Of course, you are not coming to Paris to go to the movies, you can do that at home, right? However, truth be told, some afternoon or evening you may be tired of walking around, and you just might want to sit back and watch a movie. Paris is one of the world’s cinema capitals, and you can see most US films in English (VO = version originale) at the same time as – or sometimes even before – they are released in the US. And if the weather is miserable – too hot, too cold or too wet, well, why not? You can go to any of the big cinemas on the Champs Elysees, or on the boulevard Saint-Germain or in the Opera neighborhood.
But there are other possibilities. When you are walking around the Latin Quarter, think about moving off the overcrowded boulevard Saint-Michel with its uninteresting shops and hucksters and heading back into the heart of the 5th arrondissement, to the rue Champollion, a little street that goes from the rue des Ecoles to the Place de la Sorbonne, running parallel to the boulevard Saint Michel. (Metro: Cluny-La Sorbonne, Line 10) There are 3 cinemas between n° 3 and n° 9, so surely you’ll find something to your liking! L’Arlequin, the Reflet Medicis and the Filmotheque all show classic American films and cinema d’auteur, all in English. The programs change almost daily, so check their websites. All have been renovated so the seats are comfortable and there are virtually no lines! What more can you ask for! These movie houses have an almost mythic quality; generations of French teenagers have skipped school to spend hours in front of the big screen.
Another favorite of my good friend Charles-Henri: the Cinema des Cineastes, 7, avenue de Clichy, Paris 17 (Tel: 01 53 42 40 20) www.cinema-des-cineastes.fr. Located just off the Place Clichy (Metro Place Clichy, Lines 2, 13), this is an art movie house, showing films from around the globe, including American, French and European. They organize festivals, meetings with directors, avant-premieres. Check the website to see if there is something of interest. You could combine a seance with a meal at the Cafe Wepler (n°31).
If you happen to find yourself in the 7th arrondissement, step into another world at La Pagode, an art movie house at 57 bis, rue de Babylone (Tel: +33 (0)1 46 34 82 54). (Metro: Saint-Fran^ois Xavier, Line 13) I love the story behind this building! At the end of the 19 th century, Fran^ois-Emile Morin was the director of a large department store. In an out-pouring of love for his wife Amandine, he built a genuine pagoda in the center of Paris and gave it to her for her birthday. The architect took his assignment very seriously, modeling the building after one in Japan. He imported materials and decor from Japan. The building was finished just in time for the birthday celebration and Mme Morin was enchanted, organizing elaborate parties and receptions and dressing up as the Empress of the Land of the Rising Sun. Alas, a few months later, she ran off to America with the son of her husband’s business partner, never to be heard from again. Time passed; the pagoda was sold, and in 1931 it was reopened as a cinema. It has had its ups and downs, however it is now classified as a historical monument. Do not miss the magnificent “Japanese” room Admire the exotic garden with its architectural treasures and why not quench your thirst in the tearoom?
Another favorite venue for films is the open-air cinema in the Parc de la Villette, Metro: Porte de Pantin, (Line 5) (http://www.villette.com/fr/) where films – both French and English-language – are shown every summer. The films are projected at night, and as the summer days in Paris are very long, the showing does not start until sunset, around 10:30pm