Photo © @emilyinparis
We all love the ability of TV shows to whisk us away to a different life in whichever corner of the globe we fancy that evening. If only travel itself was that easy! Nevertheless, getting a taste of France can occur well before you ever step foot in the country.
With their rich cinematic history, French TV shows prove particularly adept at providing a genuine insight into culture and lifestyle.
Whether you’re seeking to broaden your understanding or prepare for your travel ventures this year, we’ve collected our favorite shows — from elegant period dramas like “Transatlantic,” to “Lupin,” which subtly delves into the historical complexities of French society — will have viewers feeling immediately transported to France and immersed in the rich tapestry of the French way of life.
Dix Percent (“10 Percent”)
Also known as “Call My Agent!,” this behind-the-scenes drama provides an insider’s view of a talent agency in Paris. Blending humor and drama, the show navigates the challenges faced by agents and actors alike, offering a glimpse into the intricacies of the entertainment world. With a different French film star cameoing in each episode, the show effortlessly buffs up your knowledge of the A-lister names, although we recommend anyone without a near-native level of French watch with subtitles – they speak exceptionally fast!
“Lupin,” inspired by the iconic French literary character Arsène Lupin, is a gripping heist thriller that has garnered international acclaim. Viewers are taken on a riveting journey into the cunning world of Assane Diop, a mastermind gentleman thief. As Assane orchestrates his elaborate schemes, the narrative cleverly interweaves elements that shed light on the socio-economic landscape of contemporary France.
Through the lens of Assane’s adventures, viewers are invited to explore the darker corners of French society, where the consequences of inequality and societal prejudices become palpable. The character’s quest for justice and retribution becomes a symbolic exploration of the broader issues that resonate in the real world.
Emily in Paris
“Emily in Paris,” a creation of Darren Star, famous for “Sex and the City”, captures the allure of Paris seen through the light-filled eyes of the titular character, Emily Cooper. Despite its popularity, the show has faced criticism for its caricaturistic portrayal of the French and the superficiality of its narrative. However, when watched with its tendencies to romanticize and stereotype in mind, we see no harm in indulging in this comedic-drama’s frothy depiction of imaginary — or real… — Parisian life!
If you have already seen the first few seasons and you are eagerly awaiting to know what will happen next, you are in luck – filming for Season Four has officially started!
In contrast, “Plan Coeur” (“The Hook-Up Plan”), takes a decidedly realistic approach, delving into the messy and unpredictable nature of modern relationships while following a close-knit group of friends in Paris. Portraying the complexities of dating, heartbreak, and the ever-evolving dynamics of friendship and professional life, the series makes for relatable viewing while maintaining a fairly accurate depiction of contemporary French society.
Les Gouttes de Dieu (“Drops of God”)
This Japanese-French co-production, set between the picturesque vineyards of France and the bustling city of Tokyo, follows a competition series created by a world-renowned wine critic between his estranged daughter and his best oenology student to inherit his multi-million dollar wine collection. As the characters decipher the nuances of wine and its cultural significance, the series seamlessly weaves together elements of French viticulture, gastronomy, and art, providing a unique lens through which viewers can explore the depths of one of the finer features of French culture.
The Parisian Agency
Departing from traditional scripted dramas, this show adopts a documentary-style approach to immerse viewers in the opulence and exclusivity of the world of luxury real estate in Paris. Introduced to a team of real estate professionals, viewers are invited for an exclusive glimpse not only at some of the city’s most coveted neighborhoods and properties, from historic mansions to contemporary penthouses, but into the intricate world of selling these high-end homes with finesse and flair.
“Transatlantic” follows two Americans as they band together their allies and set up an underground rescue operation in 1940s Marseille. The show’s intricate storytelling includes references to many notable writers and artists of the time, including Marc Chagall, Marcel Duchamp and Peggy Guggenheim, as they help refugees fleeing Europe or flee the effects of war themselves….
Check out our itinerary to Marseille to help you set the scene as you watch Transatlantic!