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French Favorites

Here is a selection of our favorite books, films, etc. about France.

Food & Wine Travel Guides Burgundy
 Fiction Literary Non-Fiction
Music Videos


by Lasse Hallström

Some of this little gem of a film was filmed in the village of Flavigny, in Burgundy.

The storyline of Juliette Binoche as a vagabond chocolate maker moving into a repressed French town on the eve of Lent is extremely original. The cinematography is exquisite, as is Johnny Depp if I do say so myself!

A great film to watch to get in the mood for a trip to France, or to rekindle memories of great times spent there. 

cover JEAN
by Claude Berri

cover MANON
by Claude Berri

The two films together form a masterpiece of filmmaking by Claude Berri. They are among my favorite movies of all time.  The actors, Yves Montand, Gerard Depardieu, Emmanuelle Beart, and Daniel Auteuil to name a few, are spectacular.

A simple story of the rivalry of two farmers in a rural village in France over a valuable spring not only transports us to another place and time, but reveals undeniable truths about human nature.

by Yves Robert


by Yves Robert


These companion films describe the picturesque childhood of beloved French writer Marcel Pagnol.

The films are both situated in the South of France at the turn of the century, and the images are breathtaking. The characters are all lovable and the storylines are full of gentle humour about childhood and the eye-opening experiences that make us grow up.

My Father's Glory came out just two months after I arrived in France for the first time and it was the first movie I ever saw over there. Even though my French was rudimentary at best, I was swept up with the story and had an amazing cinematic experience. I've watched these films several times since then, and every time it is a pleasure.

by Jean-Pierre Jeunet

I think this has to be one of the most charming movies I’ve ever seen. Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Delicatessen), the film is a visual feast filled to the brim with surreal images and saturated colour. The storyline is simple but magical, and the film possesses an unabashedly romantic heart. Amelie (played to impish perfection by newcomer Audrey Tatou) is a highly imaginative soul who has decided to fill her days by helping the lonely people around her fix their lives, only to come to the realization that it is her own lonely existence that needs fixing. Her quest for her soul-mate; a man who keeps a mysterious album of discarded photo-machine pictures, is a delightful cat and mouse game that is played out through the picturesque streets of Montmartre. If you feel like your life could use a dose of whimsy, treat yourself to this deservedly popular film.

The Amelie soundtrack, created by musician Yann Tiersen, has been a favorite of ours since we purchased the CD a few months ago. It’s music – heavily tinged with accordion and piano, has a gypsy soul. It stands apart from the movie, and is breezy, fresh, and contemporary while at the same time evoking the timeless charm of Montmartre.

by Jean-Paul Rappeneau

Each time Franck and I watch this movie it seems to get even more brilliant. Director Jean-Paul Rappeneau does a wonderful job of bringing this classic French story to screen. Casting Gerard Depardieu, France’s hulking behemoth of acting talent, as the vulnerable Cyrano is a stroke of genius.

Depardieu plays the unattractive, large nosed swordsman to perfection. Tears were streaming down my cheeks as I watched Cyrano pour his heart out in impassioned love letters to his beloved Roxanne, only to have her believe they have been written by one of his handsome underlings, Christian. Cyrano ends up teaching us all a lesson in honour and selfless love….not to mention panache.

There is also a strong Burgundy connection to this movie. Many scenes were shot at the Abbaye de Fontenay in Northern Burgundy, a beautiful old Abbey that is now a classed UNESCO World Heritage Site. A great place to visit while you are in Burgundy.

by Gérard Oury

This classic movie held the French cinematic record as the most successful movie for 30 years before finally being knocked off its pedestal by Titanic.

The storyline is a simple one. It is 1943 and three Allied parachutists land and turn the lives of Stanislas (Louis de Funes) and Augustin (Bouvril) upside-down. In order to get rid of these unwanted houseguests, Stanislas and Augustin must lead them to the Free Zone.

Beaune was right near the border between occupied and unoccupied France, and features frequently in the film –especially in the hilarious scene where our heros seek refuge with the nuns of the Hospices de Beaune. This movie is a point of reference for the French – a must if you want to bone up on your popular culture ŕ la francaise.

by Patrice Leconte

Admittedly, the opening scene is rather shocking to some sensibilities, but if you can get past this, Patrice Leconte’s film about the battle of the wits in the court of Louis XVI is pure delight.

The story centres around the modest nobleman Ponceludon de Malavoy travels to Versailles with an admirable purpose; he hopes that he can plead with the King to help him drain the fever-infested swamps of his homeland. However, once he is there he quickly discovers that in the court of Louis XVI gravitas is frowned upon, rapier wit is celebrated, and if you stay long enough, being the subject of ridicule is inevitable. De Malavoy is tutored in the ways of the Court by a delightfully sentimental and slow-witted Jean Rochefort, who just happens to have a beguiling daughter Mathilde. Fanny Ardant plays Madame de Blayac, the world-weary courtesan whose bedroom leads to the ear of the king. If you liked Dangerous Liaisons, you will love this film.

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