This film-loving city in the land where cinema was invented is home to a handful of state-subsidized cultural institutions dedicated to preserving the history of French film and document the city’s past and present. Open to the public, these collections offer an inexpensive, entertaining way to revisit classic films and get some perspective on Paris from filmmakers around the world.
Founded in 1901 and relocated in recent years to a building in the 12th arrondissement by Frank Gehry that was once an American center in Paris, the legendary Cinémathèque Française Film Center and Museum is a national monument dedicated to preserving, restoring and promoting cinema. The Cinémathèque offers a permanent film history exhibit, temporary film-related exhibitions and film screenings, and also has a film library open to scholars and students.
A ticket that allows you to see the museum, temporary exhibitions and a film is only €7. A free mini history of cinema audio guide is available to download in English here.
Forum des Images
Founded in 1988, the Forum des Images is a self-described audiovisual memory bank of Paris. Housing a library of more than 8,000 feature films, documentaries, animated films, television series, short films, advertising films and more, this temple of cinema also offers some 2,000 screenings every year on its five screens. Tickets are a bargain at €3.50 to €5, and the Forum also offers an ongoing series of master classes with noted filmmakers, conferences, film festivals and more.
A €5 ticket will also buy you two hours in the comfortable collection room where you can watch just about any piece of video ever made about Paris. An all-day pass offering free access to any movie showing that day plus two hours in the collection room and a complimentary coffee in the bar is a wallet-friendly way to while away a rainy afternoon at €9.
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Not just an art museum, the Centre Pompidou is a popular French cultural institution that also houses two movie screens that show an eclectic selection of art, experimental and documentary films throughout the year. Full price tickets are €6. Closed Tuesdays.