(CNN) — So you can’t jet off to Paris just now, but you can savor the tastes, the sites, the sounds of France’s capital city through the lens of film, food, music, style, history and culture. So when the time comes you’ll be ready to plan your first or next trip to the City of Light– hopefully sooner rather than later.
Adorn your home with flowers that evoke Paris in the springtime. Or simply open a bottle of red or white wine from Burgundy and thumb through a transporting book of Paris photographs or dig into some classic literature.
However you decide to bring a bit of Paris into your home, think of this charming line spoken by Audrey Hepburn in Billy Wilder’s classic 1954 film, “Sabrina”: “Paris is for throwing open the windows and letting in la vie en rose.”
Watch and love
A scene to relish in Woody Allen’s 2011 “Midnight in Paris” stars Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams.
Sony Pictures Classics
Movies inspire and transport the viewer into the screen, particularly ones that ignite intense emotion. Whether it’s to laugh or cry or brood or sing or remember, watching old films about or filmed in Paris will help you to feel as if you’re actually walking those famous cobblestone streets.
Since Paris is the setting for so many classic, memorable, miserable and joyous movies, no matter what your bent, there will definitely be one picture you’ll love. Here are 11 perfectly Parisian movies and where you can stream them. If we missed one of your favorites, let us know.
Set the mood
Power blooms in the lobby of the Four Seasons George V. Paris delight the senses.
The magic of music
French singer Edith Piaf performs on stage at the Olympia concert hall in Paris on December 30, 1960.
STF/AFP/AFP via Getty Images
Edith Piaf, Louis Armstrong, Iggy Pop. There are multiple renditions of the Parisian classic, “La Vie en Rose.” Curate your own playlist with Apple Music, Spotify, or just ask Alexa to “play French music.” Whatever your taste, there’s a playlist or song perfect for preparing morning coffee, writing in your journal, or making a delicious coq au vin. For those in search of something unique and unusual, try Iggy Pop’s French album, “Apres.”
Learn the language
“Bonjour, madame. Ou est le bibliothèque?”
If you’ve ever taken a high school French class, this phrase is probably familiar. Learning a new language, or brushing up on one you once studied, is easier now than it has ever been. There are workbooks, apps, podcasts, YouTube videos and individual instruction via video chat.
Jessica Vollman, CEO of Fluent City, online learning platform with more than over 35,000 students says, “My love of travel and learning about new cultures was the first thing that drove me to pursue language learning. While we may not be able to sit in a Parisian cafe physically right now, we can practice French with real teachers online while we are all at home.”
Fluency may or may not be your goal, but spending a little time learning to speak French phrases will no doubt put a smile on your face. Mais oui!
Here are a few resources to begin your linguistic journey:
Museums and landmarks
Step inside the Musée d’Orsay from your home computer.
It’s impossible to replicate the emotion that comes from viewing art, architecture or picturesque views in real life. Stendhal syndrome (a psychosymatic illness that, according to Psychology Today, is triggered by “works of art that are perceived by the individual to be beautiful and all housed in one place”) doesn’t occur on a screen. But maybe with the right kind of digital immersion you may experience “Screendhal syndrome?”
The Sacre Coeur Basilica offers sweeping views of Paris.
Paris on the page
“Les Misérables” by Victor Hugo (1862)
The story of an ex-convict, his adopted daughter, love, loss and revolution. Adapted into multiple series, films and an award-winning musical.
“The Ambassadors” by Henry James (1903)
An middle-aged American man’s life is rocked and transformed by visiting Paris.
“The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas” by Gertrude Stein (1933) and “A Moveable Feast” by Ernest Hemingway (1964)
Both books feature the bohemian, literary and artistic life in 1920s Paris.
“The Dud Avocado” by Elaine Dundy (1958)
A young woman moves to Paris in the late 1950s and has the time of her life.
“Paris to the Moon” by Adam Gopnick (2000)
A chronicle of The New Yorker’s Paris correspondent’s life in the French capitol
Photos from a trip not taken
Photography books are more than décor for your coffee table. They’re transporting time machines, a way to experience a place during a bygone era. We’ve selected three of the most seminal Paris photography books for your viewing pleasure (and yes, they up your home’s chic factor). If you want to go the extra mile, you can use an Xacto knife and frame a few of these famous photographs to hang on your walls.
“Elliott Erwitt’s Paris”
Erwitt, a Parisian-born, New York City-based photographer, captures Paris without the gloss. The people and places of Paris are in clear focus, black-and-white, arresting and moving, offering a sense of place that draws the viewer into the frame.
“The Best of Doisneau: Paris”
The unofficial documentarian of 20th-Century Paris, Robert Doisneau photographed the occupation and liberation of Paris then pivoted to a fashion photographer and chronicler of Parisian life and culture. His “Kiss by the Hotel De Ville, 1950” is probably his most iconic work, seen largely in poster form on the walls of university dorm rooms.
“Brassai: Paris by Night”
Another collection of black-and-white photographs, with a dreamy and surreal quality. Brassai, a pseudonym adopted by Gyula Halász, the Hungarian-born photographer, captured the grit and the glamor of Paris after dark, from the shining Eiffel Tower to the news agent hunkering in his newsstand. The contrast of light and dark creates a surreal quality that is at once haunting and beautiful.
The art of French cooking
The caviar-topped baked potato from Caviar Kaspia in Paris
For Americans and people the world over, French cuisine is an influence and chefs trained in the kitchens of Paris’ greatest restaurants are considered some of the best in the world. Nothing feels more French than baking croissants or standing by the stove tending to boeuf bourguignon. Cooking at home replicates the tastes, smells and delicacies of Paris.
Keep it simple
Sometimes simplest is best.
A baguette, some cheese and a glass of red will also do the trick. Bon Appetit!