Paris like New York is a cinematic city. It’s not hard to see why. On film, Paris’ majestic boulevards and painterly light has the habit of upstaging the stars. In life, the pavements and streets, crowded with cafés, set the stage for the intriguing minutiae of everyday life, as it is played out with a certain Parisian self-consciousness.
For Parisian’s who want to opt-out of this real-life drama – even if it’s only for a few hours − the cinema provides the perfect escape. English-speakers can join in too. On any given night, small cinemas dotted around the city show a selection of new releases, art house, and cult classics − all in their original languages. I have put together a rundown of the most beautiful cinemas (or the ones with the most interesting programmes), which are a sure winner for cinema lovers everywhere. But if you want to know more, check our Paris History of Cinema Guided Tour.
The recent restoration of this art-deco masterpiece in the Egyptian style has been a welcome re-addition to the cultural life of this cosmopolitan part of the 18th arrondissement. The large, main theatre of the cinema, decorated in a color scheme of gold and blue, with painted Egyptian motifs on the walls, has an old-school balcony − perfect for reliving the golden era of cinema. The Louxor can be found just across the road from Barbès-Rochechouart station. Visitors should be mindful that this station, with its Arab vendors selling contraband cigarettes at the gates, can be a little intimidating. It’s is not known to be particularly dangerous but caution should be observed.
The Pagode is one of the most unusual cinemas in the capital and is well worth a visit, even as an excuse to peek at its magnificent interior. The owner of Le Bon Marché department store built the venue in 1896 as a ballroom for his wife. The magnificent Japanese-inspired interior and gardens have an illustrious cinematic past. Becoming a cinema in the 1930s, it saw premieres by Jean Cocteau and later in the 1960s it was the preferred hangout of cult directors belonging to the Nouvelle Vague. Today the cinema remains a destination for lovers of art-house cinema.
This famous institution has had many homes in the past; it is now housed in a purpose built complex designed by Frank Gehry, situated near Metro Bercy. Regular festivals celebrating the world’s great directors include screenings of their iconic films. The building also houses exhibition spaces and has one of the largest film archives in the world.
The Champo cinema is frequented by the anorak clad denizens and students living in this part of town who love this cozy Saint Michel haunt, which plays old movies and cult classics.
Another favourite spot for local “cinéphiles”, the Filmothèque has a quick turnover of classic movies − and lots of ones you’ve never heard of. Check out the Billy Wilder reruns now showing.
Jean Cocteau famously designed the chandeliers in this iconic Montmartre cinema. He was a big fan of his own work, coming here regularly to watch films with the local artists living in this mythic area. Relive the magic. While you're at it and if you have some time, enjoy the artistic and eclectic atmosphere of this neighbourhood during our montmartre walking tour.
Perhaps Ingmar Bergman isn’t quite your thing. We get it. Thankfully there is a great selection of regular cinemas showing the latest Hollywood releases, often in their original language. The French chain UGC has cinemas dotted all over the city including one in the famous Odeon district on the left bank. Join the crowds of cinemagoers on a Saturday night for popcorn-induced fun.
Agathe was absolutely delightful! Her knowledge and charming personality made her an excellent tour guide. I would highly suggest this tour!!
Jesica was a great tour guide and made the experience one of the highlights of our entire trip to Paris. It certainly met our expectations.
Marjorie was just great! I didn't really want to do the Louvre but she made the history come alive in stories and I just LOVED our experience!
Alberto was a great guide, he was very informative. The Catacombs were just awesome. Would definitely recommend this to everyone!!
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