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Gay Paree
A neverending party, with occasional war.

If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.
Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

The great Paris, one of the main cities of the world. With its large, wide boulevards, the beautiful Napoleon-era architecture of the central arrondissements, the rich, multicolored culture of the Arabs and Africans from the surrounding banlieue, the fast-paced acrobats of Le Parkour that hail from the southern suburb of Évry, the brilliant and captivating Oriental neighborhood of Olympiades, the iconic entrances and stations of Le Métropolitain and the shiny, futuristic skyline of the skyscrapers gathered around the France National Library and La Défense...

Uh, what? Does Paris really have all that? Oh là là, we thought Paris was the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and The Louvre (with its convenient supply of priceless, world-famous works of art) looming over bistros, cafés, art galleries and super-chic shops in Avenue des Champs-Élysées and the Rue de la Paix, Starving Artists in the Latin Quarter (or, during La Belle Epoque, deranged painters in Montmartre), the romantic old bridges over the Seine River, the gaudy music shows at the Moulin Rouge and Folies Bergère, and stuff like street mimes on every corner, with accordion music playing in the background, and snooty French people (the custom of men kissing each other on the cheek may be exploited for Ho Yay) smoking cigarettes and wearing berets, striped shirts and scarves while they carry around baguettes under their arms. And all the buildings are in the style of Haussmann's 19th century urban renewal, right?...

A place to Have a Gay Old Time.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • The assassin girls of Noir live here, probably in Trocadéro considering the Eiffel Tower is visible from the window. Strangely, this version has newscasts with the on-screen text in English!
  • Cyborg 009 has a French Ballerina as the local Chick and Team Mom, so the episode depicting her backstory is set in Paris. She remarks on how it hasn't changed that much from the days she used to live there.
  • G Gundam has George's introductory episode settled in a grim, ruined Paris. At some point, the Eiffel Tower even collapses during George and Domon's fight. (Worth pointing out, this isn't a specific Take That against France since the entire planet is in this condition.)
  • Ikoku Meiro no Croisée plays this incredibly straight.

    Comics 
  • An issue of Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew! featuring a battle with the Bunny From Beyond shows him converting the storyline's monstrous egg yolks back to normal in cities all over the world, including Earth-C's version of Paris, "Parrots" (though the final issue in the run would call it "Purris"), with a shot of its "Eyeful Tower." A later story would revisit Earth-C's France, but avoided Parrots entirely (in favor of depicting other regions of the country).
  • Lula und Yankee (German comic) make a trip there.

    Films 
  • Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain is set in Montmartre (the big white church is the Sacré Coeur, a local landmark), an especially beautiful part of this beautiful city. It used to be known as the artists' quarter. The film was criticized by some for portraying Paris as unrealistically clean and white-washed.
  • About a third of the John Woo movie Once A Thief takes places in the stereotypical Paris as well.
  • Moulin Rouge! is also set in Montmartre (just like the real thing). Establishing shots dutifully show the Eiffel Tower.
  • The 1954 original and 1995 remake of Sabrina send the heroine to Paris on an internship of several years.
  • The 1957 film Love in the Afternoon, directed by Billy Wilder and starring Audrey Hepburn.
  • French Kiss, starring Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline, involves a woman going to Paris to track down her fiancé. Her oft-frustrated quest to see the Eiffel Tower is a minor plot point.
  • An American In Paris and Irma La Douce.
  • Cleo from 5 to 7 is the story of a young woman wandering in Paris on an early summer day in 1961.
  • Ratatouille: A picturesque modern city, where events in the hospitality industry are apparently considered front-page news. Fake cheese and wine, rows over ownership of recipes and chef's obituaries have all made Real Life headlines.
  • North: The French family wear berets, drinks wine, smokes, and watches Jerry Lewis all day.
  • Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
  • One scene in Looney Tunes: Back in Action has Brendan Fraser chasing a villain leaving the Louvre... and somehow immediately reaching the Eiffel Tower like two seconds later. (In real life, they're about 4 km apart.)
  • Anastasia: The song "Paris Holds the Key to Your Heart".
  • Disney's The Aristocats begins and ends in Paris; the middle part of the film takes place in the French countryside and shows the journey back to the French capital.
  • Ninotchka
  • Ilsa and Rick of Casablanca "will always have Paris." There a long Falling in Love Montage showing them there.
  • Team America: World Police. After opening on a striped-shirt accordion-playing garlic salesman (which turns out to be a puppet-show for tourists), the first scene end with a shoot-out around the Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower... and Louvre.
  • Paris je t'aime, a 2006 film which consists of eighteen short films set in different districts of Paris.
  • Clean begins in Vancouver and ends in San Francisco, but most of the middle parts are set in Paris.
  • Perfume takes place in 18th century Paris and protrays the poorer areas as The Dung Ages, making particular mention of the awful smells.
  • Paris When It Sizzles
  • Is Paris Burning?
  • Gay Purr-ee
  • Funny Face even has a dedicated song ("Bonjour, Paris!") for this — incredibly corny and stereotyped to the point of silliness, but sweet.
  • Paris is home to Inspector Clouseau of The Pink Panther films.
  • Taken - Sure, other parts of France are visited but Paris is mentioned most often.
  • Steve in Singles has a postcard of two lovers kissing in Paris and often wishes life and love could be that simple.
  • Midnight in Paris has both contemporary and period versions of the city.
  • Seen for about eight minutes at high speed in Claude Lelouch's 1976 short film C'était un Rendezvous.
  • Averted in Frantic which shows a modern and multicultural Paris. You don't even catch a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower until nearly the end of the movie.
  • Victor/Victoria is set in '30s Paris, and features a song called "Gay Paree" (which heavily lampshades the Double Entendre of the phrase).
  • Le Divorce
  • In Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Sam's parents go on holiday to Paris. It is shown very briefly, but most of the requisite cliches (Arc de Triomphe, mimes, escargots) are in place.
  • French Cancan. The entire film's about the creation of both the Moulin Rouge and its showcase dance.
  • National Lampoon's European Vacation greatly parodies this. Clark makes the whole family wear berets, and in a following scene, they eat at an atypical cafe outdoors, with the nearby Eiffel Tower thrust right in your face and an over-the-top French Jerk for a waiter.
  • Lovers on the Bridge (Les Amants du Pont-Neuf)

    Literature 
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  • Les Misérables plays straight and averts this trope as the first half of the novel is set in a variety of small towns. But the second the setting changes to Paris cue cafes, bohemians, rich snobs, and revolution.
  • A Tale of Two Cities: The second city is Paris.
  • A Moveable Feast: Hemingway's seminal novel established Paris as the place to be for interwar American artists.
  • Tender Is the Night: Which is why F. Scott Fitzgerald moved there.
  • Tropic of Cancer: And so did Henry Miller.
  • The Painter from Shanghai: Pan Yuliang studied art in Paris and moved there permanently after 1937.
  • The larger part of James Baldwin's Giovanni's Room, which happens to be a gay but not that gay novel, takes place in Paris.
  • Eloise in Paris
  • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes spent a chapter touring Paris. The musical spent proportionally more time there.
  • A few works by Ernest Hemingway are set in 1920s Paris, largely reflecting his experience. While somewhat reflecting the trope (bars and bistros and a generally "gay" lifestyle) he also makes apparent just how shallow the lives of Americans in Paris (many of whom he depicts as Type 2 Eaglelanders) can be. Particularly on display in The Sun Also Rises, wherein he contrasts Paris with Spain (particularly Pamplona and the world of bullfighting).
  • A dystopian version of Paris is presented in John Birmingham's Without Warning as it comes apart during the French Intifada.
  • Alan Furst books in general. Alan Furst doesn't need a woman. Paris is his mistress.
  • Much of The Well Of Loneliness is set in the, well, gay subculture of early 20th-century Paris.

    Live Action TV 
  • Star Trek, beginning with the time of The Next Generation, made reference to the President of the Federation keeping offices in Paris. The Presidential Office has a view of the Eiffel Tower. Also in view of the Eiffel Tower is a café where Captain Picard once broke off a date with a woman who later marries a man who would go on to develop that episode's Applied Phlebotinum.
    • And everyone from Paris/France is English.
    • That being said, there is a partial subversion of this in Next Generation in that Picard, the only actual French character in all of Star Trek, is from LaBarre, a small rural village that is nowhere near Paris.
  • Daphne in Heroes lives in Paris. And yes, it has the Eiffel Tower clearly visible through a window.
  • The Ricardos and Mertzes visited Paris during their trip to Europe on I Love Lucy. The establishing shot was of the Arc, Lucy encountered both a street artist and escargot in her first day there, and her hotel room had a head-on view of the Eiffel Tower.
  • "The Monkees In Paris" is Exactly What It Says on the Tin: A 1968 episode of The Monkees featuring the guys romping around Gay Paree, while being chased by a Groupie Brigade of faux fangirls in the form of chic French models (it's true: they actually had no idea who the Monkees were. At the time, the TV show hadn't yet aired in France).
  • On the first season of The Amazing Race, teams had to travel to Paris and climb to the top of (you guessed it!) the Eiffel Tower, and use a telescope to find a flag on top of another landmark, which turned out to be (you guessed it!) the Arc de Triomphe.
  • The Prisoner features a stereotypical French party in one episode.
  • Monk has some involvement with the City of Light:
    • In "Mr. Monk and the Paperboy", Monk solved a murder in France just by reading a newspaper article in the San Francisco Chronicle.
    • Partial subversion in the Tie-In Novel "Mr. Monk is Miserable", where Natalie expects to eat croissants and whatnot while enjoying the rustic splendor of the city. As soon as she sees the lights on the Eiffel Tower, and the Roue de Paris, and the Arc de Triomphe merely because L'Arche de le Defense is visible from the top of it, she launches into a long Character Filibuster (with which the author may or may not have agreed) about how commercialism and "doing things bigger" has ruined her beautiful city from being the way it was twenty years ago on her honeymoon. Then she finds an enormous parisian flat with a personal cafe and a waterfall being run by a sewer mutant vagrant (It Makes Sense in Context) and repeatedly waxes poetically throughout the book about how Paris even has better garbage than San Francisco note . Triple-subverted (or was it?) with a lampshade by yhe Cloudcuckoolander when the police are completely blase about a criminal plummeting to his death directly in front of them.
  • The two-part finale of Sex and the City has Carrie moving to Paris with her Russian boyfriend Aleksandr Petrovsky...and being completely miserable there until Big finally arrives to pop the question.
  • Duncan Macleod spent half of each season of Highlander in Paris. (save the last season, which, due to it only having 12 episodes, was all set in Paris).
  • In "My Master the Spy," an episode of I Dream of Jeannie, Jeannie tricks Tony into eating lunch with her in Paris. However, he must be in Cocoa Beach at the same time, and voila! he's there too, which confuses both a French Air Force Officer and Dr. Bellows, who thinks one of the two is an impostor.

    Music 
  • The 10cc song suite "Une Nuit a Paris" plays up all mock-sophisticated aspects of the trope for laughs, although it involves the murder of a gendarme.
  • The song "Paris" on Two Houses by Paul Gross (of Due South fame) and David Keeley.
  • Dean Martin's "The Poor People of Paris" combines this with heavy Sarcasm Mode:
    Just got back from Paris, France
    All they do is sing and dance
    All they got there is romance
    What a tragedy!
    Every boulevard has lovers
    Every lover's in a trance
    The poor people of Paree...

    Theater 
  • Several Cole Porter musicals, including 50 Million Frenchmen, Can-Can and Silk Stockings. (This last was just a Screen-to-Stage Adaptation of Ninotchka.)
  • The Merry Widow
  • The Madwoman of Chaillot

    Video Games 
  • Sakura Taisen 3 is set in Paris, and features every one of the above tropes, plus (for good measure) a suspiciously Moulin Rouge!-ish cabaret. Oh, and there's a huge revolver cannon hidden under the Arc de Triomphe....
  • Rayman: Raving Rabbids and its sequel seem to have a lot of sections set in Paris—fitting since the developers are French.
  • Decidedly less comical example than most: Paris is the capital of the European Federation in Tom Clancy's End War and thus is a major battlefield, featuring the Eiffel Tower at the Europeans' critical uplink. May be the first time in gaming that Americans get to destroy the Tower... though the Russians can do it if they get there first.
  • Speaking of Russia wrecking the Eiffel Tower (somewhat), the Soviets do convert it into a gigantic Tesla Coil in one mission of their campaign in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2. Although you could destroy an imitation of the Arc de Triomphe and Louvre. Incidentally, in Red Alert 1, failing a certain mission as the Allies results in a cutscene of a nuclear bomb going off near the Eiffel Tower.
  • Similarly, BattleTanx: Global Assault features a campaign level where the Tower is converted into a laser cannon; the player's objective is to get to the base of the tower and blow up the generator. Another mission shortly after has the player defending the Champs-Élysées from nearly a hundred enemy tanks (not all at once, thankfully).
  • Twisted Metal 2: The Paris level was a small chunk of narrow streets complete with alleys, bistros, boutiques and historical monuments set between the Eiffel Tower (which you could destroy, by the way) and the Notre-Dame de Paris.
  • The first and last set of missions in Medal of Honor Underground take place in Paris.
  • The Saboteur is a Wide Open Sandbox game taking place in a Paris that Those Wacky Nazis have robbed of its color.
  • The Paris stages from Gran Turismo 4 sort of count: Opéra passes through Place de la Concorde, Rue de la Paix, Place Vendôme and the Opéra, whereas Georges V visits the Arc du Triomphe and Champs-Élysées.
  • In Modern Warfare 3, the player can witness the collapse of Eiffel Tower into Seine (after calling in an airstrike to take out the invading Russian forces, no less).
  • Final Fight 2 has a state set in France. It takes you from the somewhat realistic streets, past little café's, to an airport. The Eiffel Tower is only seen in the background.
  • Lumiose City in Pokémon X and Y is shaping up to be this, to go along with the Kalos region's general air of Fantasy Counterpart Culture France. Comes complete with the ISO standard general architecture, an Eiffel Tower, and sidewalk cafés. The very first official artwork of the city also includes baguettes, berets, snooty people, and oafish tourists.
  • Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure is set entirely within Paris. Nearly every popular tourist landmark comes up somewhere in the story.
  • Paris is the first big city Yuri and co. gets to visit during the events of Shadow Hearts Covenant. We can see the Eiffel Tower from Gepetto's apartment in Champs-Élysées as well as a lovely side-view of the Notre Dame Cathedral after emerging from an alternate exit of the abandoned railway. We're also intoduced to the Magimel Brothers, who certainly put "gay" back into Gay Paree.

    Web Comics 
  • in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, Galatea's first reappearance after her debut arc shows her to be living it up in Paris, apparently supporting herself through burglary. She wears a beret and scarf while eating at an outdoor bistro in sight of the Eiffel Tower. When in human disguise, she has a (holographic) cigarette in her mouth.
  • Bandette is set in a Nouvelle Vague-meets-Tintin fairyland Paris.

    Western Animation 
  • Nearly all of the Looney Tunes cartoons featuring Pepe Le Pew center on this portrayal of Paris.
  • The Talking Animal film Gay Purr-ee is set in turn-of-the-century France, with the bulk of the story taking place in Paris. However, it does acknowledge that other parts of France exist by beginning the story in Provence.
  • Madeline
  • Rugrats in Paris is set in an especially stereotypical version of the place, yet also manages to invoke the Far East stereotypes via musical numbers, a visit to a Japanese restaurant and a dream. Oh yeah, most of the action takes place in a Reptar theme park, so there's not as much Paris involved as the title would let you think. Yes, the Eiffel Tower is there, and so is the Arc de Triomphe, but not the Louvre. And Notre Dame, where Chas (Chuckie's dad) and Coco LaBouche's soon-to-be-ruined wedding took place. One line even had Betty about to fall asleep and asking Didi to "wake her up if she sees the hunchback". Betty and Didi even hang a lampshade on the general lack of French-ness in their trip, at least culinary-wise:
    eating at a Japanese restaurant at the theme park
    Didi: When I came to France, I had dreams of bouillabaise, crepes Suzette, chicken cordon bleu...
    Betty: Yeah, well, I had dreams of eating with a fork.
  • Played straight on a episode of What's New, Scooby-Doo??
  • Justifed by the Jem episode, "Kimber's Rebellion", as the French countess gives them the idea to film a video there.
  • Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers: Paris is the only place outside the USA which appears twice in CDRR.
    • The episode "Le Purrfect Crime" takes place in Paris. Several animals (!) are dressed in stereotypical French garb, the showdown takes place on the Eiffel Tower....
    • "Love Is a Many Splintered Thing" includes a Flashback with Monty and a certain Femme Fatale mouse in Paris.
  • Parodied in Rockos Modern Life where all the French monuments have become Chokey Chicken eateries.
  • The original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles visited Paris. Where the Eiffel tower was on a massive field of grass. Very likely.
  • The French doll Babette from Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure all she ever wanted is to go back to her precious town of "Gay Paree".
  • The motion capture animated film Renaissance takes place in a futuristic Paris with Hausmann-style neo-retro architecture.
  • Like most of the examples the Family Guy episode "Foreign Affairs" during Lois and Bonnie's trip never once do they mention France by name or any of the other cities.
  • The Flintstones visited prehistoric Paris in the theatrical movie The Man Called Flintstone. Various sights of Paris were seen during a song number, depicting it as a Stone Age version of this trope. Unusually for the series, Paris doesn't have a "prehistoric" rock-pun name, though the wood-and-stone-constructed "Eiffelrock Tower" is shown. Paris (and the Eiffelrock Tower) is briefly seen again in the late 1970s special "A Flintstone Christmas."
  • Presenting Alice of Wonderland in Paris.

Exceptions

    Films 
  • The French film La Haine rarely ventures inside central Paris, the area surrounded by the Périphérique; instead, most of the action takes place in the surrounding banlieue, more precisely, in the Yvelines, west of Paris.
  • Mr. Bean's Holiday has the bumbling titular character arriving in Paris at the start of his vacation, but spends much of the film in the countryside and ultimately arrives in Cannes.
  • While set in Paris, Killing Zoe was entirely filmed in Los Angelas. If it weren't for the french actors, this could be any other Noir picture.
  • Ronin starts and finishes in a realistic grubby corner café in Paris, and takes in the Périphérique ring-road, a condemned residential area in the midst of being torn down and a convention hall that could be anywhere.
  • Banlieue13 is set almost entirely in Paris's worst suburbs.
  • Averted in both Moulin Rouge!! and Moulin Rouge! (the 1952 film). Both set in the Gay Nineties, in the historically accurate latter the streets are filthy and smelly, muggings are common and prostitutes are frequently arrested. In the former the beautiful Moulin Rouge contrasts with the reality of that era (that inner-Paris was a slum and drug and drink addicts line the streets).
  • Frantic presents a modern Paris with plenty of Arabs and Africans in it, and we don't even glimpse the Eiffel Tower until the end of the movie.

    Literature 
  • The Bourne Series has Paris as a rather grim place, where Carlos the Jackal and his "old men of Paris" hang out. No one does any sight-seeing and in the first book, Jason/David and Marie spend a considerable amount of time running for their lives, with Marie also suffering from an attempted rape. Not a happy holiday.
  • George Orwell's first novel, Down and Out in Paris and London is Exactly What It Says on the Tin: the fist half is all about him living a hand-to-mouth existence in Paris, eventually becoming a plongeur (dishwasher) in two different posh restaurants, where he can see the world of overworked, underpaid workers necessary to maintain "Gay Paree."
  • Lampshaded in Neil Flambé And The Crusader's Curse, when Neil visits La Défense and notes how unlike the traditional image of Paris it is.

    Live Action TV 
  • Engrenages has been described as a French version of The Wire, and features gritty police drama in some of Paris's poorest and grottiest neighbourhoods.

    Video Games 
  • Deus Ex Paris is under martial law like much of the world, so its depiction is influenced by wartime Paris of the past century. The Eiffel tower and other famous landmarks are displayed rather gloomily. Everyone smokes and engages in deep discussions of culture, politics and the human condition, even in bars and discotheque.
  • In Street Fighter 3: Third Strike, the French character Remy has a stage that is completely bizarre. The left hand side looks pretty much like it could be some back-street in Paris, but the right hand side (Disco Metro entrance) is pure fantasy and indeed, looks more like something out of Final Fantasy 7, rather than a real-world location. The incongruence is compounded by the fact that Third Strike's other stages are all generally based on real locations from the countries that the fighters represent - 42nd street subway (US), Santos Harbor (Brazil), St Basil's Cathedral (Russia), the Harrod's building, London (UK) etc.

    Western Animation 
  • Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown, and the subsequent TV special What Have We Learned, Charlie Brown? avoided Paris entirely on a trip to France. Granted, their vision of northern France was pretty generic, except for the accents, and the war memorial they visited in the TV special.
  • Averted with the suburban Boulogne-Billancourt setting of Code Lyoko.
    • To be fair, Bologune-Billancourt is a suburb of Paris, but the city landmarks are never seen.
    • The one landmark that is seen (and actually seen at least Once an Episode as it's central to the plot) is the abandoned Renault factory on Île Seguin in the Seine that has since been torn down.


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alternative title(s): Gay Paris
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