France is one of the most common European settings in anime, with its eternal beauty and style. Paris, its capital, is the most common French city in terms of appearances in series and one of the most common for Europe.
This listicle aims to show you the best anime that take place in France, according to our personal taste. We will propose shows that represent the country from different perspectives.
Table of Contents
11. Paris no Isabelle
Set after the Franco-Prussian war, Paris no Isabelle is one of those late 70s series that you can watch if you feel nostalgic.
The protagonist Isabelle is a 15-year-old girl who escapes to London after the besieging of Paris and starts working against the French Prime Minister as a secret agent.
Isabelle is quite similar to Lady Oscar in terms of attitude and love, as they both love their childhood friends. The underlying drama is quite different, as Paris no Isabelle cannot boast the same depth as The Rose of Versailles.
This anime features a love triangle, we recommend it if and only if you want to watch something with the late 70s vibe and some good melodrama.
The animations are one of the weakest points of this show and the story is not even detailed, so the only reason you have is for the drama.
10. Sakura Wars: Ecole de Paris
A 3-part OVA from the Sakura Wars franchise, telling the story of 5 young girls trying to save a 1926 Paris from evil.
It’s nothing special but we recommend it if you already love the Sakura Wars series and want to spend some free time, watching a good anime set in the 1920s.
The setting is not exactly the best to enjoy Paris but can be a great way to start knowing the Sakura Wars brand.
9. Maria the Virgin Witch
Set in medieval France during the Hundred Years’ War against England, this anime is a nice addition to this list as we have just talked about more recent settings.
The protagonist Maria is a young witch living with her 2 familiars. She will try to disrupt the war and use her magic powers to ensure peace.
The archangel Michael warns her: if she interferes again, she will no longer have her magic if she loses her virginity.
This romantic comedy is a good example of learning history while having fun.
8. The Case Study of Vanitas
The story is set in an alternate 19th-century Steampunk Paris, where technology has taken a different path, making this show also one of the best historical romance.
The protagonist Noah is a vampire called upon to investigate mysterious attacks by his fellow humans. Despite being fully integrated into society have for some time now begun to carry out random assaults caught up in a kind of feral state.
The key to stopping them seems to be possessed by a doctor and it is the mysterious Book of Vanitas.
This series is from the same author as Pandora Hearts, with the difference that this anime adaptation is quite good compared to Pandora’s.
As a rule of thumb, we recommend you to check the manga as well and the previous work Pandora Hearts even though it’s not set in France.
7. Nodame Cantabile: Paris-hen
Nodame Cantabile is a romantic comedy with drama elements, following the story of the first-class Japanese musician Shinichi Chiaki. His dream is to play among the elites in Europe, although he cannot go there due to his fear of flying.
Things will change when he meets Megumi Noda (Nodame), a remarkable pianist. The two fall in love and go to Paris in this sequel, as the first season is set in Japan.
A good show if you love music, drama, and, of course, the French setting.
6. Croisée in a Foreign Labyrinth The Animation
The story takes place in the second half of the 19th century as Yune, a Japanese girl, accompanies her friend Oscar back to France. She will work at his ironwork shop in Paris.
Oscar’s nephew Claude accepts to take care of Yune and they start living together. There is no romance in this anime and it’s just 12 episodes.
Recommended for the clothing and art which are very realistic and detailed. This series deal with the concept of cultural shock quite well, as the context of the story is the expansion of Japanese culture in the West.
Noir is an action drama anime and follows the story of two women as they discover their past. The story is initially set in Japan but later takes place in Paris, as the two main characters travel to France.
The French assassin Mireille Bouquet receives an email from Kirika Yuumura, a Japanese student, where she is invited to discover her past.
While this request sounds like a joke at first the two will realize they have something in common, although they have no memories of that.
A girls-with-guns anime with slow pacing and apparently no bloodshed, that we still recommend to you if you are interested in the genre.
4. Le Chevalier D’Eon
This time the story is set in 18th-century Paris and is focused on mystery and supernatural elements. Charles de Beaumont, also called Le Chevalier D’Eon, is a French spy serving King Louis XV and the main character of this show.
After the death of his sister and the disappearance of several people, Charles joins the police to investigate on the case.
It seems that the culprit was a joint effort of the French and Russian nobility. That’s not all, these nobles can transform into gargoyles as well! Charles’ dead sister Lia will possess the body of his brother to help him solve the riddle.
Le Chevalier d’Eon is highly recommended if you want to see a supernatural and mythical Paris shrouded in mystery.
3. Belladonna of Sadness
Belladonna of Sadness is an avant-garde movie that was released in 1973 and directed by the renowned Osamu Tezuka, inspired by Jules Michelet’s book, La Sorcière.
The story takes place in a poor medieval French village and revolves around the protagonist, Jeanne, a simple girl who happily marries her love, Jean.
Unfortunately, their joy is short-lived when the local feudal lord forces Jeanne to submit to a brutal ritual rape.
Devastated and broken, Jeanne begins to have strange dreams, where she imagines herself seeing spirits offering her deals for revenge.
Belladonna of Sadness is a unique movie, and not for everyone. The themes it explores are intense and not suitable for sensitive people. The unique animation style is unlike anything else you will see.
If you’re intrigued, we highly recommend giving it a chance because it is truly a true masterpiece.
2. The Count of Monte Cristo
A short anime based on the French novel “The Count of Monte Cristo” by Alexandre Dumas père. The story is set in 5053 as the French aristocrats Viscount Albert de Morcerf and Baron Franz d’Epinay attend the festival of Carnival on the moon city of Luna.
Albert meets the gaze of the mysterious Count of Monte Cristo during an opera performance. The two become friends and he introduces him to French society.
The true colors of the Count are yet to be revealed as his goal is to enact revenge on those who wronged him.
The futuristic representation of Paris is a feast for the eyes and you cannot miss this anime if you want something quick and short to watch.
1. The Rose of Versailles
The Rose of Versailles is one of the most important shojo manga ever, born from the pen of Riyoko Ikeda. The 1979 animated adaptation was edited by Nippon Television for a total of 40 episodes.
Set in 18th-century France, the series depicts life in the court of Versailles from the coronation of Louis XVI until the French Revolution. This also makes this show one of the best and more accurate anime set in Europe.
The story follows young Queen Marie Antoinette of Austria and Oscar François de Jarjayes, her contemporary.
This is the most famous anime on this list, a true cult of history anime with a touch of romance and a vibe from the late 70s. Moreover, it features one of the most strong female leads in history.