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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.