Romance in Parisian cinema is not only on screen, it’s in the theater itself. Here are three destinations for the aspiring cinéphile in the city of lights (and sure to impress any date).
Once upon a time, François-Emile Morin married a beautiful Japanese woman who suffered from terrible homesickness. He decided to build her a life-size pagoda. The year was 1896, and we should mention that Morin owned Le Bon Marché, the world’s first fashion department store, and was a popular jet-setter of his era.
Quickly dumped by his wife (she left him for one of his colleagues) Morin started throwing over-the-top parties in this unique house — parties that became a source of inspiration for many bohemian artists and renowned writers, including Emile Zola. La Pagode is Morin’s legacy in the 7th arrondissement, and became one of several public movie theaters in Paris with two screens in the 1950s. In the 60s, la Pagode was a landmark for Nouvelle Vague directors, from François Truffaut to Eric Rohmer, and was enlisted by the UNESCO as a world heritage site. It now screens independent movies and offers great premiers in the run-up to the Festival de Cannes in the springtime.
Le Mac Mahon
It was a bad opening year: the Mac Mahon movie theater launched in 1938, right by the Champs Elysees, only a year before World War II. When the war was over, the owner decided to screen every single American movie that was censored during the Occupation, and a star was born.
The Mac Mahon became a rendez-vous for Nouvelle Vague intellectuals, from famous TV journalist Philippe Bouvard to writer Jacques Serguine. Jean-Luc Godard shot some of his legendary movie Breathless here, making it a must-see tourist attraction for any Jean Seberg fan. The Mac Mahon is now famous among movie theaters in Paris for screening only one movie a week, usually a ‘Classic Hollywood film,’ such as An American in Paris, or Ben-Hur, to honor the American movie industry — a tribute to its early success. It’s legendary place that you must visit if you stroll by the Champs Elysees (you can also rent the whole place to throw a legendary party).
Any Sorbonne student will tell you : Le Champo embodies at its fullest the Saint-Germain-des-Pres spirit. This arthouse cinema is located right outside the University, organizing passionate debates about movie classics, like Fantomas or l’Avventura but also screening oldies that are otherwise only available on VHS.
Like the Pagode and the Mac Mahon, this movie theater was a popular place for Nouvelle Vague celebrities such as Claude Chabrol and François Truffaut. Added bonus: it is one of the cheapest movie theaters in Paris as the entrance will only cost you five euros.