France and Paris in particular has a long love affair with the cinema, a Parisian cinema is much more than a place to watch a movie. The greatest cinemas in the world are also some of the very best theatres, they heighten the filmgoer’s anticipation before the film has even started.
In this blog we will take a cinematic journey across Paris to see some of the most magical places to watch movies. Auditoriums and special spaces that offer a complete experience, somewhere that you can enjoy hanging out and take in a great movie.
Le Peniche Cinema
If you head down to Boulevard Macdonald in the French Capital right down to the great River Seine you will come across one of the most romantic places in the world to watch a movie. Why stay on dry land when you can enjoy the river?
Le Peniche Cinema offers truly a memorable experience for any cinema goer. The cinema is actually a barge that is moored by the quayside in the 19th Arrondissment. The cinema favors showing French art films, and in fact during the day the boat holds filmmaking workshops. Occasionally Le Peniche hosts DJ nights, cocktail events, and exhibitions of local artists. It is more of a cultural hub than a plain cinema house.
The Gaumont Alesia is a fairly new addition to the Parisian cinema scene, it was not built until 2016 and provides people who like contemporary French films and the best of Hollywood a place to go. The cinema is huge and offers over three and a half thousand square meters of entertainment.
The Gaumont’s policy of showing the best recent films makes it a refreshing change from the more art orientated cinemas that are not interested in screening the latest Brad Pitt or Nicole Kidman movie that is coming out of America.
Le Balsac is not just famous in Paris, it is a French institution. It first opened its doors in 1935, and entering its grand Art Deco auditorium brings a sense of opulence and of things to come. When it first started screening movies it chose to present Hollywood blockbuster movies of the day, in fact the very first feature screened at Le Balsac was The Wedding Night by King Vidor.
After the Second World War things changed in Paris, and many Parisians displayed fervent nationalistic traits. Le Balsac led the way and celebrated all that was good about French cinema, past and present.
The cinema has been responsible for nurturing local film talent, and people such as Jacques Tati and Rene Clement would never had the success they have had without the help of Le Balsac. For a simple place to have so much profound effect on a whole artistic genre is quite incredible.
La Balsac has been compared to a literary salon, where people can meet and enter into conversation about both film and many other artistic topics of the day. In part two of our journey around Paris to find the most outstanding movie related locales, we unearth even more establishments that have made their mark on French cinema.