Paris boasts more independent cinemas per capita than any other capital, but there are a few lush theaters that have earned their reputation not only for their beautiful trappings but also for consistently putting the best of the best up on their screens.
Whether you want the thrill of seeing the first-run of an avant-garde indie [independent] flick with unknown budding talent or have the desire to enjoy one of your favorite classics on the silver screen where it belongs, these movie houses are just the ticket. Pick up a copy of the Pariscope movie guide available free at many Paris stores to see what’s showing at the indies this week.
Le Champo (51, rue des Ecoles) in the Latin Quarter has a long history of introducing future filmmakers to the movies that changed their life. Primarily featuring films in Spanish these days, this eclectic theater has become a favorite gathering place for the local Latino community. Visitors from countries such as Brazil and Argentina are delighted to find this cinema showing top-ranked modern films from their homeland as well as European classics in their native tongue. Scheduled to be transformed in 2000 into a bank, the protest that erupted among avid fans led to a change of heart, saving Le Champo for future filmmakers’ inspiration.
La Pagode (57bis, rue Babylone) is hands-down the most romantic theater in Paris, boasting an architectural style that outshines Grauman’s Theater in Los Angeles in both authenticity and glamour. Although La Pagode is off the beaten path, art aficionados have beaten a path to its doors since 1896 when this extraordinary tribute to oriental architecture debuted as a dance hall. Plan to come early to enjoy tea in the garden and stroll through the hall to admire the stained glass windows and fantastic chandeliers. Even though the atmosphere threatens to be more interesting than the movies, La Pagode has earned a reputation as a virtual temple of cutting-edge independent film and has premiered work by directors that have gone on to become barrier breakers.
Le Nouvel Odeon (6, rue de l’Ecole de Médicine) is a Left Bank icon that was recently remodeled by designer Matali Crasset, giving this quaint theater a whole new ambience with crisp colors and cozy numbered seats that make your experience seem more like attending a happening than a mere movie. When they are not running classics such as King Kong and Citizen Kane on their single silver screen, you’ll find some of the most eclectic films around being showcased. The spacious mezzanine features a tasting bar and often hosts get-togethers with the filmmakers after the show. Le Nouvel Odeon even holds special showings for young parents with babies under ten months so they won’t feel left out of the fun!
Studio 28 (10, rue Tholozé) is not as opulent as some of its competitors, but what it lacks in grandiose gestures it makes up with charm. Known as the venue that premiers some of the top surrealist films, Studio 28 has held its ground as a showplace for rare talent since 1928, thus the name. The beer garden out back is open even in the winter for before- or after-cinema libations. This movie house on the hill in Montmartre is where the movie character Amélie admitted her love of watching people watching a movie in the dark. Walking among the framed, signed pictures of movie stars and celebrities in the lobby can give you the feeling they might all be watching you watching them!
About the author: Lela Lake is a life-long lover of Parisian culture and writes for HostelBrokers.com, the budget travel specialists. If you want to visit Paris yourself, check out HostelBrokers.com selection of Cheap Paris Hotels.