Top 10 films and series that are supposed to take place in France, but shot abroad

For reasons of budget, logistics, or budget (or logistics), quite a few scenes that were supposed to take place in France are shot in other countries. It is neither more nor less than a lie. Once again, cinema is lying to us. It’s hard to live with, but we get used to it. In short, here are a few small examples to illustrate our point. You won’t come back.

1. Sex Education (saison 3)

In season 3 of the series, the students go on a school trip to the Somme to visit a war memorial. Well, can you imagine that all these scenes have hardly been filmed in our regions: everything happened in the United Kingdom, the country of origin of Sex Education. The guys apparently didn’t want to move.

Sex education

2. Reign

The series, which is loosely based on the life of Mary Stuart, is largely set at the French court of King Henry II. However, almost everything was filmed in Ireland, especially in Ashford Castle, a medieval castle that now serves as a luxury hotel. And, if you are gifted in geography, you know that Ireland is not in France. You knew that, right?

Reign 1

3. Moulin Rouge

Although the film takes place entirely in Paris (or “Paname”, for people who are a bit too cool), it was not shot there at all. All sets were recreated at Fox Australia studios. We have been lied to, betrayed, defiled and even trampled on. Yes, just that.

Moulin rouge

4. 1917

The plot of 1917 takes place at the Hindenburg Line, in the North-East of France, but all the beautiful trenches that we see on the screen are in fact located in the United Kingdom, between England and Europe. ‘Scotland. We were used to the historical lies of cinema, but here we are being lied to geographically and we take it very badly.


5. Les Miserables (2012)

Apart from a few scenes from the beginning which are shot in the Alpes-Maritimes, all the rest of the film is supposed to take place in Paris. Well hang in there: it wasn’t filmed in Paris, or even in France. Well, ok you kinda expected it. At the same time it is difficult to surprise you after 5 points. In short, know that everything was shot in England, between Winchester and Oxford via London (London, in French). We had our history stolen.


6. Downton Abbey (saison 2)

If you have not seen the series, know that at the end of season 1, the First World War is announced. The hard blow. Suddenly, in the 2, Matthew, one of the characters, goes to fight in the Battle of the Somme. In France, therefore. Yes yes. But the scenes which show the battlefields were in fact shot in the studios of Ackenham, in the East of England, so not at all in France if we are to believe our world map. It must be admitted that it was more practical because these studios are often used for filming re-enactments of historical battles. There was already everything you needed there.

Downton abbey

7. Benjamin Button

All of the scenes that were supposed to take place in Paris in the 1950s were actually shot in… I’ll give you a thousand… Montreal. At the same time, for the few scenes that take place there, it wasn’t really worth crossing the Atlantic.

Benjamin button

8. Catch Me If You Can

In Spielberg’s film, Tom Hanks ends up arresting DiCaprio in France, in the village of Montrichard (Loir-et-Cher, tmtc). As you are clever, you are beginning to suspect: it was not shot in the Loir-et-Cher, but in Quebec, on the royal square. Quebec having little French vibes, the city is regularly used to serve as a “French” setting. Well, now you know everything.


9. Red 2

Red 2, the film with Bruce Willis and John Malkovich, achieves a nice hat-trick since its scenes supposed to take place in Paris, Moscow or Virginia are all shot in Montreal. Already we were lied to believe that Bruce Willis and John Malkovich were still young enough to do stunts, we were also lied about the location of the story. It’s starting to get a lot…

Red 2

10. Ratatouille

So yes, in Ratatouille we see the Eiffel Tower, the quays of Paris and other emblematic places of our beautiful capital, but we regret to inform you that the Pixar film was NOT shot in France. No, it was actually made entirely in animation by Americans working behind computers. It’s disappointing, yes.


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