The French tourism industry has so much to thank the country's filmmakers for that the mind boggles at how many directors are on the Christmas card list. And getting an even bigger one this year will be Cédric Klapisch, whose ensemble piece 'Paris' makes you want to book a flight to the city for the following day.

Get ready for lots of ifs, buts and maybes as you step into the lives of people who may look like they have got it all together, but are all mixed-up on the inside.

Single parent of three Élise (Binoche) longs to meet Mr Right but has forgotten just what she has to offer (granted, this subplot is extremely far-fetched). Her brother Pierre (Duris) has just been told he needs a heart transplant and feels that every day signals the end of something else in his life.

Roland (Luchini) is a history professor who is in the middle of his mid-life wake-up call, has embarked on a TV carer and bedded his hottest student (Laurent - hang on, maybe there's hope for us all). His brother Phillippe (Cluzet) is facing up to fatherhood and living in terror of Roland's belief that he is 'normal'.

And then there's Jean (Dupontel), the fruit seller who fancies Élise, and Franky (Lellouche), another stallholder with the hots for Jean's ex-wife Caroline (Ferrier). Ah, l'amour!

This is one of those films where you'll feel happier leaving the cinema than you did before you went in. While some may describe 'Paris' as a French version of 'Short Cuts', the only thing they have in common is the multiple storylines - this is a lighter, more hopeful movie which mixes humour and tenderness and charms in many different ways.

With a fair chunk of France's A-list on show, the acting is superb and how each makes their character come alive is a joy. If you're a member of the Binoche fanclub you'll be in heaven, while Luchini, one of the greats we don't get to see enough of around these parts, is genius as the man who gets his own TV show and pulls someone over 30 years his junior, and then wonders where it all went wrong.

Of course, the city itself is the real star and if you're someone who ends up sighing at the sight of every street sign, boulangerie and metro stairwell you'll sound like the air coming out of a dinghy in the cinema. Could you end up loving the place even more after this? Well, yes.

That's not to say you won't find room for improvement, though. With so many characters, Klapisch needed to make a longer film and two of the most intriguing storylines - Soualem as the man who makes the arduous journey from Cameroon and Ouazani as the woman of North African parents who ends up working with the city's most racist baker - deserved more screentime. Perhaps Klapisch can make a sequel.

Until then, 'Paris' is exactly like your stay in the city: over all too soon.

Harry Guerin