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10 Best Movies About Paris To Watch Before Visiting

Paris. The ‘City of Light’. If you’re planning to travel there these are 10 movies about Paris I recommend watching before going.

Or at least watch 1 or 2 to get to understand the city culture better. If you’re not travelling to Paris but have an interest in the city, these will give you a good insight.

These movies about Paris cover many different film genres, from some old classics to the new. My favourite movie I have left until last on the list.

I’m writing this now as I’ve been re-watching a lot of these movies again after some time, and as France is one of my fave places, especially Paris where all these movies are set in, want to share them with you.

Some Paris travel inspiration!

Amelie (2001)

I’ll start with most people’s favourite movie set in Paris, Amelie. I say most people as when I ask people what’s their favourite movies about Paris, it always seems to be Amelie occupying the top spot.

It is a very sweet movie, weird, and very funny.

It follows the life of Amelie, a young waitress in a cafe in the Montmartre area of Paris, a very artistic kind of neighbourhood.

She’s a bit of an introvert and decides to go about making other people’s lives happier, with very funny consequences along the way.

But does she find her own happiness as well? Watch the movie to find out!

Also, the cafe she works at in the film is a real cafe that you can visit there, although I can’t say if the food and coffee is good or not as I didn’t go there when I was in Paris. The Amelie cafe in Paris is the Café des Deux Moulins and is in the Montmartre area at 15 Rue Lepic, 75018.

Café des Deux Moulins Paris
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Inside the Amelie cafe in Paris.

Watch Amelie on Amazon.

Ratatouille (2007)

This is an animated movie so you won’t get ‘real-life Paris’ but it’s such a fun movie to watch. It’s especially great if you have children as they will surely love it, but as an adult, it was worth it for sure. We loved it!

It’s about a rat who loves cooking (bear with me) and arrives in Paris not knowing what to do until he ends up at a famous restaurant there and unwittingly to start with helps a young man in the kitchen who is a useless cook.

But the rat is a great cook and with him showing the young man how to cook the food soon becomes a big hit. I’ll avoid the spoilers of what happens.

Watch Ratatouille on Amazon.

Les Miserables

Les Miserables is set during the French Revolution and is a classic stage musical, although the movie that I liked has nothing musical in it, just the hard life of a convict who tries to start his life anew and to do good, but is constantly hounded and chased by a police detective intent on ‘bringing him back to justice’.

A look at Paris during the French revolution so is great to get some history about Paris during that time to understand the history of the city better and also has a very good humanitarian story to it.

Essential watching for those interested in history.

There has been many versions of Les Miserables put into movie. I recommend the one from 1998 with Liam Neeson and the 2012 one.

Watch Les Miserables (2012) on Amazon.

Watch Les Miserables (1998) on Amazon.

Hugo (2011)

Hugo is directed by Martin Scorsese so you know you’re in for a good movie. But this is no gangster movie that he normally does but a lighthearted story about 12-year-old Hugo, an orphaned boy in the 1930s Paris who lives in a train station.

Hugo’s most prized item is a mechanical man that his father, who had died, took from a museum. During the course of the movie Hugo tries to discover exactly what the mechanical man is and what its importance is.

That’s just a brief outline of what is a magical story that older children should enjoy, as well as parents.

Watch Hugo on Amazon.

Band of Outsiders (1964)

One of the classics of French New Wave cinema. 2 men enlist the help of a woman to help commit a heist after being inspired by their Hollywood antiheroes in film noir.

The 3 misfits have a lot of fun along the way, whether romping through the Louvre or dancing in cafes until the robbery comes along.

It’s a unique film from its time and has some great set pieces in Paris.

Get Band of Outsiders on Amazon.

Midnight in Paris (2011)

Midnight in Paris follows an American writer as he vacations in Paris with his fiancee but spends a lot of time exploring the city alone.

While on one of his lonely excursions he comes upon a group of characters who seemingly take him back in time to the age of jazz and amongst the literary and artists of times gone by.

Falling in love with the way of the past he becomes more and more unhappy with the present.

It’s a romantic comedy and has a great Paris vibe.

Watch Midnight in Paris on Amazon.

La Haine (1995)

La Haine translates into English as ‘hate’ and that symbolizes a lot of what this movie is. It’s about the lives of 3 youths living in a rundown housing project on the edges of Paris.

They are multi-raced boys and live in poverty and have a rage inside against the system that doesn’t help them.

When a youth from the project is tortured by police riots break out in Paris and during these moments the 3 young men find a gun lost by the police and then use it as leverage to get their friend released.

One of the best movies about Paris to get a glimpse into the other side of the city you won’t see in the travel guides.

Watch La Haine on Amazon.

The Da Vinci Code (2006)

A Hollywood one for the list and from a popular book. The movie isn’t as good as the book, in my opinion, as is often the case, but it’s still an interesting mystery thriller.

After a murder in the Louvre Museum mysteries are found in Leonardo Da Vinci’s paintings that unravel a 2000 year old secret that could… well I don’t want to give to many spoilers so I’ll stop here.

It’s a cool movie and it’s not all set in Paris so don’t expect non-stop Paris action. But it’s a fun fictional movie to watch.

Watch the Da Vinci Code on Amazon.

The 400 Blows (1959)

Again into the classic territory here with another French New Wave movie from the 1950s.

The 400 Blows follows a young adolescent boy who doesn’t get any attention and his rebellious attitude against his teachers and parents leads him to a life where he starts to descend into petty crime in Paris.

Eventually caught by the police he gets sent to a troubled youth centre near the sea where a psychologist delves into his reasons for his unhappiness.

A deep and emotional story of the 1950s and based on the directors own childhood.

A must see movie.

Watch the 400 Blows on Amazon.

Breathless (1960)

This is one of the best French movies period! And my personal favourite on this list out of a lot of good ones.

Breathless (À bout de souffle, in French) is about a petty criminal who impulsively kills a motorbike policeman on a country road after stealing a car.

Escaping into Paris, he meets with an American student who he has seen before and tries to get her to unwittingly go with him to Italy, using her apartment as cover in the meantime.

Beautiful Paris street scenes, crime and romance, many of the qualities movies about Paris should have!

Watch Breathless on Amazon.

Movies About Paris

There are so many movies about Paris but these are my favourite ones and there will be at least one that will be to your taste as well I’m sure.

When in Paris if you want to visit some of the old classic French cinemas there go and check out the Cinéma Le Balzac which is an old art-deco theatre. Another good one is Le Champo.

Enjoy the movies!

Enjoy Paris!

Have a read of my article where I recommend how to spend one perfect day in Paris.

If you liked this article about movies about Paris a share would be appreciated!

Movies about Paris
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