Friday, July 09, 2021

Paris in July: Lupin

Recently, my husband Robert and I (you can say both Robert and Margaret/Marguerite in a French accent if you like!) have watched a really great series on Netflix called Lupin. It has been a massive hit so you may have already watched it too!

There are a number of things I loved about this show. Firstly, I loved the importance that is placed upon the book. The main character is Assane Diop, played by Omar Sy, is given a copy of the French classic Arsene Lupin by Maurice LeBlanc when he is a teenager and the story helps shape his life in many ways. And now, he is passing on his love for that book to his own son. 

In the book, Arsene Lupin is a gentleman thief, a master of disguise and trickery, able to disappear into a crowd at any time.  Think a French version of James Bond  with more cleverness and disguises, and less bodies. Maybe throw in a little Sherlock Holmes as well for good measure.

The show isn't a straight adaptation of the book, but it rather shaped and inspired by it. Whilst Assane's plans echo the plots in the various Lupin books, something one of the police recognises as a fellow fan, the series also celebrates the importance and popularity of the book in France, including an episode which is set at the Normandy beach town where fans of the book make a pilgrimage each year, dressed in the trademark cape and black hat. 

When Assane's father is accused of stealing a priceless necklace once owned by Marie Antoinette, he is sent to prison where he dies, leaving behind 14 year old Assane to fend for himself. Over the years, Assane becomes a master conman and thief, able to disguise himself in plain sight. Now, he has just one endgame in mind. He wants to prove that his father was framed for the theft and to bring the real criminals to justice. Those people are dangerous and powerful, and Assane needs to bring his A game, but he also needs to ensure that he keeps his ex and his son, Raoul, safe at the same time. Assane is always one step ahead of his foes and the police, even when you think he isn't. 

Assane does have a couple of trusted people in his life who are part of his escapades. We get to see the origins of these relationships as the story flashes back to 1995 and what happened to young Assane after his father died, and then how they play out as he enacts his revenge plan.

This show is very much a vehicle for Omar Sy, which is no bad thing. I have seen a few things with him now, including Two is a Family and Chocolat. I still really need to watch The Intouchables.

Paris is also a  big part of this story as you can see from this clip. Many of the famous sights of the city make an appearance on screen, but the producers were also not afraid to show the other Paris, the Paris which doesn't appear on postcards.

This song is actually called Gentleman cambrioleur (Gentleman Thief) and was actually part of the soundtrack for the French TV series of the same name which was created in the early 1970s. 

Here's the trailer

If you enjoy a well written, smart, intriguing, and fun thriller type show, then this might be a good choice. There are currently 10 episodes available on Netflix. I have heard that it is better to watch the French version with subtitles but we watched the version with English dubbing.

Have you watched Lupin?


  1. We really enjoyed this show, but it took a couple of episodes before we were hooked. We haven't watched the second season, but will start as soon as we finish watching Bosch!

  2. The first season was marvelous and we loved it, as you did. To us, the cleverness and humor seemed not to be as well-thought-out in the second season, and it was a bit predictable. In the first season, Diop's tricks and disguises seemed more believable as well. I was sure someone would write up this series for Paris in July!

    best... mae at

    1. I can see why you thought that about the second season. We watched them all one after another so there wasn't a big gap for us.

  3. No I have not. But will I?
    Yes please!!

  4. I've watched the first of this series and I just loved it and am looking forward to continuing. I've never read the books -- which can be either a good or bad thing -- but I'm very fond of the Lupin character and the premise.

    1. I haven't read the books either Jeanie! Hope you continue to enjoy the series.

  5. Not on Netflix, for fear of becoming an addict. But I did see an episode when staying in a hotel (pre-pandemic) and I am sure this could become a favourite. Love the song too.



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