The 15 Best Movies Set in Paris You Can Stream Right Now

Transport yourself to the City of Light with these movies about Paris—no plane ticket required.

Gene Kelly on a Parisian soundstage in "An American in Paris"

An American in Paris is required viewing for any film fan.

Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Over the decades, filmmakers have brought the city of Paris to life through a variety of genres. Whether you’re a fan of Jean-Luc Godard’s French New Wave films, Audrey Hepburn musicals, or Pixar cartoons, chances are there’s a movie about Paris to fit your mood. So if you’re looking forward to a future trip or feeling nostalgic for your past travels, pour yourself a glass of merlot and settle in for an evening of watching these movies set in Paris, in which the City of Light seems like one of the main characters. They’re available to stream for free with a subscription to Max, Paramount+, and Disney+—or available to rent for under $5 via iTunes, Amazon Prime Video, or Google Play.

“Amélie” (2001)

Set to an enchanting Yann Tiersen soundtrack, this whimsical comedy about a Parisian waitress (Audrey Tautou) will make you want to move to Montmartre and spend your days skipping stones on the Canal Saint-Martin. As Amélie makes her way through Paris, nudging her neighbors and family toward their own happiness, she finds love along the way, too.

“Before Sunset” (2004)

Following 1995’s Before Sunrise, this sequel picks up nine years after Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Céline (Julie Delpy) meet on a train and spend one night together in Vienna. This time, the pair reconnects at Paris’s Shakespeare and Company bookstore, where Jesse is giving a reading of his newest book. Though he only has a short while before his flight back home, they spend the afternoon wandering around the city. The flow of their conversation is so natural that you almost feel as if you’re right there with them at the café or strolling along the Seine.

“Three Colors: Blue” (1993)

Part of Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieślowski’s trilogy surrounding the ideals of the French Revolution, Trois Couleurs: Bleu (as it’s called in French) focuses on the theme of liberty. But instead of interpreting it in the political sense, this movie is about emotional liberation and processing grief. Julie (Juliette Binoche) is the sole survivor of a car crash that kills her daughter and famous composer husband. After leaving the hospital, she gets rid of all of her worldly attachments and retreats to Paris to live in a barren apartment on Rue Mouffetard.

“Breathless” (1960)

Jean-Luc Godard’s film about a sexy, dog-faced hoodlum and his impossibly waifish American girlfriend became one of the first films to herald the arrival of the French New Wave. It’s easy to recognize the film—full of jazz riffs, deliberately rough editing, and rambunctious fresh energy—as a resuscitation of an art form that had been slowly dying from lack of oxygen. Lovers of Paris will indulge in the shots on top of shots of the city: There are long tracking shots through winding streets and grand boulevards, and jump cuts twitch between newspaper-reading patrons of sidewalk cafés, pedestrians, and passing cars. Yes, Breathless captures a historic moment in Parisian time on celluloid, but the film always feels like something brand new.

“Cléo from 5 to 7” (1962)

  • Watch now: Max (free with subscription)
  • Genre: Drama

Roughly told in real time, this French New Wave film by director Agnès Varda is nearly a documentary of 1960s Parisian life. Following a grim tarot card reading, a vain and superstitious pop singer heads off on a circuitous route around Paris as she anxiously awaits the results of a biopsy on the first day of summer. Expect long tracking shots of taxi rides through Cléo’s Montparnasse neighborhood, cameos from Jean-Luc Godard and Anna Karina, as well as a meet-cute in the idyllic Parc Montsouris.

“Le Samouraï” (1967)

Le Samouraï is director Jean-Pierre Melville’s take on a 1940s noir set in glamorous 1960s Paris. This highly stylized thriller follows Jef Costello, a for-hire killer, after a night club’s piano player witnesses him leaving the scene of a murder and he is brought in for questioning. Though his alibi is airtight, Costello (played by a stone-faced Alain Delon) is tailed by the police and his employers across Paris and through its Metros.

“An American in Paris” (1951)

Sure, this entire movie was filmed on a soundstage, but if you’ve ever fantasized about splashing around in the Fontaines de la Concorde with Gene Kelly holding your hand, this is your film. Kelly, who plays an American soldier trying to make it as a painter in postwar Paris, and Leslie Caron, a French shopgirl, are at the peak of their talents as they use dance to express their love. Prepare yourself to watch one of the sexiest duets you’ll ever witness on film.

“The Intouchables” (2011)

One of the most viewed French films in the world, The Intouchables is inspired by a true story. In the film retelling, we learn about the burgeoning friendship between a wealthy Parisian quadriplegic and his charismatic caregiver. Best to watch with a friend . . . and some tissues.

Asa Butterfield wearing a brown coat and Sacha Baron Cohen wearing a blue officer uniform stand in front of a staircase in the movie 'Hugo.'

“Hugo” is set in the Gare Montparnasse train station in 1930s Paris.

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

“Hugo” (2011)

Hugo, a film by Martin Scorsese based on a children’s picture book, follows the story of an orphaned boy who lives in the clock tower of the Gare Montparnasse train station in 1930s Paris. As he unsuccessfully tries to awaken the clockwork interior of an automaton, the boy explores the station (cue the Parisian accordion music, a charming café, a sinister station master played by Sacha Baron Cohen, and a cross toy store owner played by Ben Kingsley). The movie is a celebration of cinema and of Paris—the moody views across the city outside the windowed clockface show the Seine gleaming in the light of the moon and rolling toward the faraway Eiffel Tower.

“Ratatouille” (2007)

Disney has set several of its movies in Paris over the years, including 1970’s The Aristocats and 1996’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame. But Pixar’s Ratatouille gets at what many people love the most about the French capital: its food. This heartwarming animated feature follows the friendship between Remy, a rat who loves to cook, and Alfredo Linguini, a hapless kitchen worker, as they partner to save one of the most famous restaurants in Paris. While you can’t dine at Gusteau’s, you can go to the real-life restaurant that inspired it: Tour d’Argent recently reopened after a renovation and has breathtaking views of the Seine.

“Funny Face” (1957)

Set to the music of George Gershwin, Funny Face is a love letter both to the arts and to one of the world’s greatest artistic cities. It’s also Audrey Hepburn’s first musical, and her epic three-minute dance medley will get you up and moving. The always-mesmerizing Fred Astaire, playing a fashion photographer modeled after the real-life Richard Avedon, is a fine bonus.

Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor wearing costumes and facing each other and singing in 'Moulin Rouge'

Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor star in Moulin Rouge.

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

“Moulin Rouge” (2001)

This over-the-top Baz Luhrmann musical is worth watching for the music and set designs alone. But factor in the incredibly hot chemistry between lead characters Satine and Christian, played by Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor, and the movie jumps to a whole new level. Set in 1899 Paris, the fantastical scenes are centered around the dramatic, splashy productions at the famous Moulin Rouge nightclub. This film will transport you to another place and time, as you get sucked into a heart-wrenching battle for love that is not without its devastating challenges.

“Children of Paradise” (1945)

Want an epic? For Les Enfants du Paradis, as it’s called in French, the filmmakers meticulously re-created a quarter-mile neighborhood stretch of 1830s Paris—during the Nazi occupation—to provide a location for this film about avid theatergoers of the period. (The Nazis allowed the filming but watched so closely that some of the actors, members of the Resistance, had to film their scenes in secret.) The movie, about a beautiful young woman loved by four men, follows a script by French poet and musician Jacques Prévert, and at Cannes it has been named the greatest French film ever made. The fervidly romantic storyline (with subversive undertones that the Nazis didn’t pick up on) and lavish production are a testament to that.

Marion Cotillard costumed as Edith Piaf on the cover for 'La Vie en Rose'

Marion Cotillard won an Oscar for her role in La Vie en Rose.

Courtesy of HBO

“La Vie en Rose” (2007)

French chanteuse Édith Piaf’s greatest ballads were about love and loss, so it’s fitting that this 2007 film gives context to what exactly she loved and lost. Though remarkably little is known about Piaf’s life, La Vie en Rose—also the name of Piaf’s most well-known song—does a masterful job with what we do. Marion Cotillard won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Piaf.

“Playtime” (1967)

Monsieur Hulot, played by director Jacques Tati himself, stumbles good-naturedly through the sterile architecture and baffling modern offices and shopping malls of modern Paris, like a Buster Keaton or David Byrne in his big suit. Everything around him is unnatural, obscured somehow, mysterious, a feeling especially familiar to travelers—if only there were a way to understand the language spoken here, or a map that gave more information than the basics. Monsieur Hulot moves through this shiny Rube Goldberg contraption of a world, making do, getting by. It’s a miracle of a movie; even without dialogue or plot, Playtime is thoroughly entertaining and clear. This is the angular and glass-bound Paris, not one you’d like to visit, but one that you’ll be reminded of the next time you walk through Charles de Gaulle airport or stand before a vast glass wall at the Centre Pompidou.

This article was originally published in 2020; it was updated on February 12, 2024, with new information. Additional reporting by Ann Shields, Ciera Velarde, Katherine LaGrave, and Michelle Baran.

Lyndsey Matthews is the senior commerce editor at AFAR who covers travel gear, packing advice, and points and loyalty.
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