Cliché cinematic visions of Paris appeal even to the French

·2-min read

Which film or TV series represents Paris most accurately? This was the question asked by language platform Babbel to poll the French about how their perception of how their capital is portrayed on screen. Some of the top 5 answers are somewhat surprising.

Ah, Paris... the City of Light has inspired so many paintings, songs, novels... and how many movies? From TV to the silver screen, Paris has been depicted so many times, although with variable accuracy....

For instance, recent American Netflix series "Emily in Paris" has offered a countless series of clichés concerning the French and their capital that both annoyed and amused French viewers. From berets to high heels, the Netflix version of Parisians are shown smoking everywhere, even at the gym!

No matter how exaggerated this depiction might have been, French viewers watched -- and some even enjoyed -- the Netflix show... the series ranks third in the poll (with 21%) of the top 5 English-speaking productions according to the Babbel poll.

Another example shows a genuine taste for clichés concerning the French (or maybe self-mockery): Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris" (2011) which takes the first spot (41%), followed by animated hit "Ratatouille" (27%). 

What about Amélie?

It's almost impossible to mention Paris on screen without bringing up Jean-Pierre Jeunet's "Amélie Poulain." While it may date back to 2001, the French movie still has fans according to the Babbel poll. Twenty-one percent of the French respondents chose "Amélie" as the second most iconic French film depicting Paris. "Paris Je t'aime" by Claudie Ossard and Emmanuel Benbihy (2006) ranks first while 1995 feature film "La Haine," by Mathieu Kassovitz, takes the third place for French-language productions.

And with all the time that we're spending at home these days, there should be plenty of opportunities to discover or rediscover these classics.