10 Must-Visit Movie Locations of Paris
“I can never decide whether Paris is more beautiful by day or by night…” says Adriana, as she and Gil stroll down the bank of the Seine River under the cover of darkness.
That’s a scene from the 2011 film Midnight in Paris. Almost all of this film was shot at various locations around the city; as are so many pieces of cinema that you’ve probably come to love.
One of the most enjoyable things you can do in Paris (at no cost either) is roam around and spotting locations that were once used as filming locations. In Paris, they are in abundance.
Some free guided walking tours will point them out to you along the way. For others, you’ll have to map them out yourself if there are specific ones you’d like to see.
The more well known attractions such as the Louvre and Eiffel Tower have naturally made appearances on the big screen more than once. I find it more fun to track down the lesser known attractions that directors chose as their filming locations.
Here are my top 10 must-visit movie locations of Paris.
1. Musée Rodin in Paris
Midnight in Paris by Woody Allen
Sticking with Midnight in Paris as our first point of exploration, the Rodin Museum is first on our list. You’ll find it on Paris’ Left Bank in the 7th arrondissement — an area notorious for beautiful garden grounds.
The museum is dedicated to the life and works of French sculptor Auguste Rodin. The works are housed in the beautiful 18th century mansion that calls this piece of land home.
You’ll recognize this location from the film in the scene where the main characters are roaming around some outdoor sculptures while learning about the history of the people depicted.
The grounds are breathtaking. This is one of the more calm and idyllic museums in Paris; you won’t fight long queues or big crowds to take part in this space.
The museum is just to the right of the legendary Invalides property. This is the most historic place In Paris in terms of military history. Napoleons tomb can be found here, preserved under the iconic Invalides dome.
2. Bridge Bir-Hakeim in Paris
Inception by Christopher Nolan
If you’re a Christopher Nolan fan then Paris becomes a bit of a playground in more ways that one. There were a few locations around the city where his ten year in the making film, Inception, was made.
The best known would be the twisting and turning Bir-Hakeim bridge. It features early on in the film when Dom Cobb is teach Ariadne to create dreams.
Structurally the bridge is beautiful. The double decker steel framework makes it a great place for a photo op.
The bridge is located just south of the Eiffel Tower, so the views of the tower from here are astounding. It is the closest bridge in proximity to the famous attraction. Best observed early, early morning or during sunset in my humble opinion.
The Parisian bridges are no stranger to the big screen. The Pont Alexandre III not far from the Bir-Hakeim was also used in Midnight in Paris. You’ll also likely recognize the Pont des Arts from the Sex and the City film.
3. Place de la Concorde in Paris
The Devil Wears Prada by David Frankel
The Place de la Concorde is a major public square in the very heart of the 1st arrondissement of Paris. It is the largest square in all of Paris.
It is not uncommon to find an array of public events and attractions taking place in this square. It is also the official location of the Big Wheel — a giant ferris wheel that is set up annual for Parisians to enjoy.
Despite being set in New York City, The Devil Wears Prada had a few scenes that took place in the fashion capital that is Paris. Avenue Montaigne is not far from the square and is where Anne Hathaway strolls down in the movie.
You’ll recognize the fountain in the square as the spot where Anne then disposes of her cellphone after decided that the fashion world is not for her after all. It’s the Tritan and Water Nymph fountain and it is exquisite. I can sit for hours admiring the intricate details inside the carvings.
4. Saint-Sulpice Church in Paris
Da Vinci Code by Ron Howard
The Da Vinci Code was a film that caused much hysteria around the world. It has a longstanding cult fanbase to this day.
The Louvre museum is widely recognizable for most of the film. However when it came time to choosing a church for the rest of the scenes, Ron Howard headed over to the Right Bank into the 6th arrondissement.
It is an exquisite church and the second largest in all of Paris. In the movie the church is supposedly built upon ancient ruins — this isn’t hard to believe in real life either. The construction dates back to the 12th century. It underwent some very necessary reconstruction in 2011.
The Saint-Sulpice church is central to a lot of other notable Parisian attractions that are accessible by foot. The Jardin du Luxembourg as well as the Luxembourg Museum are a short walk south of the church.
The Panthéon can also be reached easily by heading east .
The Saint-Sulpice church is a beautiful place to enjoy a Sunday afternoon. It doesn’t draw the crowds that the better known Notre Dame does so you wont be disturbed during your quite time in the space.
5. L’hôtel de Soubise in Paris
Marie Antoinette by Sofia Coppola
Marie Antoinette’s legacy is littered all over France. From her tomb in Saint Denis to her Turkish boudoir in the Château de Fontainebleau; it was inevitable that a film would be made about the once-queen’s life.
In the beautiful movie by Sofia Coppola we are shown historic Paris from the view of the French royals. Most of the film is of course set in Versailles, however there is a scene in which Miss Antoinette makes her oval office debut within the palace that was actually shot elsewhere.
The Soubise Hotel was chosen as the closest replica to Versailles. It is situated in the 3rd arrondissement amongst an area saturated by museums.
The “hotel” was originally built back in 1375. Today it houses the museum of French history. Both the interior, exterior and gardens are exceptionally beautiful — it is easy to see why this was nominated to represent the Versailles palace.
If you’re at all interested in French history then I highly recommend watching the full Marie Antoinette film if you have not yet already!
6. Le Nemours in Paris
The Tourist by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
You’ll recognize Le Nemours cafe from the scene in The Tourist where Angelina Jolie’s character is sitting and burning a letter.
Most people land up at Le Nemours after a day of sight seeing around the 1st arrondissement. Personally, I prefer to start the day here instead; they open at 7am, so enjoying a pot of tea and fresh croissant before the chaos of the city ensues is highly enjoyable.
The street seating has the better vibe, so opt for this if you can. It’s also fun to imagine yourself in Angelina’s shoes, fleeing from the enemy in the heart of Paris.
Directly below the cafe, to the south, is that main attraction strip. The Louvre and both it’s glass pyramids live here and just below them is the Seine River. Hence why I say this is the best place to start one’s day — walking distance to all the major sights that the 1st arrondissement has to offer.
If Le Nemours is full, and it may just be, then there is another great spot that I found a while ago directly across the road. Le Café Marly has a similar vibe to Le Nemours and usually has ample seating available. Unfortunately the nature of this district is crowding, so it is hard to avoid.
7. Le Café des deux Moulins in Paris
Amélie by Jean-Pierre Jeunet
One of my favorite ever French films, Amélie, left behind a little slice of heaven for fans of the movie to enjoy forever. We are very grateful!
The Café des Deux Moulins is in Montmartre. A gorgeous little town to walk through if you have not yet already. Same goes for watching the Amélie movie!
In the film, the main character Amélie works at this cafe during the day. The cafe has held the remnants of the movie close, there are photos of Amélie around the space as well as a salad named after her on the menu. A weird and wonderful salad for a weird and wonderful girl.
The staff at Café des Deux Moulins add to the ambiance. They are notoriously quirky and pull patrons into their fun. This is a great cafe to land up in when you are feeling particularly down.
8. Bistrot La Renaissance in Paris
Inglourious Bastards by Quentin Tarantino and Eli Roth
This next one is for all the Tarantino fans. Another beautiful Parisian cafe, the Bistrot La Renaissance, was used as an identifiable location within the film Inglorious Bastards.
Movie bluffs are probably reading this and already picturing the scene where Mélanie Laurent gets seduced by Daniel Bruhl right inside the bistro. The time period was intended to reflect the 1930s and this bistro captured it well.
It is situated right on the outer barrier of Paris, where the 18th and 17th arrondissement’s come together.
Unfortunately this bistro had to officially close it’s doors not so long ago. Fans of the film still visit the space and peer into the windows where you can see the same bar and memorabilia used in the film.
9. Shakespeare and Company Bookstore in Paris
Before Sunset by Richard Linklater
The Shakespeare and Company Bookstore is an institution in Paris. You shouldn’t need it’s appearance in the blockbuster Before Sunset to convince you to pay it a visit.
In the film Ethan Hawke’s character holds a book signing. This is a common occurrence in the space and you could attend one in real life if you get your schedule right.
The bookstore was opened back in 1919. It is a seller of both new and used books. There is a wall mural dedicated to the man himself, Shakespeare, as a sort of ode to his contribution to the literary world.
The bookshop is on the bank of the Seine in the very heart of Paris. It is usually filled with people, tourists and locals love frequenting the place, but if you go late at night you might be able to enjoy some peace within the space. Shakespeare and Co is open until 10pm.
10. Le Caveau du Huchette in Paris
La La Land by Damien Chazelle
Our last spot on the list is a wonderful little jazz club in the Latin Quarter of Paris. Le Caveau de Huchette makes a brief appearance in the recent musical La La Land.
The bar wasn’t well known before the film. It has since seen an immense rise in popularity as more and more people have recognized it from the motion picture. The space is similar to an old-time cellar style jazz bar from the 20s.
The streets of Paris are alive in more ways than you thought. Adding the element of Hollywood cinema to it will change a few of the ways that you view many of the attractions that make Paris… Paris!
Let me know if you ever solve Adriana’s question of whether Paris is more beautiful by day or by night, would you?