Paris’ quirky cinemas
Le Nouvel Odeon designed by Matali Crasset breaks the black-box mould. (Kim Laidlaw Adrey)
The Césars -- France’s answer to the Oscars – is coming up at the end of this month, and the French silent film The Artist has been enchanting movie-goers and critics the world over.
But France has a long history in the “Seventh Art” (as it is referred to in French), and Paris has a great selection of cinemas in which to watch the country’s classic films.
Left bank independent cinema La Pagode (57 Bis Rue Babylone, 75007) is a beautiful Japanese-style building with an oriental garden that was built in 1895 by the director of the nearby Bon Marché department store for his wife. It was transformed into a cinema and opened to the public in 1931, and the impressively ornate Japanese room, which once hosted balls and galas, is now the setting for both arthouse and mainstream films.
Le Nouvel Odeon (6 rue de l'Ecole de Médecine, 75006) in the Latin Quarter is a thoroughly contemporary cinema that breaks the traditional black-box mould with bright, cheerful colours from designer Matali Crasset. Bonus points are awarded for numbered seating that you can reserve in advance and special children’s screenings on Sunday mornings.
MK2 is an excellent arthouse cinema chain in Paris. The two branches on either side of the Canal de l’Ourcq (14 Quai de la Seine and 7 Quai de la Loire, 75019) are connected by a charming boat; and the roster of films features Hollywood blockbusters alongside indie films from France and the rest of the world.
The one-screen Max Linder Panorama cinema (24 Boulevard Poissonniere, 75009), named after the silent-film star who bought the cinema in 1914, has three-tier theatre-style seating, a panoramic screen and surround sound, so it’s a great place to be awed by high-impact films.
Inaugurated in 1928, Studio 28 (10 Rue Tholozé, 75018) is Montmartre’s arthouse cinema where Jean Cocteau and Luis Bunel used to hang out. It retains its original charm with chandeliers made by Cocteau, and a scene from the French film Amélie was filmed here. The cinema now hosts retrospectives and also holds thematic evenings once a month with a debate.
If you’re looking for a more social way to enjoy a film, The Popcorn Project cinema club each month organises the screening of an old film, chosen by its members, followed by a drink and a DJ set.
Kim Laidlaw Adrey is the Paris Localite for BBC Travel. She also writes unlockparis.blogspot.com.