If you’re looking for light and laid back viewing with a heavy focus on French scenery, then ‘Paris Can Wait’ is the film to watch. Directed by Eleanor Coppola and starring Diane Lane and Arnaud Viard, the feel-good film is a feast for the eyes; presenting gastronomic delights and gorgeous scenes in a road trip through France. Read on for the best of Paris Can Wait filming locations…
Paris Can Wait Plot
The basic plot of the film is that out of love husband-wife duo, movie-producer Michael (played by Alec Baldwin) and Anne (played by Diane Lane), are on a business trip in France. They barely speak and it appears, from the very beginning, that Michael is too focused on work to give Anne any attention. All in all, their marriage is on the rocks.
Anne is suffering from ear problems from the flight to France and opts out of a visit to Budapest, where she was meant to accompany her husband, and instead wishes to go straight to Paris, where they’ll regroup. Instead, Michael’s business partner, oh-so-charming Frenchman, Jacques (played by Arnaud Viard) offers to drive Anne to Paris. And, as the name of the film suggests, he’s intent on taking the long way around, i.e. Paris Can Wait.
En route, viewers are taken on a slow-travel road trip through the French countryside, with stops at ancient Roman cities turned sleepy towns, whimsical scenes of the Provençal lavender in bloom, and the cultural city of Lyon. Also worth noting is the sheer volume of wonderful culinary delights that the film highlights; from the world-famous Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine to eating escargots.
Throughout the film, there’s a focus on fresh produce, and many scenes showcase mouthwatering dishes, fresh strawberries, and rich red wines. In one scene, Anne even asks Jacques “Does everything remind you of eating?”. All in all, this fun film is easy to watch and will have you dreaming about France in no time.
Cannes doesn’t feature much in the film, but it is indeed where the opening movie scenes are shot. Particularly highlights are glittering shots of the sparkling French Riviera coastline, and the kind of hotel you wish you could be whisked away to ASAP.
Pont du Gard
One of the first road-trip stops in the movie, after dropping Michael off at the airport, is the world-famous Pont du Gard. Constructed by the Romans in the 1st century CE, the magnificent bridge was built so as to transport water some 50 km to the Roman colony of Nemausus. Today, the bridge is pretty well-preserved and is as impressive as ever, dominating the surrounding Provence countryside.
The first road trip overnight stop is the tiny city of Vienne, a beautiful Roman city turned French countryside town, complete with many an incredible Roman ruins which can still be spied today. In the film, Anne and Jacques stay in a luxurious hotel, enjoy a delicious typically French meal, and see some of the aforementioned Roman ruins.
The foodie South West French city of Lyon is a pretty fitting place for the road trip to head to, not only because it’s in the heart of France, but also because of all the gastronomic delights which Lyon has to offer even the most discerning of travellers.
The arrival in Lyon sees another half day break, which is paired with an equally mouthwatering meal. Other monuments and attractions of Lyon which are featured as Paris Can Wait filming locations include the Museum of Cinema Miniature, the Textile Museum in Lyon, and a lunch in a bouchon (a quintessential hole in the wall restaurant in Lyon which serves local and traditional food).
After berating Jacques for forcing them to take so many stops en route to Paris, there is a montage of beautiful vineyards and endless french highways. Before too long, Anne spies one of the brown heritage signs which line the French road systems and designate historic and important sites of note.
She insists that they stop off at the beautiful Burgundy town of Vezelay so as to enjoy the cathedral and see the historic city. Indeed, both the town of Vezelay and its 11th-century Romanesque Basilica of St Magdalene are both UNESCO world heritage sites.
What was only meant to be a quick stop inevitably turns into another slow travel break, before Jacques proposes that the duo dine in the ‘best food place in Vezelay’. And so thus, another montage of delicious dinner scenes ensues surrounded by Gothic arches and beautifully lit tables.
Indeed, as the name of the film suggests, Jacques and Anne do indeed end their road trip in Paris. Following the dinner at Vezelay, Jacques and Anne complete their road trip to Paris, driving the final few hours through the night. Only a few darkly lit streets of Paris at night feature in the film, and only then, for the final ten minutes of the film. If you want to see the film for yourself, I won’t spoil the ending!