10 Movies Set In France

On the set of To Catch a Thief
Corbis via Getty Images / Getty Images

Travel to France virtually with these 10 great movies set in locations from Paris to the French Riviera. They span the years and include some real classics. 

  • 01 of 10

    Bonjour Tristesse 1954

    Jean Seberg In 'Bonjour Tristesse'
    Archive Photos / Getty Images

    The young French filmmaker, Jean-Luc Godard, was inspired by this film from a novel written by a very young of Françoise Sagan (she was 18 years old), and cast Jean Seberg, the main character as the American girl in Paris in his debut film A bout de soufflé (Out of Breath, 1960). Directed by Otto Preminger, it’s the story of the spoilt teenager Cecile (Jean Seberg) whose decadent life is threatened when her father (David Niven) introduced his new lover (Deborah Kerr), a straitlaced, disapproving woman, into the household. It’s beautifully filmed and shows off the locations – the​​ Côte d’Azur along the Mediterranean, and Saint Tropez, perfectly.  

  • 02 of 10

    Directed by Billy Wilder, the original starred Audrey Hepburn, William Holden, and Humphrey Bogart. They might not spend much time actually in Paris, but there is so much talk about the city that it still gives the feel of the capital (there’s even a scene with Hepburn in a cooking class at Le Cordon Bleu cooking school). The remake in 1995 starred Harrison Ford and Julia Ormond and was directed by Sidney Pollack.

  • 03 of 10

    Love in the Afternoon, 1957

    Paris Gare de Lyon
    Courtesy of Paris Tourist Office/Barthelemy Ruggeri

    This romantic comedy, produced and directed by Billy Wilder is much on the mind of UK TV watchers; there’s an ad for Galaxy chocolate in which a young Audrey Hepburn look-alike spots a handsome young man driving a car. And the background music? Moon River which is featured in the film.

    The original stars Audrey Hepburn and Gary Cooper as well as Maurice Chevalier. The plot is slightly different from the ad, concerning a middle-aged playboy (Gary Cooper), a private detective (Maurice Chevalier) and his daughter (Audrey Hepburn).

    It was filmed in Paris at the Opera National Palais Garnier; the Ritz Hotel; Rue Malebranche; Gare de Lyon, and Chateau de Bitry, Yvelines and Studios de Boulogne-Billancourt, Hautes-de-Seine.

  • 04 of 10

    The Longest Day, 1962

    Les Braves monument at Omaha Beach Normandy France
    Feifei Cui-Paoluzzo / Getty Images

    So this is very specific, a film depicting the events of the D-Day Landings in Normandy of World War II from both the American and German viewpoints from the book by Cornelius Ryan. But with a cast that includes Richard Burton, Sean Connery, Red Buttons, Henry Fonda, Robert Mitchum, Kenneth Moore and a whole lot more of the top actors, and depicting such an event, this has to be included.

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  • 05 of 10

    French Kiss, 1995

    Montmartre's Garden and Sacré-Coeur
    AG photographe / Getty Images

    French Kiss is a 1995 American romantic comedy film directed by Lawrence Kasdan and starring Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline. Written by Adam Brooks, the film is about a woman who flies to France to confront her straying fiancé and gets into trouble when the charming crook seated next to her uses her to smuggle a stolen diamond necklace. It’s a delight to watch as Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline travel through the beautiful French countryside from Paris to Cannes.

    French Kiss was filmed on location in Paris (George V Quatre Saisons; Louvre; American Embassy at 2 Ave Gabriel; Champs Élysées; Sacré Coeur, Montmartre; Grand Pharmacie de la Place Blanche; Palais de Chaillot; Places des Abbesses; Canadian Embassy, 35 Ave Montaigne; Rue Feutrier and rue Paul Albert; Rue des Rosiers; Eiffel Tower.) Also at Paris Studios Cinema, Billancourt, Hauts-de-Seine; La  Tour d’Aigues, Vaucluse; Meyrargues, Bouches-du-Rhone; Valbonne, Alpes-Maritimes and in Cannes.

  • 06 of 10

    To Catch a Thief, 1995

    To Catch A Thief
    John Kobal Foundation / Getty Images

    Alfred Hitchcock really went to town with this seductive film which starred Cary Grant as John Robie, a cat burglar who has retired from his profession but who fell for Francie (Grace Kelly), a socialite on the Riviera. But remember when you look at the two driving along the Grand Corniche between Nice and Monte Carlo that it was here that Grace Kelly died in 1982 after crashing her car.

    It was filmed on the French Riviera, in Monaco, the Hotel Carlton in Cannes, Tourrettes-sur-Loup, and Villefranche-sur-Mer.

  • 07 of 10

    An American Werewolf In Paris,1997

    Jim Morrison grave
    Jeff Keen/Creative Commons

    This sequel to the classic Werewolf in London sees a group of American tourists on a cultural trip around Paris. Andy (Tom Everett Scott) jumps after a mysterious beauty, Serafine (Julie Delpy) who is, in fact, a werewolf from the Eiffel Tower (which was used for the filming in a pretty dramatic way).

    It’s shot all over Paris, but the tomb of Jim Morrison in Père Lachaise Cemetery is not the real one. Never mind, go and see it; it’s pretty iconic.

  • 08 of 10

    The Man in the Iron Mask 1998

    Fontainebleau Gardens
    Sophie Lloyd

    A sumptuous set of locations for this Alexandre Dumas’ film depicting the devious King Louis XIV of France keeping his secret illegitimate twin brother imprisoned to safeguard his position. There was a real prisoner kept in the Bastille, in Italy and who ended his days on Sainte-Marguerite on the Isle de Lérins, just off Cannes in November 1703. It’s not one of the world’s great films but is great fun in the swashbuckling tradition of movie making. And the cast is great: Leonardo DiCaprio as Louis XIV; John Malkovich as Athos; Gerard Depardieu as Porthos and Jeremy Irons as Aramis. D’Artagnan is played by Gabriel Byrne.

    It’s filmed at the Chateau de Pierrefonds, Oise; Vaux-le-Vicomte; Seine-et-Marne; Fontainebleau, Seine-et-Marne; Chateau du Taureau, Morlaix, Brittany; La Ferte-Alais, Essonne; Le Mans, Sarthe and Lyon, Rhone-Alpes.

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  • 09 of 10

    The 2000 film Chocolat is based on a novel of the same name by Joanne Harris and it’s enchanting. Not as good as the book, but still a lovely watch. Once upon a time, there was a quiet little village in the French countryside, whose people believed in Tranquilité - Tranquility. It’s about Vianne Roche (Juliette Binoche) who opens La Chocolaterie Maya in a small fictional French village called Lansquenet-sous-Tannes with her six-year-old daughter Anouk. The love interest is provided by Johnny Depp playing a gypsy, Roux, and the cast includes the great Judy Dench and a wonderfully eccentric Alfred Molina. But chocolate is the real star of the film produced in the most seductive way ever.

    The location for the village was Flavigny-sur-Ozerain in Burgundy. Other locations included Noyers-sur-Serien, Yonne, Sarlat in the Dordogne, on the Rue De L'ancienne Poste in Beynac-et-Cazenac, Dordogne and at Thionville, Moselle.

  • 10 of 10

    Marie Antoinette, 2006

    Versailles on a Summer's Night
    Nathalie Baetens

    Written and directed by Sofia Coppola, this is a gorgeous film about the life of Queen Marie Antoinette (Kirsten Dunst) before the French Revolution. It stars Jason Schwartzman as Louis XVI and has an appearance by Marianne Faithfull as the Empress Maria Theresa.

    The stars have to share equal billing with the gorgeous palace of Versailles, and to a lesser extent with Fontainebleau, Seine-et-Marne; Paris; Opera National de Paris Palais Garnier; Chateau de Millemont, Yvelines; Chateau de Chantilly, Oise; Hotel du Soubise, Paris; Vaux-le-Vicomte, Seine-et-Marne.

    Edited by Mary Anne Evans