« A mes yeux Paris restera le décor d’un roman que personne n’écrira jamais.»**
Paris, Julien Green, 1984
Before we get to this week’s post, I wanted to revisit last week. While I included examples like Bonjour / Bonne journée, I forgot to include Bonsoir et Bonne soirée (good evening) . . . and bonne matinée . . . and bon après-midi. I also forgot to clarify an important point of usage. A general rule and an easy way to remember which of these expressions to use when, is to know that the masculine forms are greetings, while the feminine versions are used when wishing someone a pleasant time upon leaving.
|Time of day||Coming . . .||And going . . .|
|Before noon||Bonjour / Hello, good morning||Bonne journée / Have a good day|
|Noon to 6:00 (ish)||Bonjour / Hello, good afternoon||Bonne après-midi / Have a nice afternoon|
|After 6:00 pm||Bonsoir / Hello, good evening||Bonne soirée / Have a nice evening|
|At bedtime!||n/a||Bonne nuit / Good night|
Now back to today’s topic! There have been many, many, many books written about Paris, despite author Julien Green’s assertion in the quote that opens this post. But anyone who has spent any time in Paris knows, there is just something undefinable about the city that simply has to be experienced. Paris, more than many cities, has a feeling, a mood, a personality, constant and eternal, but changing with each season, moment of the day, and change in the weather.
Some people love Paris in the springtime. Some people love Paris by night. I love Paris all the time and I always do find that each Paris (Paris sous le soleil / Paris in the sun; Paris sous la pluie / Paris in the rain; Paris l’hiver / Paris in the winter; Paris en été / Paris in the summer . . . ) is unique and wonderful. No amount of words can truly capture Paris . . . but for my money, sometimes a movie can!
For your viewing pleasure this week, a few of my favorite movies (American and French) that always put me in a French frame of mind.
A view of an older, slightly grittier Paris to be sure, but with some great scenes of the city especially of the quais along the Seine . . . and a classic 80’s soundtrack to boot. “Frantic” stars Harrison Ford as a buttoned-up-yet-desperate husband searching for his missing wife with the help of a young French woman of questionable background.
French Kiss, 1995
Kevin Kline stars opposite Meg Ryan playing a surprisingly convincing Frenchman with a certain je-ne-sais quoi in this charming romantic comedy. Most of the movie takes place in the south of France, but the early scenes in Paris capture the sights and sounds of the city in a way that movies don’t always get right.
A charming classic of French cinema, Amélie (as it is known in English), is as in love with the neighborhoods of Paris as it is with its main characters. The production team did digitally “clean up” the city, but that just adds to the charm.
Julie & Julia, 2009
How can you go wrong with a movie that combines France and food . . . and a very sweet portrayal of the always endearing Julie Child? And who knew that Julia Child didn’t write the classic cooking master work, Mastering the Art of French Cooking by herself?
Midnight in Paris, 2011
This time-traveling Woody Allen film
lets you enjoy Paris of today and yesteryear
all in one package!
And we can’t forget something for the kids . . . Anastasia, 1997
Et vous? What are your favorite movies (French or otherwise) that feature the City of Lights or that put you in a French (or even a francophone!) mood?
* “Quiet on the set! We’re rolling.” Another common expression you’ll hear on French movie sets is “Silence, moteur . . . Action!” (“Silence, motor . . . action!”), the equivalent of the English “Lights, camera, action!”.
** “In my eyes Paris will always be the setting for a novel that no one will ever write.”