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Seeking Cinema in Paris: The City's Top Movie Theaters

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With over 100 movie theaters and roughly 300 films running in any given week throughout the city, from blockbusters to arty revivals, Paris is definitely the world's best place for cinephiles.

Before you sink back into your seat, take note: in Paris, popcorn and other crunchy snacks are often considered a noisy annoyance, interfering with the movie experience. Consider choosing quieter snacks and you'll be set!

1. La Cinémathèque Française

© 2006 Ashley Byock.

 

Description:

The Cinémathèque Francaise is a high institution in the Paris film world. The 70-year-old film center recently moved out of cramped quarters in Northeastern Paris and into a magnificent left-bank building designed by American architect Frank Gehry. La Cinémathèque has shown over 40,000 films in the course of its history.

 

Best Known For:

Programming packed with revivals, thematic festivals, and directorial tributes. The center also features a large cinema history museum worth seeing.

2. Le Champo

©2006 Courtney Traub.

 

Description:

Built in 1938, Le Champo is one of the Latin Quarter's most stardusted spots. The cinema, a favorite among students at the Sorbonne just a block away, has hosted premieres for French directors like Marcel Carné and Jacques Tati.

 

Best Known For:

The Champo is well-known for its memorable retrospectives. It has programmed hommages to Woody Allen, Nouvelle Vague cinema of the 60's, Tim Burton, Claude Chabrol, and Stanley Kubrick.

 

Location:

51 Rue des Ecoles
Metro Saint-Michel, Odéon, or Cluny La Sorbonne

3. Le Reflet Medicis

© 2006 Courtney Traub.

 

Description:

Right next door to the Champo on the famed Rue Champollion is another Latin Quarter favorite: Le Reflet Medicis. The venue is broken into three distinct theaters with separate programming.

Best Known For:

Le Reflet draws crowds for its film noir revivals and its focus on some of the best independant cinema from around the world today. Original-version films in English are shown frequently here.

 

You can enjoy a drink and ponderous conversation at the dimly-lit bar across the street, also called Le Reflet.

4. La Pagode

 

Description:

La Pagode is one of the city's most sumptuously designed theaters. Located in the heart of the chic 7th arrondissement, close to the Bon Marché department store, La Pagode is housed in a 19th-century building whose style mimics a Chinese pagoda.

Inside, a cool green terrace for tea and a black cat named Licorice sprawled over the programs adds to the charm.

 

Best Known For:

Revivals and thematic festivals. English-language contemporary and historic films in Original Version are also frequent here.

5. Mk2 Quai de Seine and Mk2 Quai de Loire

 

Description:

Mk2 Quai de Seine and Mk2 Quai de Loire are recent sister cinemas that face each other across a canal known as the Bassin de la Villette in Northeastern Paris.

The theaters have been credited to a cultural revival in the formerly seedy 19th arrondissement.

 

Best Known for:

Village-like ambience meets multiplex comfort. With your movie ticket, you can be shuttled in a tiny white boat across the canal. Plenty of English-language films are shown here. Cafés, restaurants, and multimedia shopping await you, too.

 

Location:

7 Quai de Loire and 14 Quai de Seine
Metro: Jaures

6. Centre Georges Pompidou Cinemas

Tucked in a corner of the massive Centre Georges Pompidou in central Paris is a cinema well-known for its tributes to great directors and thematic festivals. Recent retrospectives have included homages to Martin Scorsese and Jean-Luc Godard, as well as a look at films produced by students at the Cal Arts film school.

Come see a movie here before or after visiting the stunning permanent collection at the National Museum of Modern Art.

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