Saturday, July 2, 2011

au cinema . . . a Paris . . .

While I'm collecting my thoughts, and photographs, of the wedding, let's go back to Paris for a while, shall we? Pater and I did, the evening after the nuptials, via Midnight in Paris, showing at our favourite Vancouver theatre, the Fifth Avenue cinema.  Parisophiles and/or Woody Allen fans will surely find something to love in this film, as should the rest of you. The opening montage of iconic Paris scenes accompanied by nostalgic jazz music is wonderfully familiar, although Allen keeps the icons from appearing too hackneyed by clever lenswork. But as apropos as may have been his shot of the Odéon on St. Germain--where we saw several films this last visit--he might instead have included a glimpse of the wonderful cinema, La Pagode.

Certainly, hanging out as he does in St Germain where we passed him one afternoon,

 he must know La Pagode, despite its being tucked away rather discreetly.

There, behind that affiche-covered wall, you can glimpse the Oriental roof, just behind that not-yet-leafed-out tree.

Once inside the walls, not only can patrons watch films in intimate theatres, sinking into plush red seats, surrounded by reverential cinophiles who do not chat or cough or crinkle candy papers, but they can also sit in this charming Asian garden with drinks.

It was raining on our first visit (to see Catherine Deneuve in Les Yeux de Sa Mère), but that didn't hamper our enjoyment of the gardens, nor did it stop us from imagining how well this architectural novelty distracted Mme. Morin, for whom her husband, director of the Bon Marché department store had it built in 1896. Apparently, she was wearying of him and developing an interest in his associate. At first, she was thrilled with her gift, hosting many elegant parties here, but eventually even her personal pagoda wasn't enough to hold her in the marriage. Sounds like a potential Woody Allen plot, no?

And the setting . . .

made for romance . . .
and intrigue.  . . .

La Pagode is at 57 Rue Babylone, near the Saint-François-Xavier Metro station and just around the corner from the Musée Rodin -- the same Musée whose beautiful grounds feature in Midnight in Paris, with France's First Lady Carla Bruni acting as a tour guide.


  1. We saw the movie a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it. The theater is an historic local icon in Houston, of which we have very few remaining. Architectural preservation is a struggle here, as construction tends to run in the build it, tear it down 20 years later and put up something "more attractive". Nevertheless, it was a pleasure to see a movie so well done. Thank you, Woody.

  2. La Pagode looks amazing - thank you, I've never even heard of it but will check it out next time I'm in Paris. I went to the lovely lingerie shop you recommended and bought some undies, so thanks again. Though I have to say that I'm feeling slightly guilty now that my credit card bill has arrived! The Madame Gres exhibition was excellent, loved it. Need to plan another trip.

  3. Once again, you have taught me something wonderful....I was not aware of La Pagode!!! LOVED everything about
    Midnight in Paris ..from the glorious shots of Paris to the literary and art references to the notion that another place in time is preferable to the present to Owen WIlson as the perfect
    Woody persona.!!!!! I want to see it again....and again...
    and again....and visit Paris tout suite!!!!

  4. Oh, La Pagode sounds like such a delightful place. I really want to see Midnight in Paris, and plan on going this coming week.

  5. Marguerite: Those old theatres are very special -- I hope yours manages to keep going. And I'm glad you liked the movie as much as I did.
    TNMA: I'm so envious of your proximity to Paris (never mind that you've got London at your feet!) -- as for the lingerie guilt, the new undies will be making you smile long after the guilt's gone, right? I know that's always the case with me. . .
    Pavlova: Your mini-review is spot on! Owen Wilson absolutely nailed that Woody Allen persona, despite his much better looks. He even managed to get some of the physicality, a certain almost-slouch. We really enjoyed the film.
    Mardel: I'll be keen to see what you think of the movie -- it's slight enough, but still very pleasurable, and seeing Bruni especially is fun.

  6. I love La Pagode, and once received a proposal there. (Declined.)

  7. Duchesse: You are so urbane, so sophisticated, that I'm not as surprised as I should be at your comment. I don't suppose you'd care to tell us that story . . .

  8. Oh, I do hope Duchesse will tell us the story about the proposal. I've never heard of La Pagode but we'll make a point of visiting it the next time we're there.

    As for Midnight in Paris, we tried to go yesterday, but the theater was almost completely full, and sadly, our local movie goers aren't as well behaved as Parisian cinophiles, so we came back home and watched the Coen brothers film True Grit in peace and quiet.

  9. Susan, I know you'd love La Pagode, even if you don't see a film there but just wander the courtyard. And yes, I'd love to hear Duchesse's story but since she's now long married to someone else, perhaps discretion is in order . . . too bad.

  10. Wow, what a gorgeous space. I'll confess I'm a pushover for Asian art, architecture and gardens.


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