Paris: films to see before you go

This excerpt from Lonely Planet's Paris guide offers a selection of films showcasing the city.

Paris je TaimeParis, Je T’aime (Paris, I Love You; 2006) – an ode to Paris in 18 short films shot in different arrondissements (the 11e and 15e were dropped at the last minute) by different directors, including the Coen Brothers and Gus Van Sant.

La MomeLa Môme (La Vie en Rose; 2007) – biopic so faithful to the person and the time it’s as if Édith Piaf – played by the highly honoured (and deservedly so) Marion Cotillard – had just woken up from a long sleep at Père Lachaise cemetery. Incroyable.

AmelieLe Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain (Amelie; France, 2001) – one of the most popular French films internationally in years, Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s feel-good story of a winsome young Parisian dogooder named Amélie takes viewers on a colourful tour of Pigalle, Notre Dame, train stations and, above all, Montmartre.

BreathlessÀ Bout de Souffle (Breathless; France, 1959) – Jean-Luc Goddard’s first feature is a carefree, fast-paced B&W celebration of Paris – from av des Champs-Élysées to the cafés of the Left Bank.

Last Tango in ParisLast Tango in Paris (USA, 1972) – in Bernardo Bertolucci’s classic, Marlon Brando gives the performance of his career portraying a grief-stricken American in Paris who tries to find salvation in anonymous, sadomasochistic sex.

La HaineLa Haine (Hate; France, 1995) – Matthieu Kassovitz’s incendiary B&W film examines the racism, social repression and violence among Parisian beurs (young French-born Algerians).

Les Quatre Cents CoupsLes Quatre Cents Coups (The 400 Blows; France, 1959) – based on the French idiom faire les quatre cents coups (to raise hell), François Truffaut’s first film is the semiautobiographical story of a downtrodden and neglected Parisian teenage boy who turns to outward rebellion.

More cultural highlights can be found in the Lonely Planet guide to Paris