L'Auberge Espagnole

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L'Auberge espagnole
French theatrical release poster
Directed byCédric Klapisch
Produced byBruno Levy
Written byCédric Klapisch
StarringRomain Duris
Judith Godrèche
Audrey Tautou
CinematographyDominique Colin
Edited byFrancine Sandberg [fr]
Distributed byMars Distribution (France)
Filmax International (Spain)
Release date
17 May 2002 (2002-05-17)
Running time
122 minutes
Budget$5.6 million[1]
Box office$31 million[2]

L'Auberge Espagnole (/lˈbɛərʒ ˌɛspənˈjl, -pæn-/;[3] literally: "the Spanish inn"), also known as Pot Luck (UK) and The Spanish Apartment (Australia), is a 2002 French-Spanish film directed and written by Cédric Klapisch. It is a co-production of Mate Production, Via Digital, BAC Films, Ce qui me meut, France 2 Cinéma and Studio Canal).[4]

The movie is about an economics graduate student studying for a year in Barcelona, Spain, as part of the Erasmus programme, where he learns from a group of students from all over Western Europe in a student share-house.

The film is told in the first-person perspective of the main character, Xavier, and is mainly in French. Some of the dialogue is in English and a significant amount is in Spanish, as well as small amounts in Catalan, Danish, German and Italian.

L'Auberge Espagnole is the first part of the Spanish Apartment trilogy, which continues in the sequels Russian Dolls (2005) and Chinese Puzzle (2013).[5]


Xavier (Romain Duris), a 24-year-old French student, attends the ERASMUS programme in Barcelona as part of his professional pursuits against the wishes of his girlfriend Martine (Audrey Tautou). On the flight there, he meets a French doctor and his wife, who let him stay in their home while he searches for an apartment. Xavier finds space in an apartment with other students from England, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Germany, and Denmark, creating an ambiance of chaos and culture shock.

The roommates develop a unique companionship as they struggle together through their cultural and linguistic challenges. Martine visits Xavier and returns disappointed when she realizes things are not the same. Xavier begins an affair with the French doctor's wife, using seduction tips learned from Isabelle (Cécile de France), his lesbian roommate from Belgium. William arrives from England to visit his sister Wendy and creates tension with his abrasive manner and culturally insensitive comments.

Xavier becomes deeply depressed and hallucinates after Martine breaks up with him. When he seeks the French doctor's advice, the doctor reveals that his wife confessed everything to him. He demands that Xavier stop seeing her.

Discord divides the roommates, but they come together to aid Wendy, who was nearly caught by her boyfriend in a romantic encounter with an American.

After bidding farewell to his new close friends, Xavier returns to Paris and gets his desired job at the ministry, but realizes that his experiences in Spain have changed him. He subsequently runs away on his first day on the job and pursues his dream to become a writer, recounting the story of his experiences in the Auberge Espagnole. Towards the end Xavier can be seen getting together with his girlfriend Martine as well.


Meaning of the title[edit]

The phrase auberge espagnole literally means "Spanish inn" or "Spanish hotel". It is a French idiomatic expression originally referring to a place where you can only eat what you bring and by extension, a place or situation where you only find what you brought.[6] A second, more neutrally connoted and recent interpretation of the phrase is a dinner diversified by the fact that each guest has contributed some part of the meal; this suggests the English-language idea of a "potluck," earning the film this title in some English-speaking areas. A third meaning of auberge espagnole is a common resting area for travelers from a variety of different cultures and regions.[7] The more direct translation as "The Spanish Apartment" is also playing on the French phrase because the main characters are all literally sharing an apartment in Spain.


L'Auberge Espagnole features a diverse soundtrack, which includes:

Critical response[edit]

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 76%, based on 92 reviews, with an average rating of 6.53/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "This multicultural comedy captures the chaos and excitement of being young."[8] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 65 out of 100, based on 31 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[9]


Award / Film Festival Category Recipients and nominees Result
Brisbane International Film Festival Audience Award Won
César Awards Best Film Nominated
Best Director Cédric Klapisch Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Judith Godrèche Nominated
Most Promising Actress Cécile de France Won
Best Writing Cédric Klapisch Nominated
Best Editing Francine Sandberg [fr] Nominated
European Film Awards People's Choice Award for Best European Film Nominated
Karlovy Vary International Film Festival Audience Award Won
Lumières Awards Best Screenplay Cédric Klapisch Won
Most Promising Actress Cécile de France Won
Sydney Film Festival Audience Award Won
Vancouver Film Critics Circle Awards Best Foreign Language Film Nominated


  1. ^ "L'Auberge espagnole". JP's Box-Office.
  2. ^ "L'Auberge Espagnole". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-12-07.
  3. ^ "Auberge". Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House. Retrieved 2016-01-22. "Espagnole". Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House. Retrieved 2016-01-22.
  4. ^ "L'Auberge espagnole - Cinémathèque française" (in French). La Bibliothèque du film. Retrieved 2012-12-07.
  5. ^ lefigaro.fr (2012-09-11). "Cédric Klapisch tourne Casse-tête chinois à New York". Le Figaro. Retrieved 2012-12-07.
  6. ^ Aline Angoustures (2004). L'Espagne. Le Cavalier Bleu. p. 117. ISBN 978-2-84670-078-8.
  7. ^ Planelles, Georges (2013). "Une auberge espagnole". Expressio.fr.
  8. ^ "L'Auberge Espagnole (2003)". Rotten Tomatoes.
  9. ^ "L'Auberge Espagnole reviews". Metacritic.

External links[edit]