As it is Valentine’s Day shortly, we create our ultimate list of the Top Ten heart-warming gushy romantic films set in the most romantic city of them all, Paris.   And top place, of course, is none other than…

1. Amélie

Nominated for 5 Academy Awards including Best Original Screenplay, this magical comedy met overwhelming acclaim nationwide.

A painfully shy waitress working at a tiny Paris café, Amelie makes a surprising discovery and sees her life drastically changed for the better! From then on, Amelie dedicates herself to helping others find happiness…in the most delightfully unexpected ways! But will she have the courage to do for herself what she has done for others?

Our Amelie’s Paris Tour shows you all the locations of this wonderful movie, in Montmartre and all over Paris. 
 
 

VISIT THE TOUR PAGE

2. An American in Paris

Gene Kelly, producer Arthur Freed, director Vincente Minnelli and a skilled production team conjure an entertainment for the ages. Kelly plays an ex-GI who loves Paris and an alluring (but engaged) perfume-shop clerk (Leslie Caron in her beguiling screen debut).

Dazzling dance sequences are spun around songs by the Gershwins. And the closing ballet – combining the George Gershwin title piece, Impressionist set stylings and Kelly’s inimitable talent for telling a story in dance – lifts this winner of six Academy Awards® including Best Picture® (plus an honorary Oscar® to Kelly), into the ether of timelessness.

A Gershwin score and the dancing of Kelly and Caron are at the center of this fluid, visually beautiful love story set in post-war Paris. The ballet sequence, filmed in the style of Impressionist paintings, is legendary.

 

 

3. Before Sunset

Richard Linklater directs the romantic drama Before Sunset, a sequel to Before Sunrise (1995). Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) were strangers who spent a loquacious night together in Vienna. Nine years later, Jesse has written a book about the encounter. During his accelerated European book tour, he reunites with Celine in Paris. Before Jesse’s flight home, he joins Celine for a picturesque walk around Paris peppered with intimate conversation: at first, about the minutiae of their day-to-day lives and their relationships, and then about their lingering feelings for one another. Before Sunset was nominated for the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival.

*Set in Paris tip: Before Sunset is the second installment in Linklater’s trilogy tracing the relationship between Jesse and Celine. If you are in the mood to see more beautiful European cities, have yourself a marathon and watch the first entry Before Sunset, set in Vienna, where the couple first met, and the third entry Before Midnight, set in Greece.

 

4. Le Divorce

Kate Hudson (Almost Famous) lights up the screen as Isabel, a film school dropout who jets off to Paris when her pregnant step-sister Roxy (Naomi Watts, Mulholland Drive) is abandoned by her husband. Soon, Isabel has a scandal of her own when she falls for an older man who’s related to Roxy’s cheating husband! This stylish romantic comedy by the acclaimed Merchant Ivory team (The Remains of the Day) features a top cast, including Stockard Channing, Glenn Close, Matthew Modine and Bebe Newirth.

Set in Paris tip: do not let the overtly un-romantic title “Le Divorce” be misleading; the film is filled with romance, and a heartwarming story about the relationship amongst sisters.
 

 

5. Everyone Says I Love You

Romance meets comedy in Woody Allen’s first movie musical, and it’s a glorious celebration of love that had audiences laughing and critics cheering.

In intertwining stories, Joe’s (Woody Allen) attempt to win the heart of Von (Julia Roberts) takes him to scenic Venice and Paris, while his ex-wife, Steffi (Goldie Hawn), and her current husband, Bob (Alan Alda), deal with erupting family matters in their swank but crowded Manhattan apartment. In the meantime, Steffi and Bob’s daughter, Skylar (Drew Barrymore), is torn between two boyfriends (Edward Norton and Tim Roth), adding to the complications. But through it all, Allen’s dream cast knows the perfect moment to express their emotions with a classic love song or a hilarious production number.

Musical comedy has seldom been played with such wit, humor, and sophistication. Get ready to fall in love with love … and to sing the praises of EVERYONE SAYS I LOVE YOU!

 

6. French Kiss

Meg Ryan (“Sleepless in Seattle”) and Kevin Kline (“Dave”) star in this bouncy romantic comedy about life, love and larceny.

When her fiancé is smitten by a beautiful Frenchwoman, Kate (Ryan) flies to Paris determined to win him back. However, nothing prepares her for Luc (Kline), a cunning sexy Frenchman with a gift for gab and a fondness for thievery. A self-proclaimed expert on affairs of the heart, Luc promises to help Kate win back her man. But one star-crossed misadventure after another sweeps them across France, ultimately changing them in ways they never dreamed possible.

 

7. Un Homme et une Femme

 
 

From director Claude LeLouch (And Now…Ladies and Gentlemen) comes this 1966 classic, a tender, visually exciting film of revitalizing love: a race-car driver (Jean-Louis Trinignant) and a movie script girl (Anouk Aimée) share a romance filled with humor and truth, intertwined with the demands of career and parenthood. Winner of Oscars® for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Original Screenplay.

Set in Paris note: if you are a fan of LeLouch be sure to watch his 1976 silent 8-minute short film titled C’était un rendez-vous, created entirely in one, non-interrupted shot in real time, beginning at Porte Dauphine and reaching a romantic conclusion in Montmartre. Click below to view the short film and the “Making Of”:

 

C'était un rendez-vous

Making Of

 

8. Midnight in Paris

Paris is a city that lends itself to daydreaming, to walking the streets and imagining all sorts of magic, a quality that Woody Allen understands perfectly.

Midnight in Paris is Allen’s charming reverie about just that quality, with a screenwriter hero named Gil (Owen Wilson) who strolls the lanes of Paris with his head in the clouds and walks right into his own best fantasy. Gil is there with his materialistic fiancée (Rachel McAdams) and her unpleasant parents, taking a break from his financially rewarding but spiritually unfulfilling Hollywood career–and he can’t stop thinking that all he wants to do is quit the movies, move to Paris, and write that novel he’s been meaning to finish. You know, be like his heroes in the bohemian Paris of the 1920s. Sure enough, a midnight encounter draws him into the jazzy world of Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Picasso and Dali, and an intense Ernest Hemingway, who promises to bring Gil’s manuscript to Gertrude Stein for review. Gil wakes up every morning back in the real world, but returning to his enchanted Paris proves fairly easy. In the execution of this marvelous fantasia, Allen pursues the idea that people of every generation have always romanticized a previous age as golden (this is in fact explained to us by Michael Sheen’s pedantic art expert), but he also honors Gil’s need to find out certain truths for himself. The movie’s on the side of gentle fantasy, and it has some literary/cinematic in-jokes that call back to the kind of goofy humor Allen created in Love and Death. The film is guilty of the slackness that Allen’s latter-day directing has sometimes shown, and the underwritten roles for McAdams and Marion Cotillard are better acted than written. But the city glows with Allen’s romantic sense of it, and Owen Wilson has just the right nice-guy melancholy to put the idea over. A worthy entry in the Cinema of the Daydream. –Robert Horton (Amazon.com)

Set in Paris tip: Midnight in Paris filming locations are among the many special highlights on “Le Movie Tour”. Visit the spot, and have your photo taken, where Gil was picked up each night to take a ride back to 1920s Paris with us!
 

 

9. Paris, Je T’aime

The title says it all!  “Stories of love, from the city of love”

In Paris, je t’aime, celebrated directors from around the world, including the Coen Brothers, Gus Van Sant, Gurinder Chadha, Wes Craven, Walter Salles, Alexander Payne and Olivier Assayas, have come together to portray Paris in a way never before imagined. Made by a team of contributors as cosmopolitan as the city itself, this portrait of the city is as diverse as its creators’ backgrounds and nationalities. With each director telling the story of an unusual encounter in one of the city’s neighborhoods, the vignettes go beyond the ‘postcard’ view of Paris to portray aspects of the city rarely seen on the big screen. Racial tensions stand next to paranoid visions of the city seen from the perspective of an American tourist. A young foreign worker moves from her own domestic situation into her employer’s bourgeois environs. An American starlet finds escape as she is shooting a movie. A man is torn between his wife and his lover. A young man working in a print shop sees and desires another young man. A father grapples with his complex relationship with his daughter. A couple tries to add spice to their sex life. These are but a few of the witty and serendipitous narratives that make up Paris, je t’aime.

 

Our #10 spot is tied between two of the silver screen’s most tragically romantic stories set in Paris, derived from beloved French literature…

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Inspired by Victor Hugo’s classic novel, Disney brings the heroic adventures of Quasimodo, the gentle and lonely bell ringer of Notre Dame, to spectacular life. This critically acclaimed Disney masterpiece is an “uplifting, thrilling story with a heart-touching message that emerges from the comedy and song” (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times). At the urging of his hilarious gargoyle pals Victor, Hugo, and Laverne, Quaismodo leaves the solitary safety of his tower, venturing out to find his first true friend, the gypsy beauty Esmerelda. The most unlikely of heroes, Quasi fights to save the people and the city he loves and, in turn,

helps us to see people for who they are, rather than how they appear. The star-studded voice cast includes Jason Alexander, Tom Hulce, Kevin Kline, and Demi Moore in a magnificent Disney musical from renowned composer Alan Menken.

Set in Paris tip: based on Victor Hugo’s classic French novel, climbing the towers of the titular Cathedral for a “bird’s eye view of Paris” is an absolute must!

 

The Phantom of The Opera

Musical Drama based on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s celebrated musical phenomenon. The Phantom of the Opera tells the story of a disfigured musical genius (Gerard Butler) who haunts the catacombs beneath the Paris Opera, waging a reign of terror over its occupants. When he falls fatally in love with the lovely Christine (Emmy Rossum), the Phantom devotes himself to creating a new star for the Opera, exerting a strange sense of control over the young soprano as he nurtures her extraordinary talents.

 
Set in Paris tip: the fictionalised Paris Opéra house that is the main setting for the stage and film adaptations of Gaston Leroux’s classic French novel of the same name was inspired by the actual Palais de L’Opéra Garnier, from where our Right Bank Tour depart! You can tour the interior of this breathtakingly beautiful Parisian monument for 6-10€. 
 
 

Happy Valentine’s Day from Set in Paris!

Our Holiday Tip

*If you are looking for something to do this Valentine’s Day,
book a fantastic 1920s photoshoot with fantastic costumes and accessories.
 
Discover the fashion of the 1920s with a passionate photographer, visit the river banks, Ile de la Cité with Notre-Dame cathedral and go back in time like Gil in Midnight in Paris. 
 

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