Today we wanted to share our top picks of independent and old cinemas worth seeing in Paris specifically on the Left bank in the Jardin Luxembourg and Saint German-des-Pres areas.
The iconic Pagode cinema in Paris’ 7th arrondissement, housed inside a bright red pagoda, had been on my to-do list for over a year and the news that it was closing down this November forced me to finally pay a visit.
The theatre has the most sumptuous Japanese-inspired interiors with lighting you won’t find in any other cinema in the world and it was bittersweet to leave it behind, knowing that the screen was going dark for good. After the movie, I lingered in the gorgeous tea garden, looking up at the pagoda through the trees and thinking of all the luminaries that must have sat at those little tables, discussing cinema over a bottle of wine.
But the good news is that it’s not all bad for independent cinema in Paris. The end of the Pagode theatre coincides with the opening of Gaumont-Pathé’s Les Fauvettes movie theatre in the 13th arrondissement with its five screens dedicated to showing restored films from the past. And this is just the tip of the iceberg in a city dotted with a vast number of independent theaters catering to almost every taste.
So if you’re looking to go beyond the popular MK2/UGC multiplex circuit, here are five independent cinemas to check out on the Left Bank:
With one of the most instagrammable signs in the city, the Cinema du Panthéon is a great spot for an evening out with its gorgeous salon, designed by Catherine Deneuve, and its screenings of award-winning movies from different eras. A bonus for real cinephiles: the bookstore next door is dedicated to all-thing cinema.
- Cinema du Pantheon
- Address: 13, rue Victor Cousin, 75005
- Metro: Cluny La Sorbonne
- RER: Luxembourg
In between Montparnasse and the Jardin du Luxembourg lies this mecca for movie-goers, founded in 1968. The space also regularly features plays and exhibitions and its bar is a great place to have an intellectual debate about the film you just saw.
- Address: 53, rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs, 75006
- Metro: Notre-Dame-des-Champs/Vavin/Edgar Quinet
The Etoile group runs several independent theatres in Paris but its Saint-Germain outpost, to the right of the oldest church in Paris, is one of the prettiest, with a star-spangled stairwell leading down into a sizable space that shows critically-acclaimed hits as well as indie favourites.
- Etoile Saint Germain
- Address: 22, rue Guillaume Apollinaire, 75006
- Metro: Saint-Germain-des-Pres/Mabillon
While the 5th and the 6th arrondissements often get all the attention when it comes to cinema, the 13th has its fair share of great spots. L’Escurial is one of the oldest in the neighbourhood (founded in 1911) and is dedicated to showing offbeat films that you definitely wouldn’t find in a multiplex.
- Address: 11 Boulevard de Port Royal, 75013
- Metro: Les Gobelins
Tucked away on a quiet street in the 5th, the Studio des Ursulines was founded in 1925 to bring avant-garde cinema to the public, quickly becoming one of the most important institutions in the city’s cinema scene. Today, it’s taken on the role of introducing kids to cinema, screening different kinds of films and organizing frequent interactions to encourage young viewers to discover all that the world of cinema has to offer.
- Studio des Ursulines
- Address: 10 Rue des Ursulines, 75005
- Metro: RER : Luxembourg