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parisLast weekend, a hankering for popcorn and the urge to escape 90-degree temperatures drew me to the movie theater. Previews flashed, the protagonist triumphed, credits rolled and suddenly I found myself planning a trip to Paris.

The movie was “Midnight in Paris,” Woody Allen’s latest romantic comedy. It’s a love story about an American traveler and his devotion to Paris — more specifically, Paris in the rain … during the 1920′s. Aside from the fantastical time traveling bits of the movie, most of “Midnight in Paris” could pass for a film sponsored by the French tourism board. Allen highlights the city with heaps of gorgeous Parisian imagery: miles of sidewalk cafes, street vendors selling relics of the past, impossibly thin women in elegant clothes, the Eiffel Tower glittering in the night. Even Carla Bruni makes an appearance.

I haven’t been to Paris. It was on my places-to-see-in-the-next-decade list, somewhere behind Yosemite National Park and Mongolia. But now? Paris has edged past Mongolia, and soon I’ll be drawing disapproving stares with my lapsed college French and biting into baguettes alongside Carla Bruni.

I can think of a few other movies that tend to have a transformative effect on the hearts and travel plans of audiences. Here are some of my favorites:

“Lost in Translation”
Romance grows from a shared case of culture shock in Sofia Coppola’s Japanese gem. Tokyo, the star of this film, comes across as a mysterious, moody, otherworldly destination, and the movie is rich with beautiful footage of the city.

“Under the Tuscan Sun”
Long before Julia Roberts patched an on-screen split with a trio of trips in “Eat, Pray, Love,” Diane Lane played a divorcee who took a two-week tour of Tuscany and, on a whim, decided to drop everything and move to the Boot. Sure, “Under the Tuscan Sun” is an unabashed feel-good “chick flick” (if that term makes you cringe, I’m with you), but the shots of dazzling Tuscan landscapes and charming but crumbling Italian villas make this movie worth the two hours.

“Roman Holiday”
The movie that kicked off Audrey Hepburn’s dynamo career is, in my opinion, the quintessential traveler’s flick. In “Roman Holiday,” Hepburn plays Princess Anne, who breaks from the royal life on tour of Rome and stumbles into an unexpected romance. Although the movie came out in 1953, a traveler in Rome today will find that few of the ancient sites featured in film have changed since “Roman Holiday” was in theaters.

“Solaris”
In all seriousness, if that crazy planet were real, I’d want to travel there (but on a less creepy space station). Fun fact: The futuristic earth city featured in the movie is actually Tokyo.

What are your favorite travel movies? Share your picks in the comments.

– written by Caroline Costello

13 Responses to “I’ll Take a Large Popcorn and a Ticket to Paris”

  1. Adrienne Lee says:

    “Midnight in Paris” and “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants”

  2. Lara says:

    the beach with leo dicaprio. who wouldn’t have wanted to stay at that island forever?!

  3. SeaMarmot says:

    The Darjeeling incident had some lovely shots of Indian countryside.

  4. DK says:

    The town in Chocolat! I want to meet those characters!

  5. Mike Jones says:

    I’ll give you three without even having to think too deeply:

    3) Africa – Blood Diamond
    2) Detroit – 8 Mile
    1) Slovakia – Hostel

    In addition I think it would be nice to go to Scandinavia, but they have not made any movies that take place there that I know of. Sweden would be so cool, but I don’t think you could get away with speaking English there as easily as it is in Western Europe.

  6. Ginger D. says:

    My daughter years ago said she envisioned me in the movie “Shirley Valentine” in Greece but I envision myself more in the movie “How Stella Got Her Groove Back” in Jamaica. Ya Mon!

  7. Briana says:

    I agree, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants makes me want to getaway, especially to Greece! Eat Pray Love is another film that gets me excited to travel.

  8. parvinder says:

    Indian movie ZINDAGI NA MILE DOBARA:. Its a travel movie of three friends.It actually teaches you to live life KINGSIZE as you get this life only once so live every moment to the fullest and what more can you want other then making memorable times with friends..

  9. soliteyah says:

    Ooh, just a few off the top of my head:

    Bread and Tulips (Venice)
    Monsoon Wedding (India)
    Seven Years in Tibet (Tibet)
    Shelter (California coast)

  10. Marsha says:

    Recently Eat, Pray, Love…see some Bali pics at our website http://Ofmyheart.net

  11. Sherlock Holmes for sure! London, here I come.

  12. TravelBird says:

    Watching True Grit made me want to head West and stay on a ranch

  13. birmingham bookkeeping says:

    Roman Holiday is a beautiful movie. I wish that I have someone besides me when I’m watching it.

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