By Jen Wallace
With the days of Blockbuster well and truly over, Netflix unavailable in France and the epidemic of dodgy pirated downloading online, ÉCU has researched alternative and 100% legal ways of watching your favourite movies in Paris. With an emphasis on French classics, rarities and independent cinema, here are 5 ways to watch movies around the city. (Note: Always carry ID and proof of address with you, as most libraries will ask to you to prove you are a Parisian citizen.)
1) The Bilbiothèque François Truffaut– Located in the Halles at Chatelet, and next to the Forum Des Images (A great place for screenings, exhibitions and public debates) you can watch a wonderful selection of films for free in their library. Even if you are only in Paris for a week you can gain access to their archives. Our favourite way to watch independent French cinema!
2) Any public library – The best way to watch movies at home! Here’s how it works – you pay a one off fee of €60 a year and you can rent ANY film from ANY public library in Paris (including the Bibliothèque François Truffaut above). The choice is endless.
3) The Cinemathèque Française– Similar to the Truffaut library, as well as holding fantastic exhibitions, screening rare classics and having a great bookstore, the Cinemathèque also has a great library where you can watch films for €3.5 for a day’s access. However, if you are a student under 26 you can pay €9 for a trimestrial subscription and unlimited access.
4) The Bilbiothèque Nationale Française– Although a bit more complicated than the other two libraries, and with bizarre openings hours for Paris’ biggest library, the BNF also has a huge selection of films to watch. You have to register and get membership (which perhaps you have already if you are a student) and then pay €8.5 for a three day pass. The final stage is asking specific permission to consult the film archives! But if you are working on a project for school or university, it seems like a worthwhile investment. And why not browse their entire collection of Cahiers de Cinéma magazine whilst you are there?
5) Online rental: dvdfly.fr – Similar to Lovefilm and Netflix, this website delivers DVDs to your door or lets you stream them online. They have a free trial period so you can test it out and prices start at €5.95 a month for 2 dvds and up to €300 a year for unlimited rentals.