By Ed Millar

In the city where cinema was invented, it’s hardly surprising that there is a huge host of independent cinemas in Paris. For a truly unique cinematic experience, here are ÉCU’s top 5 best cinemas in Paris.

If you’re looking for a typically French cinema experience, look no further than the club-ciné at Le Lieu Dit. Situated in one of Paris’ most artistic neighbourhoods, this venue not only offers a first-rate club-ciné, but also regularly holds talks, debates and expositions. It describes itself as mixing cinema, art, music and literature, and even though the films which are being shown are always well chosen and interesting, the real fun is hanging out in the café afterwards and discussing them with the regulars. (6, rue Sorbier 75020. Métro: Ménilmontant)

At the other end of the spectrum, but just as captivating, is the famous La Pagode. One of the city’s hidden gems, rumour has it that it was built in 1895 as an eccentric gift from a businessman to his wife, but it is now a flourishing and very beautiful cinema showing the latest films by directors such as Almodovar and well known for its revivals and thematic festivals. Again, the film is only half the fun, and taking a green tea on the terrace is an intrinsic part of the experience. (57, rue de Babylone Paris, 75007. Métro: Saint-Francois-Xavier)

Continuing this international theme, next on the list is Le Nouveau Latina. This cinema almost exclusively shows films in Spanish, and is one of the liveliest cinemas in town. Upstairs, tango fans take to the floor from Wednesdays to Saturday, and the theatre’s cantina serves a wide range of South American specialities. To really understand the charm of this cinema, movie-meal-dance deals are available on Monday and Wednesday evenings, and will give you a cinema experience unlike anything else. (20 rue du Temple, 75004. Métro: Hôtel de Ville)

For something a little more off the beaten track, the place to head is, La Péniche – a floating cinema which hosts not only screenings but also film-making courses. The venue is a barge moored in the La Villette canal basin, which has become a popular haunt for the directors of tomorrow who come aboard to drink, discuss and debate. An original venue, group of people and selection of films make for a totally unique evening. (Canal de l’Ourcq – Parc de la Villette 75019. Métro : Porte de la Villette)

Finally, for the more fanatic cinéphile, the place to go is Le Champo. Built in 1938, Le Champo is one of the Latin Quarter’s best cinemas and is a staple of the arthouse scene. It has become well known for its seasons devoted to directors such as Tim Burton and Stanley Kubrick, but to truly understand the magic of this cinema, go to one of its midnight screenings, where insomniac fans can enjoy three films back-to-back and breakfast – all for €15. (51 rue des Écoles, 75005. Métro Odéon.)

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