Murder in… a television series invites tourists to discover France
Imagine being able to visit some of the most beautiful villages, towns and regions of France from the comfort of your home, on your own schedule. No passport or green pass required.
Murder in …, an inventive and creative French television series, allows travel enthusiasts to immerse themselves in the intimate life of locals who live and work in destinations they may have visited before or in places they would like to go.
Shot in almost all of the 18 regions of France, some episodes take place in towns so small that you have probably never heard of them. Others are better known places but still off the beaten tourist track, and far from the big cities. To get to these gems, you will need to drive there from another location.
How to watch Murder in ...
Choice of MHz, a streaming service for foreign and international content, now broadcasts seven seasons of the program, which includes more than 60 episodes (and it’s not over yet). Season 8 of Murder in … is scheduled to premiere on November 23, 2021.
The very popular series originally aired on French television (France 3) in 2013 and is still ongoing. Each 90-minute episode, the length of a feature film, is stand-alone so viewers don’t necessarily have to watch them in any particular order.
Janice Chung from Toronto, a renowned travel blogger and Francophile, has visited France 34 times. The last time was in March 2020, just before the pandemic hit. She is already full of 16 episodes of Murder in …
His viewing strategy: “I first choose the places I have been (for example, Murder in Sarlat, Murder in Collioure, Murder in Aigues-Mortes, then the places I would like to visit in the future. To watch shows in chronological order.
Each engaging episode centers around a complicated murder mystery, involving two detectives or investigators called in to help solve it. These thrillers are intricate with minimal gore and guts, leaving viewers to question the identity of the murderer (s) until the elusive details emerge at the very end.
“Basically you get a new murder in a new location every time,” Chung explains.
All of the stories are extremely well acted out, featuring strong women in lead roles, which usually end up getting involved in a romantic banter. The supporting cast adds to the sense of belonging, depicting the lives of ordinary people of all social and economic classes. The characters are so well developed that you want to learn more about their individual stories as the mystery unfolds.
Vive Le France: The common thread
Quite unusual for a series of this type, different writers and directors are credited for each episode, and each features a different cast of talented actors.
But it is the beauty and allure of France – and its local and regional customs, its unique history and legends, its dazzling art and architecture, its distinct dialects and expressions, and its mouth-watering foods and drinks – that bring together these disparate stories to create a cohesive whole.
“Excellent cinematography highlights landscapes and sometimes historic monuments,” explains Chung. For example, one episode takes viewers inside the Palais des Papes in Avignon, Provence; another inside Rouen Cathedral in Rouen, Normandy.
In addition to the impressive aerial photographs throughout the series, viewers will enjoy locating or mapping the precise locations they see with a smartphone or other device with maps. It is the quaint and unique backdrops that make the series so visually appealing.
In an episode set in Strasbourg, in the Grand Est region, I was delighted to recognize a scene that was shot inside a hotel (Regent Pavilion Petite France) where I had once stayed and saw the bridge over the canal I walked through Colmar. Veteran travelers will discover many such experiences.
More than mystery
“I’m not much of a mystery lover,” Chung admits, “But I love the interesting stories that take place in France. For me, it’s the setting that matters.
Since international travel is still complicated (sometimes more complicated than mysterious murders), travel enthusiasts will be happy to know that this is a series that keeps on giving.
“I was quick enough to buy all the episodes I could because I knew from the minute I saw the first one that it would resonate with our viewers and be a hit,” said Lance Schwulst, Vice President of Content Strategy at MHz Networks. It turned out to be the streaming service’s most watched series.
“It’s a perfect mix of mysterious murder, an engaging duo of investigators and iconic places of France,” he says. “It’s such a perfect way to show off a country while entertaining potential tourists.” He wonders why no other country has stepped in with its own version of Murder in ...
This French series is subtitled in English; ideal for those who want to brush up on their language before their next trip!
See a complete List of all Murder In locations… Episodes broadcast on MHz Choice (available in the United States and Canada).