The Top French-Language Romance Movies

José Ferrer & Mala Powers in Cyrano de Bergerac - cropped screenshot
musketier/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

  Well, they say French is the language of love, so what better language to watch romantic movies in? Here are some that I've loved and I think you and your significant other will too. I can't even pretend that this is a complete list - I'm sure there are other wonderful romantic French movies that I haven't seen or heard of.

1) Cyrano de Bergerac 

A beautiful, touching, and humorous love story. Cyrano loves Roxanne, but fears rejection due to his overly-large nose.

Roxanne loves Christian, and he, in turn, loves her, but does not have the ability to express his love. Cyrano helps Christian by expressing his love to Roxanne via Christian. This is the original film, made in 1950 in black and white. It has been remade a few times, including in the US as Roxanne, with Steve Martin.

2) Le Retour de Martin Guerre - The Return of Martin Guerre

Gerard Depardieu plays a soldier who returns to his wife after many years, and has changed so much (in more than just personality) that his wife and neighbors are not sure it's the same person. A beautiful love story as well as an interesting look at medieval France. Remade in the US as Sommersby, with Jodie Foster and Richard Gere.

3) Les Enfants du Paradis - Children of Paradise

A classic French romantic movie, by Marcel Carne. A mime falls in love with a theater troupe actress, but faces a lot of competition for her affections.

Shot in black and white in 1946 (while Paris was under German occupation), but set in the 19th century. There are so many special features that the DVD version comes with 2 disks, but don't let that put you off. It's a must see!

4)  La Belle et la bête - Beauty and the Beast

You've probably seen some version of this classic French romance, but the original - in black and white - is by far the best.

This beautiful, sensual film by Jean Cocteau is about love, inner beauty, and obsession, and is nothing short of a magical fairy tale.

5) Baisers volés - Stolen Kisses

This sequel to 400 Blows (Les Quatre Cent Coups) couldn't be more different to its predecessor. Antoine loves Christine, who is indifferent until her admirer falls for another women. Christine then realizes (decides?) that she does want him after all, and tries to woo him back. A very sweet movie by François Truffaut and Jean-Pierre Léaud.

6) Les Roseaux savages - Wild Reeds 

André Téchiné's 1994 film, set in 1964, is a beautiful coming-of-age story about four teenagers and their experiences with relationships and the effects of France's war in Algeria. Beautiful cinematography and a great soundtrack, to boot.

This film won 4 César awards.

7) Les Nuits de la pleine lune - Full Moon in Paris 

A wonderful romantic comedy and the fourth installment in director Eric Rohmer's Comedies and Proverbs series. Louise (played by the talented Pascale Ogier, who tragically died the year the film was released) grows bored with her lover and decides to spice up her (love) life. Humor and tragedy ensue.

8) L'Ami de mon amie - Boyfriends and Girlfriends 

Another from the Comedies and Proverbs series, this film looks at love and friendship.

Which is more important: passion or companionship? Is boyfriend-swapping really such a good idea after all? Find out with this movie.

9) Une Liaison pornographique - An Affair of Love 

Don't let the ironic French title put you off; this is a beautiful, erotic love story about two people who meet looking for anonymous sex but end up finding much more. A beautiful and mysterious tale of love.

10) L'Histoire d'Adèle H - The Story of Adele H

The true story of Victor Hugo's daughter and her obsession with a French lieutenant. Not a happy story, but certainly a beautiful and intriguing movie.

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Lawless, Laura K. "The Top French-Language Romance Movies." ThoughtCo, Sep. 3, 2016, Lawless, Laura K. (2016, September 3). The Top French-Language Romance Movies. Retrieved from Lawless, Laura K. "The Top French-Language Romance Movies." ThoughtCo. (accessed February 18, 2018).