12 Impossibly Chic French Films That Will Cure Your Wanderlust
All the glamour coming out of the French Riviera this week has our wanderlust at peak levels, what with the showstopping red carpet moments and exciting premieres happening at the Cannes Film Festival. To keep ourselves in the spirit, we're curling up in a breton-stripe tee and settling in for a marathon of the best, most iconic movies set in France. Whether you're wishing you were in Cannes for all the festival fun or gearing up for your own trip to Paris, these films are sure to get you in the mood. Scroll through for 12 flicks that feature France as a main character.
Jean Seberg stars as an American student who unwittingly helps hide a criminal (Jean-Paul Belmondo) in her apartment. Breathless was written and directed by Jean-Luc Godard and is widely considered one of the earliest, most impactful French New Wave films.
Set in Montmartre (and with a fantastic soundtrack), this slightly surreal romantic comedy follows a shy, isolated waitress who sets out to better the lives of those around her.
Midnight in Paris (2011)
In Woody Allen's romantic comedy, Owen Wilson is an unfulfilled screenwriter who, while on vacation in Paris with his fiancée (Rachel McAdams) and her wealthy parents, travels back in time each night and parties with '20s-era fixtures like Cole Porter, Josephine Baker, and Ernest Hemingway.
Belle du Jour (1967)
The eternally gorgeous Catherine Deneuve stars as a housewife whose sex life just isn't cutting it. She becomes a prostitute, working during the day (hence the title) and soon finding herself involved with a young gangster.
Paris When It Sizzles (1964)
In this campy, highly underrated romantic comedy, Audrey Hepburn plays a secretary helping a playboy screenwriter (William Holden) complete a script under a tight deadline.
Paris, je t'aime (2006)
This impressive two-hour anthology consists of 18 short films set in different arrondissements of Paris. There's an ensemble cast of all nationalities, including big American names like Natalie Portman, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Steve Buscemi. Strap yourself in, because you'll feel all the emotions while getting glimpses into so many lives.
If you're a fan of musicals, you've likely seen Gigi. Directed by Vincente Minnelli (yes, Liza's father!), this romantic comedy follows a rich Parisian playboy (Maurice Chevalier) who falls for a precocious young girl. Gigi (Leslie Caron) is raised by her grandmother and great-aunt, who are both retired prostitutes trying to train Gigi to follow in their footsteps. Seriously, this is worth a watch if only to hear Chevalier sing "Thank Heaven For Little Girls."
A Woman Is a Woman (1961)
This sexy comedy-drama is a tale as old as time; an exotic dancer (Anna Karina) yearns to have a child, but her lover (Jean-Claude Brialy) is reluctant to be a parent, so he asks his best friend to impregnate her instead. Classic!
Before Sunset (2004)
The sequel to 1995's Before Sunrise takes place in Paris as an American (Ethan Hawke) and a Parisian (Julie Delpy) reunite after meeting some nine years prior. It takes place in real time and follows their romantic afternoon spent together before Hawke's character, Jesse, has to return to the States. Grab the tissues!
An American in Paris (1951)
You'll be dazzled by Gene Kelly's dance moves in this musical romance, which follows a painter struggling to find work; Jerry (Kelly) falls for Lise (Leslie Caron), a young French girl who is already engaged to a cabaret singer. The choreography is amazing, and you won't be able to get the songs — including "Our Love Is Here to Stay" — out of your head.
Paris Blues (1961)
The very hunky Sidney Poitier and Paul Newman star as expat jazz musicians who meet and fall in love with two American women (Joanne Woodward and Diahann Carroll) who are vacationing in Paris. The film is set in the vibrant, bohemian St. Germain quarter — and you get to see Newman shirtless.
Audrey Hepburn filmed plenty of films in Paris — including Funny Face and Love in the Afternoon — but in Charade, she plays a widow who begins hanging out with her late husband's war buddies, including the devastatingly handsome Cary Grant. It has a really cool Hitchcock feel and an insanely romantic final scene that takes place at the Palais Royal.