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The 6 best French TV series

The top 6 French TV series make excellent viewing and many take a similar path to Scandi dramas. They will keep you captivated. However, the last two are very different: Versailles follows the decadent life of Louis XIV during the construction of his great palace; Marseille is a political intrigue.


Versailles is the latest French television series to hit small screens in the UK. Canal + has produced the blockbuster of the period, but it is produced in English and stars English actors and the French are splendidly outraged by the attack on their culture. Advocates say it shows how international the French are becoming; detractors howl at the degradation of their culture. The main reason for the English influence is more practical; There are limits to the amount of funding that could be raised in France. Versailles is the most expensive series ever produced in France, with a budget of around € 30 million for the first ten episodes. So even with a small rule change, there was still a deficit. Hence the decision to film in English with English actors to ensure an international audience and, more pertinently, higher sales. Whatever the intrigue behind the scenes, just sit back and enjoy what is a great blockbuster of a series, with lots of violence and even more sex. The new series takes place at the time of the construction of the great castle of Versailles, with a completely decadent Louis XIV and plenty of frolics in luxurious settings.

Versailles places

20 locations in the Ile de France region were used for the series, including the magnificent Palace of Versailles on the outskirts of Paris, as well as the imposing Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, the building that caused so much jealousy and bad feelings among the Rey and his finance minister, Fouquet. The Palace of Versailles is the star; The series tells the story of how the Sun King, Louis XIV, transformed the hunting lodge he had inherited from his father into the palace that became the envy of the world.

With other series becoming major tourist attractions, such as Game of Thrones (Iceland) and Downton Abbey (UK), it looks like both great castles will receive even more visitors.

Other films that use Versailles as the main character and a gorgeous location include Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris , Benoit Jacquot’s Farewell , My Queen, and Sofia Coppola’s luxurious Marie-Antoinette.

  • More about Versailles
  • More about Vaux-le-Vicomte


Netflix’s first French-language original series is very different from Versaille, but it has created so much controversy. It is produced entirely in France and stars Gerard Depardieu who, by all accounts, has completely cleaned up his acting for the series, appears on set and soberly on set, and has become a model of virtue. The film is about a mayor who swallows cocaine and has been in office for 25 years (Depardieu), and a very ambitious young man who sleeps with any woman if it can help his career and who is trying to take his place. It has been called the remake of House of Cards from the United States . It is also the claim that Netflix is seriously trying to move to Europe.

Marseille is filmed throughout the city is the real star. The scenes take place inside the Stade Velodrome, home to the Olympique de Marseille football club, the Quartier Nord, the port, the town hall, and more. It doesn’t paint Marseille in a great light and will inevitably lead people back to The French Connection . But it is an exciting film that brings French politics and corruption to the fore.

Don’t let the movie put you off by going to Marseille. It is one of the great cities of France and, as a visitor, you don’t see the downside.

Marseille is developing rapidly. If you are in the UK, take the direct train from London St. Pancras without stopping for a short sun-soaked break.

Espiral (Gears)

First launched in 2005, Spiral remains one of the most popular television series in Europe. It’s about France’s police and judicial system, with a great cast of tough cops (led by the charismatic Caroline Proust, who plays Police Captain Laure Berthoud), insanely sexy court characters, a powerful and devious judge, and a host of of Other great characters. It does not throw blows when the plots develop and the fingers get very dirty. The producer admits to being inspired by The Wire , although there are comparisons to The Killing .

Spiral soared all over Paris, with the 3 – series is centered around la Villette, in the 19th arrondissement involving a police investigation into a prostitution of Albania eastern Europeans. Visitors to the 19th go by the Museum to the Museum of Science and Industry of La Villette, where a massive urban development program has transformed the area.

The Returned (Les Revenants)

Based on the 2004 film Les Revenants, the French series was filmed in the Haute-Savoie Alps. A group of men, women and children return to life after a death that lasted several years and try to resume a normal existence. It takes place in a small mountain town, with the dramatic backdrop of the mountains adding additional tension to the supernatural story.

Most of the scenes were filmed around Lake Annecy with the fictional village lost in a valley and threatened by a dam. The Tignes Dam, created in the 1950s to generate hydroelectric power, is impressive. Today is a work of art with a huge fresco of Hercules painted on the wall mass before the Olympic Games in 1992. Other locations include Menthon Saint Bernard, a small town on the lake with an imposing 13th medieval castle last century property from the same family for about 1,000 years. There is a fantastic library that you can visit, with over 12,000 ancient books and texts, some written on parchment, sheepskin, and goatskin. The castle may seem familiar; apparently it is the building that Walt Disney saw when he stayed nearby and inspired his creation of the Sleeping Beauty castle. Annecy le Vieux, northeast of Lake Annecy, was used for Adele’s house. Sevrier has the Lake Pub where the bar scenes were shot.

Un Village Francais (A French village)

Un Village Français (A French Village) was first shown in 2009 and was the first major French television series to have collaboration and resistance during the Nazi occupation of France in WWII. Unlike the Holocaust that caused such a sensation and shock, in Germany when faced with the plight of German Jews, Un Village Français won several awards and nominations for its subtle exploration of what it is to be a contributor. He is not critical and reminds me of the Caen World War II Memorial museum, which has a film of a French professor asking him how he would act if the Nazis threatened his own family if he did not cooperate. It is set in Villeneuve, a fictional sub-prefecture in the Jura in eastern France, which was part of German-occupied France.


Braquo has been described as the French The Wire (HBO). A violent police series that follows Parisian detectives who are ruthless in their methods of achieving justice and ‘cross the yellow line’ while breaking all the rules. It begins when a colleague of the four policemen commits suicide during a cast where he is blamed. Now in its 4th series, it begins in Marseille and ends in Paris.

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