13 Great Movies Set In Paris And How To Watch Them

Vincent Cassel, Saïd Taghmaoui, and Hubert Koundé in La Haine
(Image credit: Canal+)

Many filmmakers find inspiration in the beauty, romance, and sophistication of Paris. It’s a city where anything can happen, and that’s why it has been the backdrop for many of your favorite movies, from Moulin Rouge to Amélie. Movies that take place in Paris have a style and intrigue that excites moviegoers. Like the city itself, these films represent different voices, lifestyles, and adventures. Luckily, several Paris-set movies are available streaming, to rent, or to buy on various video-on-demand platforms, such as Amazon and Netflix. 

There are many of these fantastic movies available, so it was difficult narrowing it down to only 13. However, I attempted to select a collection of movies from various genres and decades. Let’s take a look at some of the great movies set in Paris!

Audrey Tautou in Amelie

(Image credit: Canal+)

Amélie (2001)

Amélie is an enchanting romantic comedy about a young woman with an active imagination and thirst for romance and adventure. Jean-Pierre Jeunet directed Amélie. It stars Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz, Andre Dussollier, and Rufus.

Amélie is a film that beautifully reminds viewers how whimsical and magical life and love can be when you allow yourself to dream, believe, and treat life like a wonder to discover instead of a burden to endure. Amélie is the spirited heroine of rom-com dreams, and this is one of the best romantic comedies of all time. Unfortunately, as of December 2021, Amélie is one of those rare international hits that is not available to stream in the USA, but you can buy the DVD or Blu-Ray. 

Buy Amélie on DVD/Blu-Ray on Amazon.

Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy in Before Sunset

(Image credit: Warner Independent Pictures)

Before Sunset (2004)

Before Sunset is Richard Linklater’s 2004 follow-up to his critically acclaimed Before Sunrise. It’s the second film in the Before trilogy. The film takes place nine-years after Celine (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke)’s initial adventure in Vienna, and answers the big question of whether they met up six months after the events of Before Sunrise. 

Before Sunset has all the elements that made the first movie so intoxicating, but this time, it is set in Celine’s home country of France. The audience once again watches Celine and Jesse get to know each other, and fall in love all over again. 

Stream Before Sunset on Showtime.
Rent/Buy Before Sunset on Amazon.
Buy Before Sunset on DVD/Blu-Ray on Amazon.

Vincent Cassel, Hubert Kounde, and Saïd Taghmaoui in La Haine

(Image credit: Canal+)

La Haine (1995)

La Haine follows three best friends from a poor area in Paris. The film main’s focus is on one day in these friends’ lives, as they deal with the growing conflict between the police and the youth in their area, and stars Vincent Cassel, Hubert Koundé, and Saïd Taghmaoui.

La Haine captures the audience from the very first frame and manages to keep hold until the final scene. Americans watching this film may be reminded of how human pain and struggles transcend locations. Issues like senseless violence and poverty are universal. La Haine is simply a really good film with superb acting and storytelling. 

Rent/buy La Haine on Amazon.
Buy La Haine on DVD/Blu-Ray on Amazon.

Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor in Moulin Rouge.

(Image credit: 20th Century Fox)

Moulin Rouge (2001)

Moulin Rouge! Is Baz Luhrmann’s musical that uses modern pop songs to tell the story of Satine (Nicole Kidman) and Christian (Ewan McGregor), two star-crossed lovers destined for each other but burdened by time and ambition. 

Moulin Rouge! is one of the best musical films of the last 20 years because it takes the timeless idea of doomed lovers and makes it feel refreshing, unique, and fun. It also has plenty of unforgettable musical moments, such as the performances of “El Tango de Roxanne,” “Come What May,” and “Elephant Love Medley.

Stream Moulin Rouge! on Amazon Prime.
Rent/buy Moulin Rouge! on Amazon.
Buy Moulin Rouge! on DVD/Blu-Ray on Amazon.

Helene Chatelain in La Jetee

(Image credit: Argos Films)

La Jetee (1962)

La Jetee is a short film by Chris Marker that tells the story of a post-apocalyptic Paris, set after World War III. A man is taken by scientists and used as a test subject for time travel experiments, with Helene Chatelain and Davos Hanich starring. 

La Jetee is a film mainly told through still images. The film is the favorite of many because it’s such a complex story told in such a simple, yet magnifying way. La Jetee inspired the time travel film 12 Monkeys. It is one of those films that you discover new elements to explore, analyze, and be impressed about with every rewatch. 

Rent/buy La Jetee on Amazon.
Buy La Jetee on DVD/Blu-Ray on Amazon.

Meryl Streep in Julie & Julia

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing)

Julie & Julia (2009)

In Julie & Julia, Nora Ephron chronicles the life of Julia Child (Meryl Streep) as she lives in Paris in the 1950s with her husband, Paul (Stanley Tucci). Child’s life and cooking becomes an inspiration for food blogger Julie Powell (Amy Adams).

Julie & Julia is a delightful film that not only celebrates the icon that is Julia Child, but it honors the spirit of bravery, especially when it comes to committing to learning, growing, and taking a different life path: one that brings joy. 

Stream Julie & Julia on Starz.
Rent/buy Julie & Julia on Amazon.
Buy Julie & Julia on DVD/Blu-Ray on Amazon.

Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn in Charade.

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Charade (1963)

Charade is a romantic comedy/mystery that stars Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn. Reggie (Audrey Hepburn)’s husband is murdered, and now she must find the money he stole and discover who killed him before she’s next. “Brian" (Cary Grant) is the mysterious man who enters her life right before her husband’s death.

Charade is a quirky romantic comedy that’s quite charming and funny, and has great banter and wit. Grant and Hepburn have great chemistry together as both partners in solving a crime and potential romantic partners.

Stream Charade on Amazon Prime.
Rent/buy Charade on Amazon.
Buy Charade on DVD/Blu-Ray on Amazon.

Remy and Linguini in Ratatouille

(Image credit: Pixar)

Ratatouille (2007)

Ratatouille is a Pixar film directed and written by Brad Bird. It follows Remy (Patton Oswalt), a rat with an appreciation for food and a strong sense of smell. With the help of a human garbage boy, Alfredo Linguini (Lou Romano), he ends up turning his love of food into a cooking career. 

Ratatouille is one of Pixar’s best films because you can’t help but root for Remy, despite knowing how unappetizing it would be in real life if a rat cooked your meals. That’s the power of great storytelling and animation; it makes you believe in the unbelievable. 

Stream Ratatouille on Disney+.
Rent/buy Ratatouille on Amazon.
Buy Ratatouille on DVD/Blu-Ray on Amazon.

Pascal Lamorisse in The Red Balloon

(Image credit: Lopert Pictures)

The Red Balloon (1956)

The Red Balloon is a 35 minute short film about a boy (Pascal Lamorisse) and a balloon that seems to have a mind of its own. The Red Balloon has some dialogue but is mostly a silent film that allows the viewers to walk along with the boy and his balloon.

The Red Balloon is a simple concept with multiple layers of depth and meaning. It not only tells this fascinating story, but it also gives an engrossing portrayal of the life in Paris for this child, with daily routines, practices, etc. 

Stream The Red Balloon on HBO Max.
Rent/Buy The Red Balloon on Amazon.
Buy The Red Balloon on DVD/Blu-Ray on Amazon.

Jean-Pierre Léaud in The 400 Blows

(Image credit: Cocinor)

The 400 Blows (1959)

Francois Truffaut directs The 400 Blows, a movie about young Antoine Doinel (Jean-Pierre Leaud), a young boy known for his mischievous ways. Antoine and his parents are at constant odds and it seems like he’s one big mistake away from being labeled a juvenile delinquent. 

The 400 Blows is a classic movie because this story of Antoine really captures the conflicts of youth, without being heavy handed. You often empathize with Antoine, but doesn’t make viewers feel sorry for him by taking a melodramatic route. It’s all done so subtly and purposefully. The 400 Blows reminds adult audiences that sometimes the beauty and curse of youth is reckless fearlessness. 

Stream The 400 Blows on HBO Max.
Rent/Buy The 400 Blows on Amazon.
Buy The 400 Blows on DVD/Blu-Ray on Amazon.

Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron in An American In Paris

(Image credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)

An American In Paris (1951)

An American in Paris is a classic movie musical about a painter, Jerry (Gene Kelly), who finds himself falling in love with the girlfriend of one of his associates. An American in Paris also stars Georges Guetary, Leslie Caron, and Oscar Levant.

Like many of his films, An American in Paris works because of the Kelly's charm. He starts dancing and for a minute time stops, because all you want to do is watch him move. An American In Paris has an entertaining story about love and the struggling artist, and great musical and dance numbers, so it’s easy to see why it was one of several musicals that won Best Picture at the Oscars.

Rent/buy An American in Paris on Amazon.
Buy An American in Paris on DVD/Blu-Ray on Amazon.

Marion Cotillard in La Vie en rose.

(Image credit: Legende Films)

La Vie En Rose (2007)

La Vie En Rose is a biographical film about French singer Edith Piaf. It depicts her life from a sickly child to an internationally acclaimed singer, to her death at 47, and stars Marion Cotillard as Edith Piaf. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for this performance.

La Vie En Rose may appeal to fans of Piaf or just those curious about the singer. Many Americans may not have much knowledge of her, but this film gives an interesting insight into her life, while highlighting her incredible voice. Cotillard has been well known for her acting abilities for decades, but this role really showcases her outstanding talents. 

Rent/buy La Vie En Rose on Amazon.
Buy La Vie En Rose on DVD/Blu-Ray on Amazon.

Asa Butterfield and Chloe Grace Moretz in Hugo.

(Image credit: GK Gilms)

Hugo (2011)

Martin Scorsese directed Hugo, a story about Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield), a young boy who lives in Gare Montparnasse railway station in Paris. With Isabelle (Chloe Grace Moretz), Hugo embarks on an adventure to uncover the mystery of a robot, one of the last things he has from his deceased father. Hugo also stars Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Helen McCrory, and Jude Law.

Hugo is a wonderful family drama with a mystery that keeps you enthralled, but at the heart, it’s a story of the power of movies as a way to unite people and as an outlet for artistic expression. 

Stream Hugo on Netflix.
Rent/buy Hugo on Amazon.
Buy Hugo on DVD/Blu-Ray on Amazon.

Paris is a city that inspires many, so there are plenty of other movies that take place in Paris, including Paris, je t’aime, Gigi, Sabrina, and Three Colours: Blue. Therefore, you can find many more to watch if you want to use the movies to travel to Paris. You may find even more great movies that take place in Paris included in the upcoming 2022 movies schedule. 

Jerrica Tisdale
Freelance Writer

Spent most of my life in various parts of Illinois, including attending college in Evanston. I have been a life long lover of pop culture, especially television, turned that passion into writing about all things entertainment related. When I'm not writing about pop culture, I can be found channeling Gordon Ramsay by kicking people out the kitchen.