“God created women, and France created films.” The French Lumière brothers invented films, and thus augured the start of the international movie industry. Most of the first generation of Lumière’s films and the efforts of their students were made to pay tribute to the Impressionist movement. By and large, they were memories and reproductions of Impressionist paintings. Outdoor scenes were prevalent in their work.
From the café scene in Amelie to the Chanel shop in Coco Avant Chanel, every place has its story when committed to celluloid.
The romantic film Amelie, directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, and starring Audrey Tautou, was made in 2001. All the scenes in the film were shot on location, and the story took place in a specific district – Montmartre in Paris. Located in the north of the city, Montmartre sits on a hill of around 130 meters, and is the highest point in Paris. It is an epicenter for artists, writers, and bohemians, and has a unique atmosphere that is typically Parisian.
- Paris East Railway Station
In the film, Amelie takes the train at Paris East Railway Station to visit her father every week. This is one of the seven major starting stations in Paris for French national trains, and it transports over 34 million people every year.
- Café des Deux Moulins
Amelie works at the Café des Deux Moulins, where a lot of stories played out.
Midnight in Paris
Gil Pender, a Hollywood screenwriter with a love of all things Gallic, took a vacation in Paris with his fiancée Inez. Strolling in the streets one evening at midnight, Gil took a ride in an old-fashioned car and was transported back to the Paris of the 1920s, where writers plied their trade. Woody Allen also connected today’s Paris with the Paris of the “golden age” in the form of time travel. Like many people, he believes that the charm of Paris lies in its long and elegant history, which connects the past and the present. Midnight in Paris is a revolving door that transports the viewer to any time and place.
- Moulin Rouge
- Les Deux Magots
- Pont Alexandre III
Built in 1900, this bridge is composed of a 107-meter-long body and one low arch, and offers views of Champs-Elysées and L’Hôtel des Invalides. Four pairs of golden horse statues on the top of the tower represent science, art, industry, and commerce. They glitter with grandeur even in the rain, and can be clearly spotted from the tourist boats on the River Seine or from the top of Eiffel Tower.
Before Sunset is the second film the trilogy that also includes Before Sunrise and Before Midnight. Although names of the trio complete a whole day, it takes 18 years for story to play out. Before Sunset is about an American man, Jesse, and a French woman, Céline, who meet in a Paris bookstore nine years after their first encounter. Their romance continue in cafés, alleys on the Rive Gauche, and small boats on the Seine, but time is not on their side.
- Shakespeare and Company
Widely held to be one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world, Shakespeare and Company has been mentioned in countless films and books. Since the First World War, it has mainly sold English books, and it is very popular among book lovers as a cultural landmark in Paris and a hallmark of independent bookstores around the world.
Coco Avant Chanel
This film recounts the early struggles of Coco Chanel, a legendary figure in the fashion world. It tells her story from her teenage days to the beginning of her career success, and is a must-see film for fashion fans.
- Her office
The Devil Wears Prada
Another must-see film for fashionistas is The Devil Wears Prada. Released in 2007, the film was an instant classic, securing fame for the lead actor, Anne Hathaway.
- Place de la Concorde
Located in the center of Paris, Place de la Concorde is one of the city’s most famous squares, built under the command of Emperor Louis XV. Anne Hathaway’s character, Andy, throws her phone into the fountain, as a symbol of her life choices.
Saint-Emilion rose to fame thanks to Eternal Moment, starring Xu Jinglei and released in 2011. The third story in the film was shot here. There is a restaurant where customers can have a bird’s view of the city near the downtown church, and where several of the film’s characters dined.
Written and supervised by Luc Besson, the action film Taxi is virtually a commercial for Marseilles. The car-chasing scenes at the end of the film are classics of the genre.
- Streets in Marseilles
The Horseman on the Roof
Adapted from the novel of the same name by French writer Jean Giono, this film tells the legendary story of Angelo – a young Italian revolutionary – set in the beautiful autumn scenery of Provence.
Our Summer in Provence
This film tells the rural life story of a couple in Provence and their Parisian grandparents. It shows the reality of Provence by featuring a deeply rooted French romance, as well as humdrum daily life.
How to Film in France
Film France, a state-funding agency (supported by the CNC) in charge of promoting France, is the first stop for foreign production companies and individuals preparing to film in France. A network of 41 local film commissions throughout the country offers free information on locations, crews, labour rates and facilities.
Film France provides assistance with contacting appropriate agencies regarding immigration/work permits and filming permits, as well as information regarding labour rates, studio facilities, post-production facilities and suppliers. Nowhere else in Europe will you find such a large diversity of locations combined with a highly skilled workforce.
Film France also provides information about coproduction opportunities in France and assists foreign producer who want to apply for the TRIP (Tax Rebate for International Production).