Dec 6th, 2018, 10:00 AM

Irresistible Movie Theaters of Paris

By Shadi Ayoubi
L'Idéal Cinéma-Jacques Tati. Image Credit: Flickr/Serge Ottaviani
Historic French theaters projecting modern movies.

Some French cinemas have been around for over a hundred years. The art of film took a leap when the Lumière brothers created a patent on the Cinematograph in 1985, which was invented by Léon Bouly in 1892. Some films were shot before the patent was created and were displayed at private projections. Many of these old-fashioned cinemas are still open today and show numerous different old movies.

A micro-cinematograph. Image credit: Wikimedia/Egelberg

One of the oldest theaters that is still in use is the Eden Théâtre, which first opened its doors as a music hall in 1889. The theater, located in La Ciotat, near Marseille, was renovated in 2013 for £5.5 million. Yet the oldest cinema still in use in Paris is l'Idéal Cinéma-Jacques Tati. It showed its first movie screening in 1905.

Eden Theatre in La Ciotat. Image credit: Flickr/Patrick Gaudin

A theater that can soon have its 100-year anniversary is Le Louxor, situated at 170 boulevard Magenta, Paris. Inspired by old peplums, the “Cinema Palace” has a unique neo-Egyptian architecture. The monumental columns and golden arabesques break the monotonicity of classic Haussmann-style buildings around it. The cinema was transformed into a nightclub in 1983, which lasted for five years, after which the building was abandoned. By April 2013, Le Louzor re-opened as a cinema that consists of three screening rooms and a bar.

Le Louxor, Paris. Image credit: Flickr/Jean-Pierre Dalbéra

Le Champo was founded in 1938. The cinema was opened in a former library, located on 51 rue des Écoles, in the 5th arrondissement of Paris. This theater displays daring and interesting movies and became regularly frequented by Parisian students studying film, notably from the FEMIS, one of the most prominent film schools of Paris. With its emblematic neon sign, France listed it as a historical monument. This particular cinema projects old and new movies in its theaters.

Le Champo's neon sign. Image credit: Flickr/Martin Leveneur

Another famous cinema is Cinéma du Panthéon, which was a gym prior to 1907. This one is particularly seen as the most "avant-garde" of them all. For its 100th birthday, Catherine Deneuve hired Christian Sapet to refurbish the whole place. They set up a retro-looking bar and restaurant on the 150m² floor above the cinema with Chesterfield, as well as velvet sofas.

Cinéma du Pantheon in Paris. Image credit: Flickr/John Weiss

If you have a soft spot for luxury cinemas, Studio 28 is avant-garde cinema at its peak. As it implies in the name, it was established in 1928, decorated with elegant chandeliers and an old piano with players serenading the viewers. It is the first cinema that created a membership card, and the first to have gotten a 4k screen in 2011.

Studio 28 in Paris. Image credit: Flickr/Son of Groucho