There are more things to do in Paris for film lovers than I would have ever thought imaginable. When I started this little selection of posts about Paris, I knew there would be tonnes of ground to cover but not quite this much.
Film locations, festivals, tours, cinemas… oh boy. A film fan is spoiled for choice in such an important cinematic city. So here is a film lover’s guide to everything you could possibly want to do and see on a trip to Paris.
Paris for Film Lovers
1. Check out the top film locations
Visiting your favourite film locations is one of the best things to do in Paris for film lovers. I’ve always found it exciting to visit somewhere in person that has been immortalised on screen.
I have written extensive guides on this blog already and covered several films set in Paris. Films like Amélie (2001), The Da Vinci Code (2006) and Midnight in Paris (2011). And they are all summarised in my Ultimate Guide to Paris Filming Locations blog post.
2. Hit up a movie (or two) at an independent cinema
This might be weird to some, but I LOVE watching films when I’m abroad. Some people might scoff and say, ‘what’s the point? There are cinemas at home, so what’s the difference?’ but I completely disagree. Foodies can’t wait to try the local cuisine, style-conscious folk want to hit the shops and cinephiles want to sample the local cinemas.
Luckily, Paris has approximately one trillion arthouse and independent cinemas. I wrote this blog post detailing roughly 18 of the best in the city and what makes them stand out.
3. Discover new films at one of the film festivals in Paris
While France’s most prestigious film festival is Cannes film festival, Paris has a couple of annual film events that may interest you.
The first is Paris Independent Film Festival which is perhaps the biggest in the city. It takes place every November and champions low budget (and no budget) films.
The Paris International Fantastic Film Festival is only seven years old and takes place every December at the Max Linder cinema. As you can probably tell from the title, it concentrates on horror and fantasy films.
And finally, every year in July and August, Parisians flock to the open-air cinema at La Villette. There are a few other open-air cinema experiences in the city every summer but this is one of the most popular and longest running.
4. Pay your respects at the grave of Georges Méliès
One of the pioneers of narrative cinema is buried at the famous Père Lachaise Cemetery.
If you enter the Cemetary via the entrance nearest the Metro station, head to the left up Avenue de l’quest and then Avenue Circulaire. It’s not really that far away from the entrance. The grave is in a little group by itself, just off to the left of Avenue Circulaire down some steps. It’s not noted as an actual road in the cemetery. Use this map to help you find it.
Luckily, the grave isn’t too difficult to spot because, like the Statue of Liberty, the bust was made of copper and has turned turquoise over the years.
5. Delve into film history at the Cinémathèque Française Film Museum
I mentioned this film museum when I wrote my blog post on the best independent cinemas in Paris. The Cinémathèque Française is a huge complex with cinema screens and a library as well as a film museum.
The film museum has a wonderful collection of magic lanterns from the 18th century as well as projectors, models, automatons and much more.
6. Visit 7 Rue de Messine, the birthplace of the French New Wave
Just an unassuming street in the centre of Paris, 7 Rue de Messine actually holds a wonderful secret inside. It is the former home of a cinema club that met from 1936-1955. Cinema clubs were very popular after the Second World War as a new agreement between the US and French Governments meant that all French cinemas had to screen a certain percentage of US films.
French film fans, understandably, wanted to expand their horizons beyond watching old American films that couldn’t be screened during the war, so started running film clubs. Famous French filmmakers François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard met at the Cinematique, an 80 seat film club held at 7 Rue de Messine. Thus, history was made!
8. Let a Film Location Walking Tour Guide do the hard work for you!
Why bother researching all of these famous sites if you can just pay a guide to do it for you?! Set In Paris is a tour operator that offers a few different Paris film location walking tours. They offer a more general film location tour as well as a Sex and the City walking tour and an Amélie tour around Montmartre.
I’ve yet to try a tour myself, but they seem to offer the most choice of tours which I really like.
And that’s the best of Paris for film lovers! Would you add anything to the list? Let me know in the comments below!