Musicals, mysteries, and a whole lot of Audrey Hepburn.
Paris has inspired every type of artist over the years, from Impressionist painters to literary giants. But the city perhaps shines the brightest on the big screen, serving as the backdrop to countless movies over the past century. Even before French directors like Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut launched a cinematic movement in the 1960s, Hollywood showcased the beauty of Paris in breezy musicals and romances. And since then, we’ve seen the city shine in animated films, white-knuckle thrillers, gritty biopics, and more. Regardless of the genre, one thing’s for sure: The City of Light sure knows how to steal a scene. From Amélie to Ratatouille, here are 35 movies that will transport you to Paris—no plane ticket required
When I think of Paris on film, I think of scenes from Amélie. The quirky 2001 romantic comedy follows the titular character, played by Audrey Tautou, as she flits around her hometown of Paris, observing strangers around her. Though she’s struggling with her own loneliness, she becomes fixated on improving the lives of others, often from afar and with no recognition. The feel-good film was supposedly filmed in over 80 locations throughout the city, so it alone is a whimsical trip through the City of Light. —Megan Spurrell, associate editor
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The genius of Jean-Luc Godard’s hard-boiled dystopian sci-fi flick from 1965 is that it uses the Paris of its day to create a world that feels utterly unlike the place we think of as Paris, then and now. Shooting at night, Godard used the glassy Modernist high-rises of La Défense and other then-new developments on the outskirts of the city to depict the cold, computer-run autocracy of Alphaville, a Brave New World sort of place into which a Humphrey Bogart-ish American detective (played by Eddie Constantine) must go to seek the people’s freedom. The marriage between noir and science fiction that Godard achieved here is one that numerous other filmmakers would seek to replicate, with Ridley Scott in Blade Runner being perhaps the greatest example. —Jesse Ashlock, U.S. editor
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