We all have our personal favorite rom com. Maybe you cry along with Joseph Gordon-Levitt during 500 Days of Summer at least once a year. Or maybe you’re desperately waiting for the sequel to Crazy Rich Asians. But do you have a favorite French rom com? If you think Amélie is the only one out there, then you’re in for a treat! Also, you should probably devote your entire Valentine’s Day weekend to watching as many of the movies on our list as you can. There are 14, so that’s only 7 movies a day, which is, let’s face it, kind of manageable… Get ready to see Romain Duris and Audrey Tautou in a lot of different roles: they’re basically the French equivalents of Katherine Heigl and Hugh Grant!
By Sophia Millman
Mon Inconnue – Love at Second Sight (2019)
Raphaël, played by François Civil (a.k.a. the hot brother on Call My Agent) and Olivia (Joséphine Japy) have been in love since high school. After they get into a huge argument, Raphaël goes to bed and wakes up in a parallel universe… in which Olivia is famous, engaged, and doesn’t know him. Can he win her back? This recent rom com is a favorite of French critics and audiences alike.
Deux Moi – Someone, Somewhere (2019)
Director Cédric Klapisch (famous for his Spanish Apartment trilogy) paints a realistic portrait of how difficult it can be to find someone in our hyper-connected era. Rémy (François Civil, again!) and Mélanie (Ana Girardot) both live in Paris and suffer from depression and loneliness. Through therapy, the two neighbors will eventually cross paths.
Tout le monde debout – Rolling to You (2018)
Jocelyn, a successful businessman, is a flirt and an inveterate liar. Bored at a party, he decides to seduce a pretty young woman by pretending to need a wheelchair. All goes according to plan until the day he falls in love with her sister, who is physically handicapped. Actress Alexander Lamy shines in this film.
Embrasse-moi ! – Kiss Me! (2017)
Despite her chaotic lovelife and recent break-up, Océane Rose Marie still believes in love. When she meets the charming photographer Cécile, she falls head over heels in love. Cécile, on the other hand, is less interested in a relationship. Can Océane win her over? You may recognize Laure Calamy (Naomie from Call My Agent) in this!
Toute Première Fois – I Kissed a Girl (2015)
Noémie Saglio, who co-created the hit Netflix series Plan Coeur (The Hookup Plan), wrote this original rom com which explores a character’s bisexuality. Jérémie (Pio Marmaï) is a successful gay entrepreneur who lives with Antoine (Lannick Gautry). His life is turned upside down when he meets the beautiful Adna (Adrianna Gradziel), the first woman he’ll ever sleep with. The movie stars Camille Cottin from Call My Agent.
20 ans d’écart – It Boy (2013)
Alice Lantins (Virginie Efira) is 38 years old. She’s beautiful, ambitious and has such a strong work ethic that she neglects her private life. In short, she has everything to become the next editor-in-chief of “Rebelle” magazine. There’s only one thing holding her back: the magazine staff finds her stuffy. When the young and charming Balthazar (Pierre Niney), barely 20 years old, crosses Alice’s path, her life will change.
Amour et turbulences – Love Is in the Air (2013)
Julie, a sculptor, gets on a New York-Paris flight to meet Franck, her future husband. Antoine, a lady’s man, also leaves the Big Apple for the City of Light where he hopes to land an important position. On the plane, the two find themselves side by side. It so happens that Julie and Antoine used to date. During the flight, memories will resurface and Julie will have to decide between her old and new loves.
Spring 1958. Rose Pamphyle (Déborah François), 21 years old, lives with her father in a small Norman village. She has to marry the garage owner’s son and is promised the destiny of a docile and diligent housewife. But Rose wants something more. She leaves for Lisieux where Louis Echard (Romain Duris), a charismatic boss of an insurance firm, is looking for a secretary. With Louis, she discovers that she has a talent for typing.
Les Émotifs anonymes – Romantics Anonymous (2010)
Jean-René (Benoît Poelvoorde), the owner of a chocolate factory, and Angélique (Isabelle Carré), a talented chocolate maker, are two highly emotional people. They share a passion for chocolate and fall in love without daring to admit it. Will their shyness keep them apart or will they overcome their lack of self-confidence?
L’arnacoeur – Heartbreaker (2010)
Do you think one of your friends or family members could find someone better than their partner? Have you ever thought about hiring an actor (and heartbreaker) to split them up? In this classic rom com, Vanessa Paradis plays a rich heiress and future bride. The charming Romain Duris is hired to seduce her and make her leave her fiancé. Unsurprisingly, he lets his guard down and is seduced in turn. This is perhaps the French rom com; French Vogue selected it as the number 1 rom com of all time on their list.
Ensemble c’est tout – Hunting and Gathering (2007)
If you’re looking for a French romantic novel, then you should read Anna Gavalda’s book Ensemble, c’est tout before watching the movie it’s based on! Audrey Tautou plays the discreet Camille, a professional housekeeper with a complicated past. She ends up rooming with Guillaume Canet, who plays Franck, a gruff chef. Thanks to their vivacious neighbor Philibert (Laurent Stocker), both characters will discover new sides of themselves.
Prête-moi ta main – I Do (2006)
This surprise box office hit stars beloved French comedian Alain Chabat, who plays Luis, a 43-year-old bachelor. Luis hires a fake fiancée (Charlotte Gainsbourg) to appease his mother and five sisters. Unfortunately, she’s only willing to play along by her own rules. The result is a hilarious set of misunderstandings and spectacular scenes, including a BDSM session gone wrong.
Sur mes lèvres – Read My Lips (2001)
This César-winning film is a bit darker than the other rom coms on our list, but if you’re a fan of actor Vincent Cassel or director Jacques Audiard, then it’s a must-watch. 35-year-old Carla (Emmanuelle Devos) works at a real estate agency and is deaf. Nothing happens in her life: she is alone, underpaid and exploited by her employers. Her boss decides to hire a new employee. Played by Cassel, Paul Angeli is a thug who has just been released from prison. Carla and Paul develop a unique relationship.
Les Demoiselles de Rochefort (1967)
Jacques Demy’s brilliant musical was nominated for an Oscar in 1969 for Best Music. With its jazzy score, pastel paradise of costumes, and fabulous cast (Gene Kelly and real-life sisters Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Dorléac), this film remains a French favorite. Twins Delphine and Solange, a dance instructor and a music teacher, long for big-city life. When a fair comes through their quiet port town, so does the possibility of escape.
Bonus: Perdrix (2019)
We have yet to see this movie, but it got rave reviews at Cannes. Its cast includes Fanny Ardant and the plot sounds highly unconventional. Keep your eye out for its US release later this year!
Need even more French rom com recs?
Here are 14 more suggestions! Note: some of them are less well-known in the US and it may be difficult to find versions with English subtitles.
💗 Un peu, beaucoup, aveuglément – Blind Date (2015)
💗 Le goût des merveilles – The Sense of Wonder (2015)
💗 Les combattants – Love at First Fight (2014)
💗 Joséphine (2013)
💗 Un bonheur n’arrive jamais seul – Happiness Never Comes Alone (2012)
💗 La Délicatesse – Delicacy (2011)
💗 L’amour dure trois ans – Love Lasts Three Years (2011)
💗 Le Nom des gens – The Names of Love (2010)
💗 Je crois que je l’aime – Could This Be Love? (2007)
💗 Hors de prix – Priceless (2006)
💗 Ma vie en l’air – Love Is in the Air (2005)
💗 Jeux d’enfants – Love Me If You Dare (2003)
💗 Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain – Amélie (2001)
💗 Romuald et Juliette – Mama, There’s A Man In Your Bed (1989)