Most of the non-French films shown in the list below will be shown in VO (version originale), so that’s French subtitles and no awful dubbing. Find out which films are on in Paris by visiting Allocine where you can search by cinema or film. Here’s QT’s selection of Paris arthouse cinemas:
Built by the owner of Bon Marché in 1896 for his wife (divorced not long after), this beautiful Japanese temple styled building started life as a ballroom. It was converted to a cinema in 1930. It’s had its ups and downs over the years and has been closed at times, but it’s now part of a small arthouse cinema chain, L’Etoile cinemas. Paintings, tapestries and stained glass windows are all part of the marvellous interior and there’s a beautiful terrace in which to take your tea.
57 Rue de Babylone, 7th Arrondissement
One of three cinemas on the famous cinema street, Rue Champollion, in the Latin Quarter. This one has an eclectic programme of films, contemporary and classic French films, auteur retrospectives, lots of American new wave. Each of the auditoriums are named after American actresses Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn.
9 Rue Champollion, 5th Arrondissement
On the corner of Rue Champollion, what’s shown in this cinema ranges from classic 30’s British cinema to all-nighters consisting of three films plus breakfast for 15 euros. It’s favourite with Sorbonne students and has hosted premiers for the likes of Marcel Carné and Jacques Tati since it opened in 1938.
#51 Rue des Ecoles, 5th Arrondissement
Metro Saint-Michel, Odéon, or Cluny La Sorbonne
MK2 Quai de Seine and MK2 Quai de Loire
Opposite each other on either side of the Bassin de la Villette in North East Paris, these cinemas, although looking suspiciously very like modern multiplexes, offer a good range of films, including English language and those from other parts of the world. There’s also a very good multimedia shop with DVDs split by auteur and cafes on site.
7 Quai de Loire and 14 Quai de Seine, 19th Arrondissement
This is a charming and very historic little place in Montmartre. It dates from 1928 (hence the name, I presume) and was the first independent cinema in France. It was the first to bring the loyalty card to France in the 1950s as well. Beware it’s on a steep hill, though! Its programme, as in a lot of French cinemas, ends on a Tuesday, so if you’re visiting Paris on Friday, say, you’ll only be able to check what you’re going to see from the Wednesday before you leave.
10, rue Tholozé, Paris, 18th arrondissement
Metro : Blanche, Abbesses
Forum des Images
The Forum has a dual personality. It preserves and makes accessible film of Paris dating back from as early as 1895, and it shows French and foreign films from lots of different eras. It’s situated in the hell hole that is the Forum des Halles and is the one jewel in a bag of muck, to be honest, but well worth the visit. It’s modern and comfortable and there’s a lovely cafe to relax in before or after your film-viewing.
1 Grande Galerie 1er Porte St-Eustache, Forum des Halles, 1st Arrondissement
Metro Châtelet–Les Halles
In its own purpose-built modernist temple to cinema, the Cinémathèque houses one of the largest archives of films, documents and objects related to cinema, as well as showing films from all over the world. You can see their permanent collection of cinematic artefacts, such as very early cameras and a copy of Maria the robot from Metropolis. It’s also host to cinema-related exhibitions, like the Tim Burton show transferred from MOMA, New York. There are also some very nice nearby gardens to wander round and have a picnic in if you fancy making a day of it.
77, rue de Bercy (Hôtel All Seasons) ou 8, boulevard de Bercy, 12th Arrondissement
Le Nouveau Latina
Formerly known as the Latina, this Marais cinema covers, well, “latin” films from Spain, Portugal, Latin America etc. There’s also a very pleasant cafe, Le Cafe Rouge, as well as a small shop.
20 Rue du Temple, 4th Arrondissement
Metro Hôtel de Ville
Le Grand Rex
This beautiful art deco cinema is independent but tends to show more mainstream films than the rest of this list. For a view of the plush interior and a bit of its glamorous history have a look at The legendary Le Grand Rex Cinema, Paris And read about Quirky Travel’s slightly embarrassing backstage tour of Le Grand Rex
78 rue de la Verrerie, Marais, 2e
Metro Bonne Nouvelle or Grands Boulevards