We all have our favorite Christmas movie we watch every year, but if you’re learning le français, why not take a break from Love Actually or A Christmas Story and put on a French film instead?
Certes, the French watch many Hollywood holiday hits including Home Alone (Maman j’ai raté l’avion), Jingle All the Way (La Course au jouet), and It’s a Wonderful Life (La Vie est Belle) as well, but la France has also produced a few of its own Christmas classics.
So pop le popcorn and regarder one of these movies to experience l’esprit de Noël.
Top 3 Classic French Christmas Movies
- Le Père Noël est Une Ordure
- La Bûche
- Joyeux Noël
1. Le Père Noël est une ordure (1982)
This is THE French cult classic movie for Christmas. Based on a stage play of the same name created by a celebrated 70s comedy troupe called Le Splendid—more about them here on Fun from France soon—, Le Père Noël est une ordure (called Santa Claus is a Stinker in the U.S.) is a dark comedy about deux salariés working for a suicide hotline on Christmas Eve and the improbable events that occur in their office on this wacky réveillon.
Not for kids and far from politically correct, this adult French Christmas classic is known and loved by seemingly all les Français—expect to hear it quoted quite often, with one of the most famous répliques being really quite rude: “Je t’encule, Thérèse !”, a line definitely not to say in your French class!
2. La Bûche (1999)
If spending time with your famille can be a little compliqué, make yourself feel better by watching someone else’s family drama instead, and en français! This French dramedy centers on the Christmas Eve celebrations of a mother, her three daughters, and her ex-husband. Their relationships are strained to say the least, but baking the traditional French holiday dessert, la bûche de Noël (yule log cake), brings the family closer together.
3. Joyeux Noël (2005)
History lovers, this one’s pour vous! Telling the true story of the Christmas truce that took place on December 24, 1914, during World War I, Joyeux Noël follows French, German, and Scottish soldiers on this exceptional Christmas Eve. Although watching an epic war drama might not seem like the best way to enjoy the magie de noël, this Oscar-nominated foreign film definitely deserves a place on your holiday movie list.