as a murder-mystery author, working on her latest book in the South of France, when she encounters a very sexy young woman, becoming entangled in her life. Is what happens fiction, or real life?? You’ll have to find out…
8. To Catch a Thief, by Alfred Hitchcock ~ This is one of Alfred Hitchcock’s most lighthearted movies. It’s not about murder & mayhem ~ instead, it’s about a notorious cat thief (Cary Grant), who lives in a beautiful villa in the South of France, & is accused of a rash of new thefts. It also stars Grace Kelly, who later became the Princess of Monaco (near where they filmed). Watch for gorgeous South of France scenery, two classic actors, & one of the most famous directors in the world.
French Films with Strong Female Leads
9. Amelie ~ Prepare to fall in love with Audrey Tautou, the French actress who plays a painfully shy waitress in this delightful movie. And don’t be off-put by the subtitles! Take a leap, & settle back for a remarkably (& unusually) feel-good, French film. “Amelie” was nominated for five Academy Awards, including “Best Original Screenplay.”
10. La Vie en Rose ~ Speaking of Oscars, Marion Cotillard won the Academy Award for “Best Actress,” for her portrayal of famous French singer, Edith Piaf. Given that Lady Gaga just covered “La Vie en Rose” in Bradley Cooper’s recent film, “A Star is Born” ~ perhaps there’s no better time than now to revisit the life of Edith Piaf.
11) Marie Antoinette ~ Directed by Sofia Coppola, with a strong performance by Kirsten Dunst as Marie Antoinette, this movie takes you right into the sumptuous grounds of Versailles, & so many of the chateaus & castles that France is famous for. I recently watched it while in France’s Loire Valley, & love how it captured the feel of France through both decadent costumes & scenery.
Popular Films Set in France
12) The Devil Wears Prada ~ Who doesn’t love this film?! Most guys I know even like it, as its humor seems to transcend the “chick flick” category that so many films fall into ~ simply because women happen to be the main characters. Meryl Streep is DELICIOUS as the evil (but amazing) boss, & Anne Hathaway’s transformation from dork to chic is deliciously fun. The film is mainly shot in New York, but ends in Paris for “Fashion Week.”
13) French Kiss, with Meg Ryan ~ I’d forgotten all about this movie….& forgot how delightfully charming it is ~ with Meg Ryan at the height of her comedic ability, & Kevin Kline, who is the definition of funny. If you want a sweet, romantic comedy set in Paris: look no further.
14) Julie & Julia ~ I loved this movie! Amy Adams is a bored 9-5’er, looking for fulfillment outside of her job ~ & decides to follow in the footsteps of Julia Childs, by cooking 500+ new recipes in 365 days & blogging about it. The movie shows her life, as well as the life of Julia Childs (played perfectly by Meryl Streep), between both Paris & the U.S. A treat!
Top 15 Films to Inspire Your France Trip!
That rounds out my collection of the “Top 15 Films to Inspire Your France Trip!” What’s your favorite French film?? It’s quite impossible to pick from this list (because they’re all so good), but my favorites would have to be “Ever After” & “To Catch a Thief,” because I adore Hitchcock films. But “Belle du Jour” is now on my list!
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