Rediscover Paris through films !

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Discover Paris by the cinema 

Restricted by severe health protection measures, it is fortunately still possible to escape through imagination. As times are not appropriate for walking along the streets and banks of Paris, Esprit de France suggests that you discover or rediscover the capital -without any risk- through the films that have enhanced the city of lights, its legendary districts or its working-class suburbs. Whether popular comedies or masterpieces of the French Nouvelle Vague, the capital most often plays the main role as an inspiring source or as the backdrop for the plot. Filmmakers have been able to seize, each in their own time, a certain timeless character of the city, whether by filming the small squares lit in the evening by street lamps, the atmosphere of large cafes on the boulevards, the variety of shops and businesses of all kinds, the daily life of the Parisian people and places that have become famous since the beginning of the 20th century, such as Montmartre or the river banks of the Seine and those of the Saint-Martin canal. 

As a matter of fact, the Montmartre Hill district, in 1954, inspired French Cancan to Jean Renoir, a film about the Belle Epoque like the more recent Moulin Rouge staging Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman. Note that this Montmartre mythology was renewed by the great success of Le Fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain shot on the hill with Audrey Tautou and Mathieu Kassovitz in 2001. 

thumbnail_drocc82ledefrimousse_parespritdefrance.jpgThe post-war era saw Paris serve as the priviledged setting for a whole series of American romantic and musical comedies ranging from the famous An American in Paris by Vincente Minnelli on George Gershwin’s swinging music, to Funny face with Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire. And the series ends up with Woody Allen's recent Midnight in Paris

In the 60s, a new approach was developed in France by the films of the New Wave (La Nouvelle Vague), among which A Bout de Souffle (by Godard) who immortalized Jean Seberg as a young naive American tourist and Jean Paul Belmondo as a likeable thug ; Les 400 coups de Truffaut, which was filmed in the true urban setting of northern Paris districts; or Cléo de 5 à 7 (by Agnès Varda) which combines urban poetry with the casualness of a new generation of young Parisians. 

More recently, Paris has become the scene of spectacular adventures, in the Da Vinci Code for example, or in Mission Impossible 6 with Tom Cruise’s breathtaking chase around the Arc de Triomphe. 

hugo_cabret_1_parespritdefrance.jpgFor your children, the urban poetry of Paris can be found in films that have become true classics like Le Ballon Rouge by Albert Lamorisse whose gaze lingers over the maze of alleys and the facades of popular houses, Hugo Cabret by Martin Scorsese, or the cartoon film Les Triplettes de Belleville. Without forgetting of course Walt Disney's adaptation of Victor Hugo's novel under the title Le Bossu de Notre Dame. 

Let yourself be taken by the magic of these filmmakers’ loving gaze on the city of lights