Lately we’ve been thinking about the films that make us fall more in love with France every time we watch them. So, in honour of the upcoming Cannes film festival in May, here’s three of our favourite films set in France to get you in the mood. We’ve also lined up the best French villas and chateaux to stay in to enjoy the best the area has to offer.
The film: Chocolat (2000)
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Chocolat, starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp is based on the novel by Joanne Harris. It tells the story of a travelling mother and her daughter, who arrive at a starchy French village and turn it upside down. The chocolaterie they open during lent causes controversy and scandal, and tests the wills of the villagers. A funny, touching and visually beautiful film that will have you craving dinner parties under the stars, lazy afternoons by the river, French village life and chocolate. Filming took place in the village of Flavigny-sur-Ozerain in Burgundy and on the Dordogne River.
Where to stay:
La Tour De Fontaine, Burgundy
500 year-old Le Tour De Fontaine is a large chateau, with wooded grounds that stretch down to a calm riverside beach. It is set in a secluded, rural area around a 40minute drive from the village where Chocolat was filmed. It has extensive outdoor dining potential, perfect for dinner parties on warm summer evenings.
Price from: £38pppn
C18th Burgundy Chateau, Burgundy
Although much grander than anything you’ll see in Chocolat, this imposing 18th century chateau is in the heart of Burgundy, just 40 minutes’ drive from Flavigny-sur-Ozerain. In this French villa you’ll be ideally located to explore the rolling hills, vineyards and villages of the area. For days when you want to relax, the chateau has a rowing boat at your disposal and extensive grounds to explore.
Prices from: £117pppn
Villa Shambhala, Dordogne
Right on the banks of the Dordogne River, this French villa is the perfect base for hosting a river party and dancing under the stars. The huge terrace and secluded waterside location will make you feel like you are living on the movie set. You even have access to a boat if you feel like releasing your inner river-gypsy. Enjoy swimming in the healing waters of the Dordogne after spending the day in the vineyards and villages in the area.
Price from: £18pppn
The film: A Good Year (2006)
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Russell Crowe plays a money-obsessed London banker who is forced into a sudden life overhaul when he gets left his uncle’s chateau and vineyard in Provence. First thinking he will try to sell the estate, Crowe discovers a new lifestyle and long-forgotten joys from his childhood. This is a life-affirming film which will inspire you to learn about wine, Provence and enjoying life to its fullest. It was filmed in Cucuron and throughout the stunning landscapes of the Vaucluse and Luberon areas.
Where to stay:
Mas Mayeaux, Provence-Alpes
This casual and unique stone villa is perched on a hill, with stunning views across the Luberon to soak in. The outside is a rustic stone haphazard villa, with idyllic blue painted shutters, wisteria and grape vines clinging to it. The interior of this French villa is full of quirky objects and sculptures gathered and made by the it’s artist owners. A scenic 30 minute drive will take you to the village of Curcuron, where much of the filming took place.
Price from: £36pppn
Villa Cerise, Provence-Alpes
Just over mile away from the pretty Provence market town of Apt, and half an hour from Cucuron this villa is a great spot to base yourself for wandering around the gorgeous scenery and vineyards in the area. This bastide was once a gentlemen’s retreat in the 18th century, and you’ll still find the traces of the old maze in the grounds.
Price from: £38pppn
The film: Midnight in Paris (2011)
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Midnight in Paris is a modern Woody Allen classic. Struggling writer Gill, (Owen Wilson) visits Paris with his glamourous fiancée and her snooty family. Gill’s wistful optimism shines through as he begins to realize he is out of place on his holiday, and in his life. His love of Paris leads him to wander the city at night, and at midnight somehow finds himself transported to the Paris of the roaring twenties, complete with Dali, Picasso, Hemingway et. al. Sets feature Monet’s water garden, Versailles, and the romance of Paris in the rain. A perfect movie to fall in love with Paris, idealism and probably Owen Wilson.
Where to stay:
Chateau Boumont, Paris region
Modern luxury meets belle epoque in this magnificent old country estate. The groomed grounds are yours to explore at this bolthole just 30kmfrom the allure of Paris. It’s also very close to Jean-Jacques Rousseau Museum, if you want to brush up on your historical knowledge to impress any guests.
Price from: £99pppn
Feeling suitably wooed by France’s filmstar charms? Or maybe you have another movie suggestion for us that made you need to go to France? We have a fantastic range of French chateaux and villas, no matter which region is calling to you. We also have some fantastic travel guides for Provence, the Dordogne and Burgundy to make sure you get the most out of your holiday. If you need some advice, our concierge team will be happy to help.