When I prepare for a trip, I do a lot of research. I read travel forums, visit museum websites, peruse travel blogs, check restaurant reviews, search city-specific Instagram hashtags, you name it. I want to make sure that I don’t miss out on any key information so I can ensure the best trip possible. When all the guidebooks have been read and all the key sights have been noted down, I just want to sit back and daydream about the trip to come. What better way to do that than through a little film escapism?
I’ve selected a few of my favourite movies that highlight some of the European cities that I’ve been to. Watching these films is a great way to get excited about an upcoming trip to these destinations (or reminisce about your recent trip abroad).
Before Sunset is the first film in the Richard Linklater-directed ‘Before‘ trilogy (Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, and Before Midnight). American traveller Jesse meets Parisian student Celine on a train bound for Vienna. After hitting it off on the train ride, Jesse convinces Celine to get off the train with him in Vienna. They spend the rest of the evening together before Jesse flies back to the US the following morning. I watched this movie shortly before heading to Vienna for the first time and made a point to visit many locations in the film, like Café Sperl and the Prater.
Related: A Winter Getaway to Vienna – Sights, A Winter Getaway to Vienna – Museums, and A Winter Getaway to Vienna – Food
There are so many films set in The City of Light, but I’ve selected just a few of my favourites.
This 1995 romantic comedy tells the story of an American woman who flies to Paris to confront her ex-fiancé. She gets caught up in the misadventures of a Frenchman who uses her to smuggle a stolen diamond necklace. Though the film is set in the US as well as in Provence, the scenes in Paris are some of the most memorable.
Yes, this film is animated, but the way Paris is characterized is wonderful! The subtle details like the lights on the Seine at night or the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Parisian street signs are perfection. I watched this film shortly after returning from a lovely trip to Paris and it made me feel like I was right back in the city.
The 2004 sequel to the 1995 film Before Sunrise, Before Sunset catches up with star-crossed lovers Jesse and Celine, an American and a Frenchwoman who met nine years earlier on a train to Vienna. They reunite in Paris and spend the day exploring the city together before Jesse must return on a flight to the US that evening.
Related: Sightseeing in Paris and My Private Paris French Food Tour
Good Bye, Lenin!
Good bye, Lenin! is a multi award-winning 2003 tragicomedy set in East Berlin in October 1989. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, a young man protects his fragile mother (who has just awoken from a long coma) from learning that her beloved nation of East Germany is no longer. Hilarity ensues as he and his sister attempt to cover up any traces of the new West German influence in their surroundings. Filmed in the Karl-Marx-Allee in Berlin and around Alexanderplatz in the city centre, this film is a great introduction to Germany’s capital.
Related: Spring Getaway to Berlin – Sights, Spring Getaway to Berlin – Food, and Berlin Food Tour