The 14 best films set in Paris

The authors of How To Be Parisian reveal the best films set in Paris, to make you feel Parisian wherever you are.


2 Days in Paris
If you have any doubts that French women talk only about sex (even with their parents) and wander through the capital on the verge of breaking up with an American boyfriend, consider 2 Days in Paris, written, directed by and starring Julie Delpy. Yes, Parisian women are all totally crazy. (But to that extent, really?)

Love Songs
Here’s one that retraces the follies of young love today. Brace yourself. Impossible not to drool when confronted by handsome Louis Garrel in Love Songs, directed by Christophe Honoré.

The Regular Lovers
Lose yourself in a black-and-white Paris during the aftermath of May 1968, when the main topic, after politics, was of course love. Its ups and downs, its crises, its joys. A couple makes up and breaks up in The Regular Lovers, directed by Philippe Garrel.

Read My Lips
You’re in love with a co-worker – but not any old co-worker. Not only is he your intern, he’s just been released from prison. It seems that in Paris, any love is possible: Read My Lips, directed by Jacques Audiard.

Good Old Daze
To follow the life of a group of high school kids for a period of about fifteen years, and experience the fights, the backstabbing, the drugs, and the end of the idealistic seventies, go back to the Good Old Daze, directed by Cédric Klapisch. Because we’ve also all once been in love with our language assistant…

La Discrète
Keep track of the meanderings of a writer – a womanizer and a schmoozer – who decides to turn his life into a novel. In the smoky cafés of Paris, he chooses his prey, the young woman of the title, La Discrète, directed by Christian Vincent. Delight in the exposé of pure literary and cinematic perversity.

Love Without Pity
You’ll fall in love with these two brothers – wonderful losers, fast-talkers and revellers – who are the prototype of the Parisian male: irresistible and elusive. Yes, we live in the world of Love Without Pity, by Eric Rochant.

The Last Metro
Obviously the most Parisienne of all French actresses is Catherine Deneuve. If you want to discover a dark chapter in Paris’s history, the German Occupation during World War II, don’t miss The Last Metro, directed by François Truffaut.

An American In Paris
You’ll lose count of how many times you see Vincente Minnelli’s An American in Paris if you love musicals.

An Elephant Can be Extremely Deceptive
To laugh affectionately at l’esprit français in all its glory, with men who love women who love men who cheat on their women, and if you also want to discover the Place de la Concorde and Paris’ 16th arrondissement in the 1960s, watch An Elephant Can be Extremely Deceptive, directed by Ives Robert.

César and Rosalie
If you are torn between your husband and your lover, do as Romy Schneider does and make them become friends. César and Rosalie, directed by Claude Sautet, provides a French take on the idea of ménage à trois.

Who does Jean Seberg fall in love with while selling her Herald Tribunes on the Champs-Élysées? To find out, sit yourself in front of Breathless, by Jean-Luc Godard. It also happens to be the greatest film of the famous New Wave.

Elevator to the Gallows
If you sometimes imagine yourself walking alone in the streets of Paris in a perfectly tailored suit; if you love the city at night, its glowing pavements and yellow streetlights; if you tremble listening to the sounds of Miles Davis; if you have a lover who just did something really stupid: you are Jeanne Moreau, directed by Louis Malle in Elevator to the Gallows.

Hôtel du Nord
You want to experience the infamous Paris of the 1930s: let yourself be guided along the twists and turns of the Canal Saint-Martin and watch Hôtel du Nord, directed by Marcel Carné. Prepare your tissues for this black-and-white classic. 

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