Summary: Here are 5 movies set in France - most are set in Paris - but one is not. They are modern and classic - enjoy them all and explore where they were filmed - if you're lucky enough to be an expat in France!
Expats in France live a life that people all over the world dream about for years... and most will never find their way into the expatriate experience in France.
Any cinephile knows that France's history of filmmaking is broad and deep, and it runs straight back to Even films that show some of the challenges and travails of life abroad can make one desperately want to take the plunge and move there.
With all of that in mind, here are 5 films shot in France that will make you fall in love with the country all over again. Some involve expats living in France, but not all. Let us know what you think in the comments below!
"Julie & Julia" is wonderful for so many reasons. This 2009 movie is an exploration of Julia Child's journey to publishing her ground-breaking cookbook "Mastering the Art of French Cooking," and a blogger that tries to cook every recipe in it over the course of a year. It is light-hearted and a celebration of the expatriate experience... and more. The French culture, Paris, the glories of French cuisine and how it's prepared are all front and center. What's more though, the movie is actually great at capturing the difficulties of living abroad. Julia Child moves to Post-War France as a trailing spouse. Her husband Paul was a U.S. diplomat with the U.S. State Department. Everything from language issues, struggling with finding something to do as a trailing spouse, and anxiety over the location of their next expat assignment are some of the issues explored.
Perhaps more than anything else, expats that dreamed (or are dreaming) of a life abroad will easily connect with Julia Child's tireless pursuit of her dream - to publish a French cookbook for "Serventless American Cooks."
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"Amelie" is a film about happiness, and is, in a unique way, a love letter to Paris. A girl overcomes a sad and tragic childhood, and then decides to strike out on her life's mission: to make other people happy. Along the way, we are taken on a journey as Amelile also finds her own. What's even better, "Amelie" is set and filmed in Paris, with many memorable scenes in Montmartre.
Alfred Hitchcock's romantic thriller "To Catch a Thief" has to be included on this list. Starring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly, it is set in Cannes and other areas on the Cote d'Azur (French Riviera). While many consider it a lightweight Hitchcock film, it was an iconic departure from his film that preceded it... "Rear Window." Imagine going from a one room apartment on a studio set to the grand vistas of the French Riviera! Regardless of what some detractors say - many of whom take great pride in bashing Hitchcock whenever they can - "To Catch a Thief" stands the test of time. Not long after the filming, Grace Kelly met the Prince of Monaco, and before long became Princess Grace.
"Charade" also boasts Cary Grant as a lead, this time with Audrey Hepburn in a Mystery/Romantic Comedy that takes place in Paris. In addition to the sites in Paris, an all-star cast that also includes Walter Matthau, James Coburn, and George Kennedy makes this a must see. Expats in Paris will enjoy tracing the steps of the cast as their own expat adventure unfolds.
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The middle chapter in a film trilogy started in 1995, "Before Sunset" is about a couple that first spent a day together in Vienna, and now spend a day together in Paris when the man (Ethan Hawke) comes through the City of Lights on a book tour and encounters the woman (Julie Delpy). Hopeless romantics love it for the relationship storyline, but the filmmaking and dialogue also star, as does Paris and the various locations in the film.
These are just a few of the movies set in France. If you're not yet living there... these movies are bound to motivate you to start looking for tips for living in France. We haven't even scratched the surface... there's brilliant work by Jean Renoir, Jean-Luc Godard, and Francois Truffaut, among many others, that must be explored. We're just getting the conversation started and hope you'll share some of your favorites in the comments below!
Expats in France love to explore all of the wonderful destinations throughout the country, but it's expensive. Lyon-based blogger Aga Marchewka offers some great tips on how to soften the blow as you enjoy the sites and sounds of France!