The Louxor, a legendary cinema in Paris’
north, reopened on 17 April after more than 20 years of closure, reviving a
lost and unique part of the capital’s cultural heritage that should be added to
any visitor’s list of interesting – and quirky – sites to see.
1921, the imposing building’s neo-Egyptian architecture (hence its name after the
Egyptian city of Luxor), dominates a crossroads that straddles the border of
Paris’ 9th, 10th and 18th arrondissements. A
successful cinema from the 1920s to the 1970s, it was sold to a private
developer in the 1980s and turned into a nightclub. In 1988, it closed and was
left derelict until Paris City Hall redeveloped and reopened it as a cinema, making
it a publicly owned building with an important cultural role in the
The Louxor’s impressive structure, with
its mosaic columns, saw it classified as a listed building in 1981, which saved
it from demolition. Following a two-year renovation, the stunning
gold, cobalt and black mosaics of flowers, snakes and scarab beetles on the
façade have been meticulously restored to the original 1920s architecture. The
vast interior – also fully restored to its former glory – houses three screens, one of which has a
ceiling painted with a night-sky mural in the style of an Egyptian tomb.
will specialise in art house films – all screened in their original language – and
will also host cinema festivals, educational courses on film and movie-based
activities, such as fairytale readings and films for children.
Kim Laidlaw is the
Paris Localite for BBC Travel. She also writes www.unlockparis.com.