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FILM

French TV and films to watch in February

Classic films, new comedy, water-cooler drama, culinary reality, and world-class sport all vie for our attention in the shortest month of the year.

French TV and films to watch in February
Image: Totems / Amazon Prime

Here we check out the best of what’s on offer across French TV and streaming platforms in February.

Claude Berri collection – Netflix

From February 1st

Oh, Netflix … with not one but seven films from the great Claude Berri available on the first day of February, you are spoiling us.

The on-demand platform will add Tchao Pantin, Jean de Florette, Manon des Sources, Uranus, Le Vieil Homme et l’Enfant, Germinal, and his penultimate film Ensemble, c’est tout. Try to watch them all – but if you can’t, start with Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources … then watch them all.

The Winter Olympics – France 2 and France 3

From February 4th to February 20th

Some 87 French athletes have travelled across the world to take part in the Winter Games in Beijing.

There are plenty of reasons to question this event, but for these athletes just getting here is the culmination of many years of effort – and there’ll be some epic performances on (artificial) snow and ice during the competition.

Une intime conviction – Netflix

From February 6th

Antoine Raimbault’s courtroom drama, based on the true story of the two trials of a Toulouse law professor following the disappearance of his wife in the early years of the 21st century.

All but one of the actors play real people who were involved in the actual case – Olivier Gourmet plays current Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti, who was involved in the case in his previous career as a lawyer.

Prête-moi ta main – Disney Plus

From February 11th

Middle-aged Parisian bachelor Alain Chabat is in no rush to get married. But, when his devoted mother Bernadette Lafont, and five sisters agree that he should settle down, they set Luis up for a series of doomed dates.

To stop their well-meaning match-making, he asks his best friend’s sister Charlotte Gainsbourg to pose as his new girlfriend. We think you know where this is going…

Top Chef – M6

Wednesday, February 16th, and Replay services from February 17th

Good news and bad news for fans of culinary reality shows. Top Chef returns this month to dominate Wednesday evening schedules for weeks to come, with its usual mix of cooking challenges (think the French version of MasterChef).

This time, sadly, there’s no Michel Sarran to lead the yellow team. He’s been replaced by Glenn Viel – the youngest chef in the world to be awarded three Michelin stars – as the fourth chef leader, alongside Philippe Etchebest, Hélène Darroze and Paul Pairet. 

 

Totems – Amazon Prime

From February 18th

1965. The frozen heart of the Cold War. A French rocket scientist is sent out into the field on an impossible covert mission – and promptly falls for a Soviet spy. Niels Schneider, Vera Kolesnikova, Lambert Wilson and José Garcia star in what’s already being described as ‘Event TV’.

Le Chant du Loup – Netflix

From February 20th

As if seven Claude Berri films and a courtroom drama weren’t enough, this high-tension undersea thriller with Francois Civil and Omar Sy will have you biting your nails to the quick later in the month.

On board a French nuclear submarine, everything rests on a man with the gift of recognising every sound. Deemed infallible, he makes an error that puts the rescue mission and the crew in danger. It’s directed by Antonin Baudry – who’s also a diplomat specialising in cultural affairs, comic book author, and screenwriter. You have to wonder how he finds the time…

Weekend Family – Disney Plus

From February 23rd

Eric Judor stars in Disney Plus’s first French production – a comedy – as a three-by-three father, with three daughters by three former partners, whose already complicated life becomes even more difficult when he falls in love for a fourth time. 

Comme des Garçons – Amazon Prime

From February 25th

A womanising sports journalist in late 1960s France organises a women’s football match for his paper’s annual fete, and ropes in the editor’s assistant to help him. Little do the warring pair realise that they’re about to create the first women’s football team in the country.

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LIVING IN FRANCE

Traffic warnings for France ahead of holiday weekend

This weekend represents the first chance to 'faire le pont' and have a long holiday weekend - and the French seem set to make the most of it with warnings of extremely heavy traffic from Wednesday.

Traffic warnings for France ahead of holiday weekend

Thursday, May 26th marks the Christian festival of Ascension and is a public holiday in France.

More importantly, it’s the first time this year that French workers have had the opportunity to faire le pont (do the bridge) and create a long weekend.

In France, most public holidays fall on different days each year and if they happen to fall on the weekend then there are no extra days off work.

This year that happened on New Year’s Day (a Saturday) and both of the early May public holidays (the workers’ holiday on May 1st and VE Day on May 8th, which both fell on a Sunday).

READ ALSO Why 2022 is a bad year for public holidays

But as Ascension is on a Thursday, workers have the option to take a day of annual leave on Friday and therefore create a nice four-day weekend.

And it appears that many are planning on doing just that, as the traffic forecaster Bison futé is predicting extremely heavy traffic from Wednesday evening, as people prepare to make their after-work getaway and head to the coast, the countryside or the mountains to fully profit from their holiday weekend.

According to Bison futé maps, the whole country is coloured red – very heavy traffic – on both Wednesday and Thursday as people take to the roads to leave the cities.

Map: Bison futé

Meanwhile Sunday is coloured black – the highest level, meaning extremely heavy traffic and difficult driving conditions – across the whole country. 

Map: Bison futé

If you were hoping to take the train instead you might be out of luck, SNCF reports that most TGV services are sold out for over the holiday weekend. 

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