Paris is so perfect in so many ways—except when it rains and the city turns gray and moody. That’s when the Louvre and d’Orsay come calling, but once you’ve seen the Mona Lisa and the Impressionists, where do you turn? To the cinema, of course. The French capital boasts more movie theaters per capita than any city on the planet, from funky independent theaters to multi-screen cineplexes. To find out what’s on, pick up a copy €.40 of Pariscope at one of the hundreds of La Presse kiosks around the city, but be forewarned: the choices are copious and dizzying, and that’s not taking into consideration the popcorn. Do you like yours sweet (sucrée) or salty (salée)? Can’t decide? Settle in for a double matinée and try them both.
Cinéma de Cinéastes at the top of the hill in the 17e, not far from Sacre Coeur on one side and the beautiful Parc Monceau on the other, Cinema de Cineastes offers filmgoers a delicious experience: independent films in the downstairs screening room, and authentic bistro dining and full bar on the second floor. Watch a Wim Wenders film in 3-D, then mosey up for a flute of champagne and a plate of smoked salmon.
The Cinématheque Française housed in an über-modern Frank Gehry-designed building in the equally modern Bercy district in southeast Paris, the Cinématheque is a movie fanatic’s paradise. People don’t just queue up for the films (a Stanley Kubrick retrospective and satirical Hungarian comedies series were recent offerings), but for lectures by renowned directors, and for the temporary and permanent exhibits at its cinema museum.
Cinéma en Plein Air in the north of Paris, at that big expanse of green called the Parc de Villette, summer means one thing in particular to cinephiles: Cinéma en Plein Air. Six days a week from mid-July to the end of August, the park hosts free movie nights (renting a chaise will set you back €7) with movies that run the gamut from animation (“The Triplet’s of Belleville”) to vintage action (“Bonnie and Clyde”). Bring a picnic and a thermos full of coffee; screenings start at nightfall and can end past midnight.