Music videos are a lot like films; they tell a story. In some ways, they can even be my favorite type of “movie”. And since everyone knows that we’re suckers for films that are set in Paris, we’ve gone ahead and rounded up our top 10 favorite music videos shot right here in the famed city of lights. Everyone from Beyoncé to Janet Jackson’s done it, so why not see who’s done it best?
Videos are scored by how well they show the city’s sights (city score) and by the video and song’s ability to tell a (movie-like) story.
Warning: this article is absolutely 100% biased.
10. Kylie Minogue – “Come into My World”
City score: 4 — definitely saw a new part of the city…over and over and over again.
Why it ranked as #10: Why was she cloning herself and everyone around her? I’ve been left confused and questioning the meaning of life…and “[her] world”.
9. Duran Duran – “A View to a Kill”
City score: 4 — cue in the Eiffel Tower… No, seriously, that’s basically all you see (besides the amazing view from the top…aka “a view to a kill”?).
Why it ranked as #9: I mean, it was for James Bond *swoon*. And have you seen those killer special effects? That’s true quality.
8. Usher – “Nice and Slow”
City score: 5 — I didn’t know The Bean from Chicago’s Millenium Park made an appearance in Paris back in the 90s.
Why it ranked as #8: …because my middle-school self greatly appreciates this work of art.
7. DJ Antoine – “Ma Cherie”
City score: 6 — the city is beautiful always; but maybe even more so at night.
Why it ranked as #7: Bonus points for actually using some French words.
6. Kelly Rowland – “Keep It Between Us”
City score: 8 — just stunning. Even the interior shots showed off this amazing city (i.e. polaroids)
Why it ranked as #6: It’s a bonafide love song set in the city of love…slightly cliché, but hey, so are most stories, today.
5. Corinne Bailey Rae – “Paris Nights…New York Mornings”
City score: 8 — This was just a really cute, girly music video. It’s like what every young girl envisions Paris to be like: little cafés, gorgeous locations, strolls by the river…
Why it ranked as #5: As a former New Yorker, now living in Paris, I really enjoyed it… Especially the cab at the end of the video with the “New York” Paris license plate.
4. Adele – “Someone Like You”
City score: 8 — the video didn’t cover too big of an area of Paris but the black and white just made for a really lovely effect.
Why it ranked as #4: I just couldn’t help but feel like the video and location were a perfect match for the song and its lyrics.
3. Taylor Swift – “Begin Again”
City score: 9 — again, shows an idealized, dream-like, girly Paris…and I love it.
Why it ranked as #3: This is the Paris I try my best to always experience: the cute outfits, bike rides around the quiet streets, drawing in cafés, and a chance at love.
2. Sam Smith – “Leave Your Lover”
City Score: 9 — stunning, artistic shots of Parisian streets and monuments (like a distant Sacré Cœur)
Why it ranked as #2: It was beautifully shot and the video’s timing fits in perfectly with the song. It gives you the sense of watching someone’s story play out.
1. OneRepublic – “Say (All I Need)”
City score: 10 — from the village-like area of Montmartre, to the graffiti-covered walls of some of the “grittier” sections of the city, to the bustling, vespa-filled streets; this video covered a lot of ground.
Why it ranked as #1: It just all fit together and felt like a real story. I loved that the city was filmed all in black and white — it gave it that slightly gloomy romanticism that people are always talking about when they talk about Paris.