Borders have closed, planes have been grounded and even tourism destinations are urging people to stay home.

But globetrotters whose travel plans to France, Italy and Spain were thwarted or cancelled by the Covid-19 pandemic,  along with those in self-isolation going stir crazy from cabin fever, have a powerful escape mechanism at their disposal.

Here are a few travel movies that capture the spirit of Europe’s cobblestone streets and outdoor cafes — currently on lockdown:
Ratatouille, 2007

For kids, there’s no better movie than Ratatouille, which recreates Paris’s slate-grey roofs, landmarks, restaurants, cafes — and even rats — with fairytale magic.

To entertain the kids, make a night of it with a thematic French-inspired meal and after-dinner movie that excites their imagination.

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Ratatouille. Picture: Disney / Pixar
Amélie, 2001

For a feel-good film full of Parisian poetry, there’s Amélie, a heart-warming story about a young French woman (Audrey Tautou) who embarks on a personal quest to enact random acts of kindness for strangers.

Set in the bohemian neighbourhood of Montmartre, the film is a favourite among francophiles for its unapologetic clichés of Paris life.

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Amélie. Picture: Miramax
The Trip to Spain, 2017

After England and Italy (The Trip, 2011 and The Trip to Italy, 2014), Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon hit the road for another culinary road trip through Spain.

While the witty British banter between the BFFs and celebrity impressions are truly entertaining, viewers are also treated to images of pintxos and paella and scenes of Spain that make a lasting impression.

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The Trip to Spain. Picture: IFC Films
Under the Tuscan Sun, 2003

For anyone who has dreamed of dropping everything and moving to the Italian countryside, indulge the fantasy while watching Under the Tuscan Sun.

Diane Lane plays the role of a San Francisco writer who is gifted a 10-day trip to Tuscany, and on an uncharacteristic whim, buys an ageing villa and tries to set up a new life for herself in a country she doesn’t know.

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Under the Tuscan Sun. Photo: Touchtone Pictures
Angels and Demons, 2009

Rome and the Vatican serve as the setting for this thriller, starring Tom Hanks as symbologist Robert Langdon, who has been commissioned to help recover a missing vial of antimatter and unmask the secret society behind the act of terrorism, the Illuminati.

The film crisscrosses Rome, taking viewers on a wild chase throughout the historic city.

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Angels and Demons. Photo: Sony Pictures

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