France is on COVID-19 lockdown, and many other countries are recommending that people self-isolate. We’re all cooped up in our homes but there is a silver lining… Now we have the perfect excuse to snuggle up with a cup of tea or glass of wine, some chocolate or popcorn, and binge-watch some French-language Netflix series! Here are a few of my favorites.
Ad Vitam is a science fiction drama set in a future when ageing can be frozen and people can live forever via a process of “regeneration.” A cop, Darius, and a young woman, Christa, investigate a mass suicide of a group of “minors”. Minors are those under the age of 30, which is the age when the regeneration process begins. In a time threatened by overpopulation, minors are protesting for the right to age, and die, naturally. Meanwhile, the regenerated are questioning the need to have children at all. Ad Vitam won the Best French Series Award at the 2018 Séries Mania Festival. This thought-provoking show is currently only one season, but here’s hoping there’s another.
Who Killed Little Gregory
True crime series have been all the rage for a while now. Following the huge success of the American series Making a Murderer and the podcast Serial, Who Killed Little Gregory is France’s very own contribution to the genre. This five-part documentary series tells the true story of one of France’s most infamous crime mysteries, the murder of a four-year-old boy, Grégory Villemin, who was found dead in the Vologne river in the Vosges region of France in 1984. The series tracks the arduous journey to find his killer. Like any good true crime series, it’s a frustrating tale full of twists and turns.
Unit 42 / Unité 42
Unit 42 is a French-language Belgian crime series about a widowed cop, Sam, who leads a special cyber crimes unit, which includes former hacker Billie, to track down tech-savvy criminals who are terrorizing Belgium. The series also delves into the personal life of Sam, who is haunted by his dead wife and struggles to take care of his three children. And also that of Billie, who seems to be suffering from heartbreak and has her own personal agenda. At the moment there’s only one season, but a second one is in the cards.
Marseille is a political drama about power, corruption, and redemption in the port city. The series stars the renowned Gérard Depardieu as Robert Taro, Marseille’s mayor of 25 years, who is opposed by his young, ambitious, former protégé, Lucas Barrès, played by Benoît Magimel. While perhaps a tad melodramatic and unrealistic, Marseille is still addictive—you’re always left wanting to know what happens next. If you love a bit of drama, you’re sure to love Marseille.
Call My Agent / Dix Pour Cent
Call My Agent is kind of the French equivalent of the US series Entourage. The storylines for this comedic series come from the lived experience of co-creator Dominique Besnehard, who was one of the most well-known talent agents in France. The series is set at a top Paris talent firm. After the untimely death of the company founder, four agents – Andréa, Gabriel, Mathias, and Arlette – struggle to keep their star clients happy, their business afloat, as well as their own complicated private lives. Each episode features real-life stars, such as Juliette Binoche, Monica Bellucci, and Isabelle Huppert, playing exaggerated versions of themselves. And there’s word that Gérard Depardieu and Marion Cotillard might feature in the upcoming fourth season.
Candice Renoir is a crime drama about a divorced mother of four, Candice, who resumes her job as a police commander in the south of France after a 10-year hiatus. Despite feeling slightly rusty and the obvious mistrust of her team, she manages to solve some difficult cases. All while juggling her busy daily life, with family and romantic adventures thrown into the mix. Currently with seven seasons, this one is sure to keep you going.
- Read a review of Marseille by The Guardian.
- And this perspective of Who Killed Little Gregory.
- And check out these French-language Netflix movies.
Written by Ali Postma for HiP Paris. Looking to travel? Check out Haven In for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, France or Italy. Looking to rent long-term or buy in France or Italy? Ask us! We can connect you to our trusted providers for amazing service and rates.