Friday, April 03, 2009
Both my parents, in their different ways, enjoyed leaving home for other places. Through them, my siblings and I had a chance, as children, to begin our travels.
In the early 1970s, for example, we accompanied our father on university sabbatical to Copenhagen. We were there during the winter months, and Denmark in the winter is dark and dreary. To relieve the blues one afternoon, my sister and I went to see a rerun of the 1965 Beatles' movie Help!
In Denmark, as in France, the price of a movie ticket depends on where you sit in the theater. Because our purse was light, we bought the cheapest tickets, which were in the very front row. My sister and I both prefer to sit toward the back of a movie theater. Yet even with our noses to the screen, we loved every minute of the movie.
Ever since, I've included movies on my list of things to do while in a foreign city. It's a great way to see the town and be with the locals, and in some cases, to see a film before it's released stateside.
Below are suggestions for three movie houses to visit in Paris.
AT THE MOVIES IN PARIS
Parisians are cinephiles, with a long tradition of making, talking about, and loving movies. Remember France's Lumiere brothers? These days, you can watch footage of their earliest movies, which date to the1890s, on YouTube. Amazing.
Paris in the twenty-first century offers a wide array of movie theaters all over town, and I suggest starting with one that's close to wherever you're staying or wherever your day's itinerary is taking you anyway.
Le Reflet Medicis
On a family trip to Paris in the mid-1970s, my sister and I went by ourselves to see Woody Allen's Sleeper at Le Reflet Medicis, a Latin Quarter favorite not too far from our hotel on rue Monsieur le Prince. The hotel is no longer there, but the movie house is. It's still known for showing English-language films, along with film noir revivals and independent films from all over the world.
Centre Pompidou Cinema
If you're already visiting the Centre Pompidou in the 4th arrondissement for an art exhibit, check to see what's playing at their cinema. They're known for programming retrospectives of film directors, and the museum website will tell you what's playing when. (Note that, for whatever reason, the French-language version of the site has more information about the movie offerings than does the English-language version.)
A Paris movie house that's on my list is La Pagode. Built in the 1890s close to what is now the chic Bon Marche department store in the 7th arrondissement, La Pagode is a Japanese-style pagoda. A revival house of sorts, La Pagode also shows English-language films, both current and classic.
To practice your French and learn a little about the history of La Pagode at the same time, you can watch a short French-language spot from Cap 24, a French television station, complete with shots of the theater itself, on YouTube. Amusez-vous bien!
Be sure to check in next Friday for Experiential Paris's recommendations for movies to get you in the mood for Paris!