The Touristin’s 43 Must-see French Films for armchair travels through France (plus 12 box office hits)

Updated August 2023

43 Must-see French Films for armchair-travels through France.

We all have seen these lists: The best travel films of all time. 25 travel films that inspire you to travel. 1,250 travel films to watch before you check-in. ... On these lists you find all these famous and beloved box office hits like Roman Holiday, Lawrence of Arabia, Tracks, Lost in Translation, Into the Wild, Wild, Indiana Jones, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Julie and Julia, The Endless Summer, The Beach. So far so good, I love all of these too, one can watch these films over and over again, and again. Have a look at my Pinterest board The Touristin: Films for more travel inspiration.

Travel films are full of amazing phrases. Meaningful words that invite us to dream, and to post them as captions on holiday photos on Instagram. Like this one “I still believe in Paradise. But now at least I know it’s not some place you can look for. It is not where you go. It is how you feel for a moment in your life when you are part of something, and if you find that moment … it will last forever.” Thank you Leo. Everybody probably knows this line by heart. Here my choice of films that take you to France.

French Films – Armchair travels through France

I also really like to watch ordinary films, and I mean that in terms of romantic or tragic comedies, and dramas that take place in (this case) France. Films that tell stories that haven't got to do with travelling. When I browse through my film collection, stored in a cupboard, I find a lot of French films. I can’t visit France all the time, hence I have to invite France into my home. I know it is risky, but if you like to travel off-the-beaten path, then why not dare to journey into the unknown, with watching these films. I highly recommend these to all people who are interested in France, and also to the ones who love to armchair travel through the country. I do the same with reading about a destination, as you can read in 65 books to read before you visit South Africa.

Here is my choice of French films. I know it is all fiction, and some are proper kitsch, but nevertheless ... Meet Sophie Marceau, Audrey Tautou, Guillaume Canet, François Cluzet, Marion Cotilard, Jean Dujardin, Juliette Binoche, Vincent Cassel, Catherine Deneuve, Omar Sy, Gilles Lelouche, Romain Duris, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Vanessa Paradis and Patrick Bruel in the following films. Cry, laugh, worry, or simply enjoy life in France with them. Together with the title I quote one line of each film.

43 Must-see Films that tell about life in France

Notre Dame (2019)

    Architect. Mother of Two. By mistake, Maud won… the contest to renovate Notre Dame.

La Belle Epoque (2019)

    It’s all fake, I know, but enjoyable all the same.

The Mystery of Henry Pick (2019)

    Are you sure your husband wrote this book?

Cezanne Et Moi (2017)

    I’d like to paint as you write.

Mr Stein goes online (2017)

    This machine is diabolical!

Back to Burgundy (2017)

    I have travelled the world but sometimes I think, I ran away.

C’est La Vie (2017)

    Every function. My life is at stake!

The Sense of Wonder (2015)

    He lives things more intensely than you and I.

The student and Mister Henry (2015)

    Fate is a pile of shit.

One wild moment (2015)

    What are you doing with my Dad’s shorts?

Serial (Bad) Weddings (2015)

    Who is that? The doorman?

Samba (2014)

    We have 48 hours to get these guys out.

Serial (Bad) Weddings (2014)

    Avoid sensitive issues. Israel, the Dalai Lama, burqas …

Another Woman’s Life (2012)

    I didn’t sleep for 15 years. That’s me?

Happiness Never Comes Alone (2012)

    Life was a metronome until that Tuesday in May.

Delicacy (2012)

    What is behind this depressed Swede act?

Little White Lies (2012)

    I think I love you. Cut that out …

Paris-Manhattan (2012)

    So I bought a film by your hero. It might go straight over your head.

Romantics Anonymous (2011)

    I have no problems with women. They terrify me, that’s all.

Heartbreaker (2011)

    She has no feeling in her right shoulder.

Beautiful Lies (2011)

    You look like you have escaped from an asylum.

The Beloved (2011)

    Will 50 francs do the trick? Certainly not.

Declaration of War (2011)

    Why did this happen to us? Because we can overcome it.

The Art of Love (2011)

    I feel like a traffic light.

My Piece of Pie (2011)

    They don’t know we are the real royalty.

Nothing to Declare (2010)

    I will do everything to prevent the invasion of the Camemberts into my country.

Sarah’s Key (2010)

    On the 16th and 17th of July 1942 they arrested 13,000 Jews.

With Love … The Age of Reason (2010)

    Most important things in life: building paper planes, jumping into puddles, running up an escalator into the opposite direction.

The Woman on the 6th Floor (2010)

    You never worry about anybody. Suddenly you care about the servants.

Coco Before Chanel (2009)

    These meringues on their head. Like being in a pastry shop …

Paris 36

    People came in droves to see the unemployed workers’ show.

Laughing out Loud (2008)

    I catch you one more time, you go live with Dad.

Welcome to the Sticks (2008)

    You all talk like that here?

The Grocer’s Son (2008)

    You have to pay. What use are eggs to me?

Paris (2008)

    They don’t know how lucky they are. Walking, breathing, running … Carefree in Paris.

La Vie En Rose (2007)

    I saw you sing, you have a lot to learn.

Hunting and Gathering (2007)

    No use arguing. Either we all stay or I go.

A secret (2007)

    From the rare images I was allowed to glimpse, I made up my parents idyll, as if I were writing a romance.

Priceless (2006)

    No cute Pizza places for me.

Inside Paris (2006)

    It is out of the question for you to die today.

Love me if you dare (2003)

    Good old Sophie. We were back in the game. Pure, raw, explosive pleasure.

Monsieur Ibrahim (2003)

    Slowness … that is the key to happiness.

Fabulous Amelie (2001)

    Times are hard for dreamers.

12 must-see box office hits that take place in France

My list with box office hits for Francophiles includes: 1. The Intouchables 2. French Kiss 3. Midnight in Paris 4. Moulin Rouge 5. Paris when it Sizzles 6. Magic in the Moonlight 7. To Catch a Thief 8. My Old Lady 9. Chocolat 10. Paris I love you 11. Ratatouille 12. 2 Days in Paris. These films are made for lovers of France. 

Box Office Hits: Films that take place in France.

Some of these films are already a few years old. Please google them in your country to find out where to best buy them. Happy watching.  
From Berlin with love