Paris is the city of love, light and of course, it is the city of cinema. To walk around the French capital is to review the history of cinema and its genres. From classics such as Luis Buñuel’s Belle de Jour to recent titles such as Midnight in Paris by Woody Allen, the streets of Paris offer stories all along its twenty arrondissements. Here we bring you your guide to discovering a cinematic city whose bridges, museums and buildings inspire directors the world over.
The Paris Metro is made up of 16 lines and has inspired musicians, writers and filmmakers alike over the years. Classics like Truffaut’s The Last Metro (1980) or the wonderful series of short stories told in Paris, Je t’aime (2006) where actor Steve Buscemi is seriously in danger in the depths of the Tuileries station.
Besides being a film set, the Paris metro system acts like a preview to what you will find once you reach the outside, full of excellent musicians and snippets of conversation.
Montmartre resides in the 18th district of the city. Once a small village bordering Paris, today the streets exude charm and an air of melancholy – as well as a whole range of bars, bistros and museums. Walking through its streets, travellers can visit the Café des Deux Moulins (15, rue Lepic), in which Audrey Tautou worked as a waitress in the film Amélie.
Nearest tube: Pigalle & Abbesses
The Louvre Museum, located on the banks of the Seine, is one of the stars of the film world. One of many films shot here, The Da Vinci Code (2006) caused the museum to open its doors at night in order to film inside its rooms.
In another very different genre, we have Bertolucci’s The Dreamers (2003), in which the three protagonists relive a scene from Godard’s Bande à part (1964) to try to beat the record for the shortest run across the Louvre.
Nearest tube: Louvre Rivoli
La Rue Mouffetard
On the left bank of the Seine, one of the oldest streets in Paris, the rue Mouffetard surprises the traveller through a succession of cafes, food stands, restaurants and small boutiques. This sloping street began as a Roman road connecting the city charged with the capital of the empire. The director Krzysztof Kieslowski, based his film Blue (1993, Three Colours trilogy) here, in which French actress Juliette Binoche shows the essence of this charming and romantic street.
Nearest tube: Cardinal-Lemoine & Place Monge
Shakespeare and Company
It might just be the world’s most photographed bookshop. In front of Notre Dame, Shakespeare and Company (37 Rue Bûcherie) brings in hundreds of tourists at any time of the year. This independent bookshop opened in 1951, after the original was closed during the Second World War. It was owned by the famous Sylvia Beach between the ‘20s and ‘40s and was frequented by literary greats James Joyce and Ernest Hemingway – who often mentioned it in his novel, A Moveable Feast. This literary corner can also be found in films such as Before Sunset (2004) and Midnight in Paris (2011).
Nearest tube: Saint-Michel
After a long day wandering the world of Paris on film, you’ll no doubt be in need of a hearty feast and a comfortable place to rest your head. You’re in luck! There’s no shortage of delectable cuisine or luxurious hotels in Paris – so give yourself a good night’s sleep and you’ll be all set for another day of exploring the city of love.
Marta Lopez is a travel and lifestyle writer based in London. She loves travelling and discovering new cultures. When she isn’t writing on her laptop, she can be found around London parks enjoying French literature.
See Paris – The City of Light as you’ve never seen it before.