France is famous for its cinema, and Paris is overflowing with local picture houses just waiting to be explored. Historic Montmartre is host to some of the city’s oldest and most unique movie theatres. Here’s our guide to the 5 best cinemas in Montmartre.
Montmartre’s most beloved picture house, the charming one screen cinema is nestled in the heart of picturesque neighbourhood. Inaugurated in 1928, Studio 28 was France’s first avant-garde movie theatre and a hub for local poets, painters and filmmakers. Enshrined in folklore after its appearance in the iconic film Amelie, the chandelier adorned Studio 28’s splendour is one of Montmartre’s least overcrowded highlights. An ode to the seventh art it’s arguably Paris’ most alluring cinema experience. A trip to Studio 28 is a must for any visiting cinephile.
Nestling right on the edge of Montmartre, the recently reopened Luxour is one of Paris’ most unique cinematic experiences. Opening in 1921, its Egyptian decor, influenced by the film Cleopatra, instantly set its screen apart from the city’s other theatres. Later shifting into foreign language cinema, screening mostly foreign language films for the local immigrant audience during the 1970s, Le Luxour was then sold to Tati in the 1980s. Reborn as a nightclub for Caribbean locals it later became Paris’ premiere gay club before closing its doors in 1990. Le Luxour remained in disrepair until a local activist group initiated its revival some 20 years later. Now once again boasting its Egyptian stylings, Le Luxour is one of the most thriving and striking cinemas in Montmartre boasting both French and original version films and bar with a great view of the Sacre Coeur.
The Cinema des Cineastes originated as 19th century cabaret, playing host to some of the greatest voices of the period. Singers such as Maurice Chevalier and Lucienne Boyer made the cabaret one of Montmartre’s most thriving destinations. Assuming its new role as a cinema in the 1930s, first as Eden and later Mirages, it quickly became one of Paris’ most popular live experiences. After being abandoned following the Second World War, the cinema would remain in ruin until being purchased by Pathé in 1973. Renamed Pathé Clichy and fitted with three screens, it later took its current name from its then owner Fanny Ardant. Today the Cinema des Cineastes plays host to a great selection of foreign films, premiers and festivals alike. It also hosts a little known, but popular bistro above its famed metal structure.
Offering screenings in French and English, the 14 screen Pathé Wepler boasts more screens than all other Montmartre cinemas together. The most popular cinema in the arrondissement, owing to its selection of recently released titles, the Wepler was originally a one screen affair. Inaugurated in 1956, the cinema’s 1600 spectator room was divided into two in the 1960s before being reborn as a multiplex in the 90s. Under the stewardship of Pathé, the Wepler is the most visited of all Montmartre cinemas – but effortlessly its least endearing.
Opening its doors in the late 1960s Cinema Atlas became an adult cinema following pornography law changes in the mid 1970s. Paris’ last remaining X cinema, the Atlas still attracts an uninhibited audience. A throwback to a bygone era, its two screens host nightly film and frolic. Upcoming showings include; Free Willy, Winter’s Bone and Shaft in Africa.