Instead of “Emily in Paris”: 10 TV shows to get to know the real France

One of the most talked about recent premieres was the series Emily in Paris. However, the audience was in no hurry to choke with delight – the story of an American woman who moved to the capital of France was filled with clichés and stereotypes that were not appreciated either by the French themselves, or by the discerning public, who watched the Eiffel Tower, croissants and berets without previous delight.

In our material, we have collected nine TV series (and one bonus) to get to know the real France (and practice French).

Candice Renoir, aired since 2013

“Candice Renoir” is one of the main hits of French television. In 2020, France 2 has already released its eighth season. The audience’s love, perhaps, can be explained by a pleasant mixture of genres – this is such a “detective story with a human face” and a very noticeable comedic color.

Shot from the series "Candice Renoir"Shot from the TV series “Candice Renoir”

The main character, Major of the Parisian Criminal Police, Candice Renoir, is not an ideal fearless cop, but a woman with four children and a baggage of personal and domestic problems: from divorce from her husband to professional complexes. The fact is that according to the plot, Renoir returns to service after a ten-year break. But they send her not to the former department in Paris, where she served before, but to Montpellier.

Shot from the series "Candice Renoir"

Shot from the series "Candice Renoir"

Candice, who has spent several years abroad, has to re-familiarize herself with France, catch up with the technologies used in her work, and also prove her worth to skeptical colleagues. It was easy to get used to the image of the leading actress Cecile Bois – she also got the role in the series after a break in her career associated with the birth of her second child.

Shot from the series "Candice Renoir"

Shot from the series "Candice Renoir"

For fans of tangled affairs, the series may seem naive. The detective lines, according to critics, are rather weak, but the French charm and charm of the main character win over.

“French town” (Un village français), 2009-2017

If you think that stupid stereotypes about carelessness and the smell of croissants in the morning are worth fighting with harsh realism, then this series is for you. The action takes place in the 1940s in the fictional town of Villeneuve on the Franco-Swiss border, which is occupied by German troops.

Shot from the series "French town"Shot from the series “French town”Shot from the series "French town"

The viewer’s attention in the series is focused on observing how the main and secondary characters change under the influence of new circumstances and rules of life. Friendship, morality and family ties are tested by greed, hunger, anti-Semitism and power struggles.

Shot from the series "French town"

Shot from the series "French town"

The main antagonist of the series is SS officer Heinrich Müller, played by German actor Richard Zammel (he is also known for his role in the TV series “Strain”, as well as small roles in the films “Taxi”, “Casino Royale” and “Inglourious Basterds”).

“Find a House or Apartment” (Recherche Appartement Ou Maison), aired since 2006

In reality TV, you can not only build love or survive on the island. French TV people decided to take a closer look at a more pressing problem that worries everyone: how to find the perfect home! Interest in the topic has not dwindled for 14 seasons, during which real estate professionals help families find the apartment or home of their dreams.

Shot from reality show "Find a house or apartment"Shot from the reality show “Find a House or Apartment”Shot from reality show "Find a house or apartment"

So the reality show is a good opportunity to see the real life of the French, and also to see different parts of the country: the participants are looking for housing in glamorous Saint-Tropez, and in a quiet province, and, of course, in the capital.

“Life is Beautiful” (Plus Belle La Vie), aired since 2004

Imbued with the atmosphere of Marseille after the sparkling “Taxi”? It’s time to continue your acquaintance with this seaside city, especially since all facets are revealed in the series and all sides are shown. The action moves first to school, then to prison, then to a bar, then in the vicinity of Marseille. On February 21, 2020, the four thousandth episode aired, which is a record for French television.

Shot from the series "Life is Beautiful"Poster for the series “Life is Beautiful”Shot from the series "Life is Beautiful"

The format of the series is a typical soap opera – in the center of the plot is the daily life of ordinary residents of one district, where rich and not so citizens coexist. Love twists and turns and everyday stories alternate with criminal intrigues. In France, each episode attracts about 5.3 million viewers from the screens with an audience share of 23.2%.

Plan Coeur, aired 2018

Paris is a city of love. This is another popular stereotype about France. But it’s also a city of broken hearts, as in this series, which was filmed for Netflix. But, of course, love again will save everything.

Shot from the series "Love plan"Shot from the series “The Plan of Love”Shot from the series "Love plan"

Shot from the series "Love plan"

In the story, Elsa, who is about to turn thirty, suffers from a boring job, and still cannot forget her ex-boyfriend, whom she broke up with two years ago. To save their friend from the routine, the friends hire a guy from the escort agency named Jules, who has to take Elsa on a few dates. Gradually, sudden feelings, of course, interfere with the carefully calculated plan.

Dix pour cent, aired since 2015

The comedy series tells the story of the life of an agency that works with celebrities. They have to deal with both annoying journalists who seek to unearth sensations about the wards, and with capricious directors who are looking for actors in their films.

Shot from the series "Ten percent"Shot from the series “Ten Percent”Shot from the series "Ten percent"

The death of one of the founders of the agency brings even more chaos to the already disordered work. Now the remaining four employees will have to learn to manage the agency themselves and at the same time solve internal conflicts and personal problems.

Shot from the series "Ten percent"

An added bonus for all cinephiles eager to get to know the behind-the-scenes: real French movie stars appear in the show as themselves. So, in the third season, you can see Jean Dujardin, Monica Bellucci, Isabelle Huppert, and in the fourth season, the Hollywood star Sigourney Weaver appears.

The Eddy, 2020

Formally, this is a British series, but the setting is France, and therefore the series has the right to a place in our selection. However, forget about the Eiffel Tower and the Champs Elysees. A new project from the creator of “La La Landa” Damien Chazelle will take you to the outskirts of Paris, to neighborhoods where Arab and African diasporas live. There you will find yourself straight in a small local bar – more unprofitable than successful, where former pianist virtuoso Elliot Udo is trying to make a living.

Shot from the series "Bar "Eddie"Shot from the TV series “Eddie’s Bar”Shot from the series "Bar "Eddie"

In the past, he has a career in New York, separation from his wife, loss of a son, fame. In the present – a quiet life, an affair with a local singer and attempts to again seek salvation in art. The return of a troubled teenage daughter makes Elliot rethink his life again and pull himself together.

Shot from the series "Bar "Eddie"

As in the case of “La La Land”, this is another experience of synthesis of cinema and music. The series has eight episodes, all of them were released in May this year, and the first episodes (they were shot by Chazelle himself) were shown at the Berlin Film Festival. The main role is played by Andre Holland, who played one of the main roles in the Oscar-winning Moonlight.

“Family business” (Family business / Tout part en fumée), aired since 2019

If French cinema for you is not primarily about romantic stories, but about comedic ones, then this series is worth watching. Family history always gives a lot of room for sparkling jokes, ridiculous situations and sitcoms.

Shot from the series "Family business" Shot from the series “Family Business” Shot from the series "Family business"

Shot from the series "Family business"

Here everything is further enhanced by the details of the plot. The protagonist Joseph, not a very successful and gifted entrepreneur, learns of rumors that marijuana will be legalized, decides to save the family business and transform his father’s kosher butcher shop into the first coffee shop in France.

The series was also filmed for Netflix and has been out for two seasons.

“Again a long time ago” (Il était une seconde fois), 2019

Why watch this miniseries (four episodes in total) on Netflix? Gaspard Ulliel in the title role! The premiere, by the way, was also held at the Berlinale, which can already be regarded as a sign of quality.

The genre of the series is also interesting – it is a kind of mixture of typical melodrama and science fiction, which refreshes the familiar plot about how hard it is to survive the loss of a loved one.

Shot from the series "Once again a long time ago"Shot from the series “Once again, a long time ago”Shot from the series "Once again a long time ago"

Vincent (in this role as Gaspard Ulliel) follows the classic route: alcohol, parties, casual relationships. Until a mysterious courier appears on this path, who hands the young man a box. It turns out to be not a package delivered by mistake, but a portal to the past – where Vincent and his ex-girlfriend Louise are still together.

Shot from the series "Once again a long time ago"

Shot from the series "Once again a long time ago"

It was written and directed by Guillaume Nicklou, who invited Gaspard Ulliel to act straight from his previous film To the Ends of the World, which was shown as part of one of the Cannes Film Festival programs.

Hélène et les Garçons (1992-1994)

Instead of nine new series, is one proven better? Then it’s time to revisit the classic TV of the 90s – the youth series “Helen and the Boys”. Today it seems hard to believe that he only has four seasons.

Shot from the series "Helen and the guys"Shot from the TV series “Helen and the guys”Shot from the series "Helen and the guys"

It felt like those who were teenagers in the 90s spent as much time on it as their mothers and grandmothers on Santa Barbara. The secret is simple: for the first time the series was shown on Russian television in the period from 1994 to 1996, but then they repeated countless times, and we, of course, stuck to the screens again and again.

TV series poster "Helen and the guys"The poster for the series “Helen and the guys”

It is noteworthy that when the series was released in France, critics practically destroyed it: the way student life was shown was considered unrealistic (the heroes do not smoke, do not drink, do not swear), and there is practically no study in the series. But from the height of the turbulent 2020, it is even pleasant to look at this kindly naive life.

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