France Film & Photography Production Services
Are you a media company, brand, ad agency or production company looking for film / photography production support or shooting crew in France? We have fully vetted, locally based fixers, service producers, directors, DP’s, videographers, cameramen, photographers, sound operators, production drivers, and a range of other film crew. Contact us for referrals, questions, cost estimates and references.
Want to know more about shooting in France? See below for an introduction to France locations, permits, when to shoot, costs, talent, crews, fringes and premiums, equipment, art department, studios, post facilities, visas and work permits, film friendly hotels, transport, communications and safety advice.
France Film Locations
For a relatively small country, France offers a great diversity of location looks. Locations of note in France’s 13 regions include:
Île-de-France. As well as being the capital of France, Paris, the City of Lights, is also a global capital of art, fashion, design, gastronomy, and culture. It is one of the largest cities in Europe and an important economic centre where companies such as Airbus, AXA, L’Oréal, Louis Vuitton, and Renault, are headquartered. Paris is known for its cafes, wide boulevards and impressive architecture. Locations of note include the Eiffel Tower, Champs de Elysee, Arc de Triomphe, Montmartre, Hotel de Ville, Notre Dame, Moulin Rouge, The Louvre, Orsay Museum, Pompidou, Louis Vuitton Foundation, Flower Tower, Piscine Molitor, and bridges over the river Seine. Paris comes third (after Tokyo and Kyoto) in the highest number of Michelin restaurants. Just outside of Paris you can find Versailles Palace and its famous gardens, the royal city of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Courances Castle, the village of Auvers-sur-Oise, as well as Fontainebleau which is a Mecca for bouldering enthusiasts and also has a beautiful palace.
Hauts-de-France is France’s most northern region. Castles of note include Chantilly, Compiègne and Pierrefonds. Senlis and Bergues are charming small towns. Amiens and Beauvais have famous Gothic cathedrals. The Bay of Somme is known for bird photography. The Opal Coast and the Picard Coast have elegant seaside resorts. Moules marinières is a local speciality served in Hauts-de-France.
Normandy is famous as the place of the D-Day landings in WWII. The region offers a diverse landscape including wild forests, rustic farms, white cliffs of the Alabaster Coast, Mont Saint Michel, Seine Valley, Swiss Normandy, and the Cotentin and Bessin marshes. Fort Îles Saint-Marcouf lies off the coast of Normandy. Calais connects France to England with ferries and the Channel Tunnel. Pays d’Auge is known for its cheeses. Pot-au-Feu is a local dish of note.
Grand-Est is situated in the northeast of France. Champagne, Alsace, and Lorraine are world famous for their wines and bubbly. Grand Est is rich with Gothic architecture such as Reims Cathedral and Strasbourg Cathedral. Strasbourg is the capital and largest city. It is the home of European Union institutions including the Council of Europe and the European Parliament. Other locations of note in Grand Est include Ardennes, Colmar, Metz, Langres, Nancy, Troyes, Charleville-Mézières, and the areas many spa resorts. The famous WW1 battles of the Marne and Verdun took place in this part of France. In terms of local food, Quiche lorraine and Choucroute are specialties of this region.
Brittany is best known for its great beaches, rugged coastal looks, Celtic heritage, and crêpes. Locations of note include Fort la Latte, Huelgoat, Quimper, Pont-Aven, and the Emerald and Pink Granite Coasts. Brittany also has several interesting islands off the coast such as Groix, Belle-Île-en-Mer, Molène, Bréhat and Ouessant. La Jument Lighthouse is famous for the large waves that crash into it during heavy storms. Castel Meur or “the house between the rocks” is a charming cottage wedged between two large boulders.
Pays de la Loire. Located in western France this region is known for its sandy beaches, rocky coasts and renowned seaside resorts such as La Baule, Les Sables-d’Olonne, Pornic and Saint-Jean-de-Monts. Other locations of note incude the nearby islands of Yeu and Noirmoutier, and the Castle of Angers. The region also hosts several important events. The 24 Hours of Le Mans is the world’s oldest active car race. The Vendee Globe is a famous round-the-world solo sailing race. Pressed Duck Tour d’Argent Style is a local culinary specialty.
Centre-Val de Loire is known for its Renaissance castles, charming villages and gastronomic specialities. Of note are the Loire Valley castles of Chambord, Chenonceaux, Amboise, and Villandry. The region has many charming villages such as Apremont-sur-Allier, Gargilesse-Dampierre and Saint-Benoît-du-Sault. Château d’Ussé is the castle that inspired Sleeping Beauty. Cities of note include Chartres, Blois and Bourges. Loire Valley vineyards are world-famous. Tarte Tatin is a local specialty.
Burgundy-Franche-Comté is located in central-eastern France. Dijon is the capital of Burgundy. Besancon is the capital of Franche-Comté. Other cities and towns of note include Auxerre, Belfort, Dole, La Charité-sur-Loire, Nevers, Montbéliard, and Beaune. Castles to film at include Ancy-le-Franc, Bazoches, Berzé-le-Châtel, Cormatin and Tanlay. As well as their natural beauty, Burgundy and Franche-Comté are famous for their wines and cheeses. Other local dishes of note include Burgundy snails and beef bourguignon.
New Aquitaine. Located in the southwest of France, the area is best known for the eaux wine region and the Pyrenees mountains in the south. There are 150 miles of continuous sandy beach stretching from Gironde to the Pyrenees. The region has some of France’s best surf beaches. Of note are Hossegor, Seignosse and Capbreton. Biarritz is a popular seaside luxury resort in the Basque Country. The Great Dune of Pyla is an interesting film location. Interesting coastal forts include Fort Louvois, Fort Enet, and Fort Boyard (19th-century Napoleonic sea fort). Medieval towns of note include Saint-Émilion and Sarlat-la-Canéda. Futuroscope is a future-themed amusement park built in the 1980’s. New Aquitaine is also known for its excellent food and drink such as wine from Bordeaux, duck foie gras from Landes, and oysters from Arcachon.
Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. Lyon is the capital and largest city. Towns and villages of note include Annecy, Chambéry, Clermont-Ferrand, Grenoble, Le Puy-en-Velay, Montluçon, Moulins and Riom. This area of the French Alps is home to the famous Mont Blanc and Chamonix. Auvergne has many vast green open spaces, dotted with lakes, forests and extinct volcanoes. Drôme is known for its lavender fields. The cheeses from Auvergne and Savoie are world-famous. Dishes of note include raclette and fondue savoyarde.
Occitania. Located in the south of France. Cities and towns of note include Albi, Auch, Cahors, Cordes-sur-Ciel, Foix, Lourdes, Millau, Montauban, Narbonne, Nîmes, Perpignan, Rodez, and Toulouse. Picturesque villages of note include Belcastel, Bruniquel, Castelnou, Eus, La Couvertoirade, La Garde-Guérin, Lagrasse, Larressingle, Najac, Penne and Sainte-Enimie. Natural locations of note include the Pyrenees Mountains, and cirques of Gavarnie and Troumouse. Millau Viaduct is the tallest bridge in the world. Local culinary specialties include aligot, roquefort, cassoulet, and gratin dauphinois, to name a few.
Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. Best known for the French Riviera (Côte D’Azur). Provence is famous for sun drenched coastal locations including Cannes, Nice, Saint-Tropez, and Antibes. Other cities and villages of note include Avignon, Aix-en-Provence, Arles, Luberon, Saint-Paul-de-Vence, Uzès, and Bormes-les-Mimosas. Towns and villages perched on mountainsides include Peillon, Saorge, Èze, Gourdon, Sainte Agnes, Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, and Tourrettes sur Loup. In the Alps part of this region you can find Mercantour National Park, Le Queyras Regional Nature Park. Ski resorts of note include Serre Chevalier, Montgenèvre, La Foux d’Allos, Auron, Isola 2000 and Valberg. Other natural locations of interest to filmmakers and photographers include Verdon gorges, Sainte-Victoire mountain, and Les Écrins National Park, lavender fields and olive groves. The Les Mées solar farm is located in the rolling hills of La Colle des Mées plateau. Colourful markets sell local specialities like olive oil, tapenade, tian, Sisteron lamb, Banon cheese, Cavaillon melon, Menton lemons, Calissons d’Aix biscuits and Provence honey. Dishes of note include ratatouille and bouillabaisse. Luma Arles is a Frank Gehry designed art campus.
Corsica. The “Island of Beauty” and birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte, Corsica is known for its beautiful beaches, seaside resorts, and charming mountainside villages. Cities of note include Ajaccio, Bastia, Calvi, Corte, Porto-Vecchio and Sartène. The local cuisine is excellent, whether it’s cheese, charcuterie or chestnut specialities. Try the Corsican style veau sauté aux olives.
Paris and Marseilles are the main production centres but some crews and equipment can also be found in Aquitaine, Rhone Alpes, Nord Pas de Calais and other provinces.
France has hosted many Hollywood productions including Saving Private Ryan, Midnight in Paris, Da Vinci Code, and The Bourne Identity, to name a few.
French Overseas Departments and Territories include Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Réunion, Mayotte, French Polynesia, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Wallis and Futuna, Saint Martin, St Barts, New Caledonia, and French Southern and Antarctic Lands. Contact us if you are looking for production support or shooting crew in any of the places.
France Film Location Permits
France has a streamlined permitting process and most locations are open to filming.
Paris street filming requires a permit from the Paris Film Office (for the City of Paris) and from the Prefecture de Police (the city’s police authority). If the crew consists of fewer than 10 people with a light amount of equipment, you will only need a permit from the Prefecture de Police. Permits generally take about a week to process. Most Paris streets and landmarks are free. Drone filming is possible.
You can control traffic on the Champs de Elysee providing you shoot early in the morning. This usually takes about 10 days to permit.
It is possible but difficult to get permission to film at the Louvre Museum (including the Louvre Pyramid). The decision is based on whether the brand is deemed to match the image of the museum. For instance, the Louvre may accept filming for a high end perfume but reject filming for a soft drink. The permit process usually takes at least 3 weeks and officials reserve the right to revoke permission at any stage. The location fee is also determined on a case by case basis. It can be up to 50,000 EUROS.
As far as image rights are concerned, only buildings whose architect is living or who has died less than 70 years ago are subject to image rights. Additional rules also apply, such as with the Eiffel Tower which is free to use by day but if shooting by night, royalties are due to the lighting artists.
Even if you have a small b-roll shoot, you are required to hold valid insurance.
Please contact us for location specific information.
When To Shoot?
The climate of France can be divided into three climatic zones – Oceanic, Continental and Mediterranean. Paris and Western France have an oceanic climate with warm summers and chilly winters. Central and Eastern France have a temperate continental climate. Southern France – Riviera, Provence and Roussillon have a Mediterranean climate with hot dry summers and mild winters. June to September is the high season. The Alps have snowy winters. For monthly weather statistics please see here.
France celebrates year-round with events that can be sure to involve good food, wine, and music. Of particular interest to filmmakers and photographers are the:
• Carnaval de Nice in February / March
• Cannes Film Festival in May.
• The French Open grand slam tennis tournament is held in Paris through May / June.
• Cannes Lions Advertising Festival in June.
• Bordeaux Wine Festival in June.
• Paris Air Show in June.
• The 24 Hours of Le Mans takes place in Le Mans in June.
• Bastille Day is July 14th.
• Nice Jazz Festival in July.
• Tour de France in July.
• Interceltique Festival in Brittany in August.
• The Vendee Globe round-the-world solo sailing race starts in Vendee in November, and takes place every four years.
Public holidays may affect timing, availability and costs. See here for public holiday dates in France.
Costs & Tax Incentives
Costs. France is a relatively expensive place to shoot. This is due mainly to the high costs of crew. France trades in the Euro. See here for the current VAT rate. Any locations requiring travel outside of Paris or Marseille are an additional cost to filming. That said, our locally based fixers and service producers will negotiate deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget.
Tax Incentives. At present there are no tax incentives for foreign commercials filming in France. Tax incentives exist for TV dramas / series, animations and feature films. The Tax Rebate for International Production (TRIP), for films and high-end TV series is 30% on qualifying expenses. Visit Film France for more information.
Film Crew & Talent
Crews. France has a very good pool of directors, directors of photography and stills photographers. France has a great depth of experienced, English speaking key and supporting crew. Crews are non-union for feature films and commercials. For stunt crews check out France Stunt.
Contact us if you are looking for a Paris, Marseilles, or Cannes based director, DP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, or any other film crew in France.
Talent is union for feature films although the unions are not as strong as they once were. Talent is non-union for commercials and buyouts are negotiable. The buyout amount depends on the brand – buyouts are often less for smaller brands and more for larger brands.
France has a very good and extensive pool of multicultural and multilingual talent. Model agencies of note include Rebecca Model and Elite Models. Actors agencies of note include L’Agence de Comediens, Coccinelle, Success Models and Boutchou. Wanted Models offer interesting and usual looks. For laws governing working with children and infants see CNC.
Fringes. Production must pay 62% social security on crew wages. Talent social security contribution is 48% but agencies include this in the fee. Contact us for more information.
Premiums. Standard shoot day is 8 hours but it can usually be negotiated to a 10 hour day. The maximum allowed shoot day by law is 12 hours. If you go into a night shoot, weekend or public holiday our producer negotiates and packages a deal that is fair to all involved.
France Film Equipment
Equipment. Both Arri and Panavision camera, grip and lighting equipment available as well as a host of specialty suppliers you might expect to find in any developed production centre including Motion Control, Wescam, all the cranes, all the heads, all the toys for car commercials, heli-mounts, underwater filming, etc. For productions looking to bring in film equipment France is an ATA carnet country.
Art Department, Studios, Backlots, & Post Production
Art department and set construction. Art department is very strong. To give you an example films such as City of Lost Children and Amelie were shot in Paris. Set construction is of the highest standard but it is very expensive. French companies themselves often head to Eastern Europe to achieve projects heavy on set construction.
Studios and Backlots. France has high a range of large and small quality film studios.
Post Production. Very high standard of post production facilities in Paris. Of note are BUF, Mac Guff, and Micros Image.
Visas & Work Permits
France is a member of the Schengen Area. There are no specific work permits required for visiting crews. Crews travelling on US passports can enter and film visa-free for stays of up to 90 days.
Transport & Accommodation
Transportation Infrastructure. Highly developed transportation infrastructure. Many international and budget airlines service flights to and from French cities. The train system is extensive and often a faster alternative to flying. Paris is a very busy, congested city with limited parking near the main points of interest.
Accommodation. Contact us for rates at film friendly hotels in Paris, Marseilles and Cannes. For longer stays we can also organize serviced apartments. Hotels of note include:
Safety. France is a safe and reliable place to film. See here for up to date travel advice.
Down Time. Joie de vivre.
Projects. For an example of TV commercials, stills campaigns, online content, corporate videos, virtual reality 360 content, feature films, TV series and documentaries shot in France, please see below:
Hire France Production Support & Shooting Crew
If you are looking for a film or photographic production service company, line producer or fixer for your shoot in France, please contact us.
If you are looking for a shooting crew for your shoot in France, such as a director, DoP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, please contact us.
We are able to provide you with answers, references and bids quickly.