Whether you prefer fine cuisine, masterful painting, inspired sculptures, intricate gardens, filmography, photography or dance, there is a specialty and famous work of art that was performed in or inspired by the City of Light. Today we are looking at four films that you must watch before you visit Paris. They will charm you, make you laugh and gives insight into the culture and livelihood that encompass Paris. As soon as you land you’ll recognize your surroundings and feel inspired by the city as well.

La Vie en Rose – 2007

A biopic about the iconic French singer Edith Piaf, played by Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose translates literally to “Life in Pink” but more aptly, the metaphorical translation is “life through rose-coloured glasses.” From Piaf’s humble beginnings through the height of her fame, the film addresses the struggles of celebrity, addiction, wealth and talent in an un-ordered timeline of the singer’s life. The film was the first ever French-language film to win an Oscar and Cotillard won an Academy Award for her performance as well. While the film is not explicitly about Paris, Piaf’s life is intertwined with the city and the culture of Paris in the early 1940s.

Midnight in Paris – 2011

This Woody Allen film boasts an all-star cast of actors and actresses, acting as a love letter to the city as it explores the nostalgia that is inherently a part of Paris. Screenwriter Gil and his materialistic fiancée Inez are in Paris vacationing, and Gil is transported through time every night at midnight to explore the history of the city, and the famous people who called it home, including Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Each night brings a new adventure, a new friend or two, and a new point of view on the city that is constantly reinventing itself.

Amelie – 2001

This is one of the most popular French films internationally in years, and Jean-Pierre Jeunet weaves a feel-good story about a young Parisian do-gooder named Amelie. Actress Audrey Tautou plays the shy waitress Amelie, who decided to change the lives of those around her for the better, even as she struggles internally with her own isolation. She takes viewers on a colourful adventure of Pigalle, Notre Dame, train stations around Paris and above all, Montmartre. With a film full of whimsy, fun, spirit and magic, it’s hard not to get pulled into Amelie’s story and learn about Paris in the process.

Ratatouille – 2007

The masterful animators at Pixar created this heart-warming and goofy kid’s movie, Ratatouille, about a rat who works in a kitchen with a human chef because the rat is a superb cook with skills beyond many humans. It touches on the importance of cuisine in France, and the high standards the city’s chefs are held to. But it’s also light-hearted and fun for kids and adults, and it displays Paris in a gorgeous, stylized manner. While it may be animated, the City of Light has never looked lovelier than in Ratatouille.

Paris is a multi-faceted city that shows different parts of its personality to different visitors. No matter what kind of art inspires you, or if you are still learning about the kinds of art that exist, Paris is perhaps the best place in the world to explore creativity, spirit and inspiration. Before you take off, be sure to watch a film or two about the city to understand how movies portray the atmosphere, magic and the essence of Paris. And, be sure to purchase an international travel insurance plan from Cover-More Australia to protect your holiday, your plans and your health.

Image courtesy of Flickr user kimdokhac.