Exploring the Most Iconic Movie Locations in Paris

The French capital turns into a movie set for some of Hollywood's biggest films

Paris is where couples turn on the charm and spoil one another with thoughtful gifts, and the city effortlessly serves up an endless list of ideas to couples, from walking hand-in-hand through its streets and dining on rich French fare to jewellery shopping in its luxury boutiques.

However, the French capital hasn’t only inspired couples to declare their love but has also given plenty of material to work with to movie makers who have succumbed to its charms. Charming, romantic and chic, Hollywood has always portrayed Paris as everything dreams are made of, with breathtaking architecture, elegant boutiques and streets full of charm, creating a stunning backdrop to any story.

Through these images it is easy to see why people dream of walking through the Parisian streets, marvelling at its beauty, when they walk out of movie theatres around the world. With an infinite list of stunning scenes shot here in the capital to daydream about, we have narrowed down the list of attractions that have made it to the big screen for you so you can walk in the footsteps of your favourite movie star, with each location doubling as a perfect setting for lovers in Paris. 

The Plaza Athénée Hotel (© de Laubier)

Woody Allen, the talented director, used the City of Light as a backdrop to his movie Midnight in Paris, which starred Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams and France’s former First Lady, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy. The hit movie featured several scenes in the sumptuous Bristol Hotel, and it is where you are invited to discover Epicure. With French doors opening onto the perfectly manicured gardens, Epicure, the hotel’s three Michelin star restaurant, offers a spectacular dining experience in an equally spectacular dining room. The chef, Eric Fréchon, will delight you with carefully served dishes including his signature macaroni filled with black truffles, artichokes and foie gras covered with aged parmesan.  Epicure, 112 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré (8th), 01 53 43 43 40  

Epicure Restaurant (courtesy of The Bristol Hotel)

Midnight in Paris also featured other Parisian delights including the famous flea market, the Puces de Saint-Ouen. Your rendezvous for pre-loved antiques, the flea market in Saint-Ouen is made up of 16 different markets, each specialising in a domain. The Antica market is where you will find furniture from the XVIII and XIX centuries, the Biron market specialises in Asian art and for vintage postcards, vinyl records and prints the Dauphine market is your destination. Puces de Saint-Ouen , 142 rue des Rosiers, St-Ouen (10-minute walk from Porte de Clignancourt)  

Something’s Gotta Give, the 2003 hit romantic comedy with the fabulous Diane Keaton and Hollywood icon Jack Nicholson, told the story of Erica and Harry. One of the most famous scenes of the movie takes place in Le Grand Colbert, a French brasserie in the second arrondissement of the capital. This traditional restaurant, which has been listed as an historic monument, features breathtaking high ceilings, mosaic flooring and friendly service. It is here you can sample authentic French fare including frog legs, escargots and onion soup before strolling through the neighbouring Palais-Royal garden, under its beautiful arcades that cover some of the city's most exclusive boutiques. Le Grand Colbert , 2 rue Vivienne (2nd), 01 42 86 87 88 

The Wall of Love (© kalin_az)

Amélie, the whimsical French movie starring Audrey Tautou, was not only a quirky romantic story that won audiences the world over but the movie also introduced the audience to the Café des 2 Moulins, where Amélie worked. The small café, located in the charming district of Montmartre, is a traditional Parisian café where you can enjoy a coffee or a glass of wine and do what the Parisians do best, sit on the terrace and people watch. And while you are in Montmartre make sure you pass by Le Mur des Je t’Aime, the Love Wall. The wall, in a small public garden, is a mural paved with tiles declaring I Love You in 300 languages, creating, quite literally, a love-filled backdrop for your walk through the romance capital of the world. Café des 2 Moulins, 15 rue Lepic (18th), 01 42 54 90 50, Le Mur des Je t’Aime, Square Jehan Rictus, 10 rue André Barsacq (18th)  

The Moulin Rouge (© Valérie Loiseleux)

Another great movie set in Montmartre is the musical Moulin Rouge! Starring Ewan McGregor as Christian and Nicole Kidman as Satine, the romantic musical tells the lovestruck duo’s story, which is set against the backdrop of the famous Moulin Rouge cabaret, home to the original Cancan. Today, the cabaret is still a major attraction with daily shows inviting you to watch the fabulous dancers dazzle you with their boisterous screams and rhythm, with skirts being lifted in the air as they dance the Cancan. Moulin Rouge, 82 blvd de Clichy (18th), 01 53 09 82 82

The Cité de la Mode et du Design (© JAKOB + MACFARLANE - photo by Thibaut Vankemmel - Agence Les Barbus 9)

Action movie fans will also get a kick out of visiting the French capital with numerous action-packed movies filmed here. Walking along the banks of the River Seine all the way down to Quai Austerlitz where scenes from Mission: Impossible 6 were shot will sure impress Tom Cruise fans, and while in the neighbourhood a place worth visiting is the Cité de la Mode et du Design. Standing out along the Seine, largely due to its ultra-modern fluorescent green structure, the Cité de la Mode et du Design is a cultural space that is home to the Art Ludique museum, which hosts contemporary art exhibitions that regularly celebrate the art of comic books, cinema and manga. Cité de la Mode et du Design, 34 quai d'Austerlitz (13th), 01 76 77 25 30  

Taken, the blockbuster thriller starring Liam Neeson, about a retired CIA agent who comes to Paris to save his kidnapped daughter, is another action movie that took to the streets of Paris. Shooting in the Fouquet's Barrière Hotel, the movie takes you to the most famous and glamorous avenue in the world, Avenue des Champs-Elysées. The stunning avenue that is bookended by the Arc de Triomphe and Place de la Concorde is home to the Louis Vuitton flagship boutique as well as other high-end boutiques including jewellery house Cartier.

The Louvre (© 2013 Pyramide du Louvre, arch. I. M . Pei, Musee du Louvre/Olivier Ouadah)

Dan Brown’s hit novel turned movie The Da Vinci Code took viewers to The Louvre, where the famous Mona Lisa painting sits and where the story of the film begins. Regardless of whether you are a believer of the theory or not that Brown presents, The Louvre remains one of the most famous museums in the world. A former royal palace, The Louvre is the world's largest art museum that exhibits over 35,000 works of art notably some of the world's masterpieces including Venus de Milo and of course the Mona Lisa. The Louvre, Rue de Rivoli (1st), 01 40 20 53 17  

TV has also brought the je ne sais quoi quality of Paris to the small screen. Sex and the City fans will get a buzz out of following in Carrie Bradshaw’s designer-clad footsteps in the fashion capital. Walk along the chic Avenue Montaigne, one of the three avenues that create the exclusive Triangle d'Or district of the French capital. Shop at Dior, Chanel and Louis Vuitton before stopping by L'Avenue, one of the city's most popular restaurants where during Paris Fashion Week celebrities, designers and fashion editors lunch. On the celebrated avenue you will also find the iconic Hôtel Plaza Athénée where you can sip on Champagne and nibble on croissants in La Galerie. La Galerie, Hôtel Plaza Athénée, 25 ave Montaigne (8th), 01 53 67 66 00

La Galerie


Sandra Iskander
About the author

Sandra serves as the editor of Where Paris and the W...