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The Most Glamorous Classic Hollywood Movies Set in Paris

January 08, 2022
2022-01-08
Without a doubt, Paris is one of, if not the most cinematic city in the world. From the grand iconic monuments to the narrow alleyways, every corner looks like it belongs in a scene. But was the French capital always so ready for a close-up? Paris has always been beautiful, sure, but when did Hollywood take notice of its potential as a film set? Perhaps, during its Golden Age! Even in black-and-white films, shots in Paris looked ever vibrant. Classic films set here added another layer of fantasy and romance to the already glistening city. Most especially these memorable flicks!

The Most Glamorous Classic Hollywood Movies Set in Paris


Camille (1927)

The 1920s were arguably the best time in Paris. Everything was shiny and bright, the café society was alive and well, and everyone was having a good time! In fact, if you go to Paris today, the city still has a ton of 1920s hotspots that have remained open after all these years. That's how special the decade was in the French capital. And if you're wondering what the place might have looked and felt like at the time, watch the 1927 silent film adaptation of 'Camille.' Based on the classic French novel, 'La Dame aux Camélias' by Alexandre Dumas, this new-age art deco interpretation adds a modern (at least, modern at the time of its release) and chic spin to the tragic love story.
Source: Classic Movies Channel YouTube Channel


Roberta (1935 film)

Though highly underrated, the 1935 movie musical, 'Roberta,' is extremely entertaining. Not to mention extremely glamorous too! It tells the story of John (played by Randolph Scott), a former star American football player who ends up in Paris with his buddy, Huck (played by Fred Astaire), and his dance band. Having met an impasse, John goes straight to the only person he can rely on in the French capital, his Aunt Minnie, the founder of the 'Roberta' fashion house. It's here where he meets Stephanie (played by Irene Dunne), Aunt Minnie's assistant, and falls in love at first sight. A whole lot of hilarity, dancing, and music then ensue!
Source: Movie Trailer Locker YouTube Channel


Ninotchka (1939)

If you thought highly or even satirically political movies have only existed in these heavily socially-conscious times, you're wrong! Even back then, as early as the 1930s, Hollywood has already been taking jabs at all sorts of politicians, political movements, and the like. A good example is the 1939 comedy classic, 'Ninotchka,' starring Greta Garbo, Melvyn Douglas, and Ina Claire. The titular protagonist (played by Garbo) is a special envoy from Moscow, Russia which, at the time, was under Communist rule, who goes to Paris to win a lawsuit regarding a former Russian aristocrat's jewels. Initially stern and strict, her ice-cold demeanor catches the attention of the debonair Count Leon d'Algout, who takes it upon himself to thaw her out through seduction.
Source: Movieclips Classic Trailers YouTube Channel


Funny Face (1957)

Now, if you want to talk about French glamour in Hollywood movies, the most perfect example is the 1957 movie-musical, 'Funny Face.' Audrey Hepburn stars as Jo Stockton, a New York-based bookshop keeper who is whisked away to the city of lights by Maggie Prescott (played by Kay Thompson), editor-in-chief of the fashion magazine, 'Quality,' and photographer Dick Avery (played by Fred Astaire). Though the entire film is unforgettable, its most famous sequence is undoubtedly the photoshoot montage where Hepburn, clothed in Hubert de Givenchy, models haute couture dresses all throughout Paris. It's a movie every fashion-lover has seen at least once!
Source: Movieclips YouTube Channel


Gigi (1958)

La Belle Époque was yet another defining era for Paris. Translated to English as 'the Beautiful Era,' it was a time when the French capital was at its most opulent. And even to this day, there are still some spots where you can see the remnants of this period, preserved in all their Belle Époque glory. If you want to see how Paris must have looked during this time, however, one of the best films to watch is the 1958 award-winning movie-musical, 'Gigi.' Set in that time, it tells the story of the titular Gigi (played by Leslie Caron) who, after having grown up as an innocent ingenue with her grandmother, is then sent to her great aunt's home to train as a courtesan.
Source: Movieclips Classic Trailers YouTube Channel


Charade (1963)

Out of all the iconic actresses who've had films set and/or even shot in Paris, Audrey Hepburn was undoubtedly the most influential. Another one of her chic pictures is the 1963 Hitchcockian rom-com, 'Charade,' where she starred opposite Cary Grant. Here, Hepburn plays Regina 'Reggie' Lampert, a Givenchy-clad widow whose late husband stole a fortune but was later murdered. As a result, several men now pursue her because of it and it's up to Peter Joshua (played by Grant) to help her along the way. But can she really trust Peter after what just happened? And is Peter truly who he says he is? You'll have to watch this classic yourself to find out!
Source: Movieclips Classic Trailers YouTube Channel


Belle de Jour (1967)

If you thought Givenchy was the only French designer to make it to the big screen back in the day, think again! In 1967, then-emerging designer Yves Saint Laurent, who at the time had just opened his own couture house, famously Catherine Deneuve's wardrobe in the French drama classic, 'Belle de Jour.' Though she wears designer clothing and lives out the perfect bourgeoisie lifestyle, Séverine Serizy (played by Deneuve) actually moonlights as a sex worker at a high-class brothel in Paris. Talk about naughty and nice, right?
Source: Park Circus YouTube Channel

Glamour is supposed to be timeless, just like the glamour in Paris. For years, movies have shown the city of lights at its brightest and sparkliest. Even old Hollywood classic films showed Paris in such a beautiful, and of course, glamorous light!




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