La Cinematheque Francaise Cinema in Paris
The Cinematheque Francaise is located by the River Seine bordering the Parc de Bercy and is a modern building that is home to the museum of cinema, a library and resource centre of archives for the history of cinema plus screening rooms for old films along with lectures and tours that are conducted.
About Cinematheque Francaise Cinema Centre in Paris
The Cinematheque Francaise was originally founded back in 1936 by Henri Langlois who was passionate about cinema and was housed within the Palais de Chaillot, which is located by the Trocadero Gardens offering fabulous views to the Eiffel Tower, yet it moved to its current location in 2005 by the Parc de Bercy.
It is now located within the former American Centre that was designed by one of the most daring contemporary architects who has also designed many other famous buildings such as the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, Spain and the Walt Disney concert hall in Los Angeles, USA.
Being very modern and bright, asymmetric and unstructured, la Cinematheque Francaise is a contemporary building that actually fits in well with the Parc de Bercy contemporary park in Paris and other buildings in the area such as the Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy stadium and restaurants like the Chai 33.
Plus the interior with its many different areas was also redesigned by the architect Dominique Brard and there are actually three main areas being the Musee de la Cinematheque museum, the projections and conferences area, the library, reading room and resource centre along with actual cinema rooms.
What to Discover at the Cinematheque Francaise in Paris
There are numerous different events and areas to discover, from the architecture through to the many films screened each year along with how cinema even evolved, and with its vast resource centre with the archives, La Cinematheque Francaise has become the world renowned centre dedicated to cinema.
Films and Tributes
The Cinematheque Francaise benefits from its own rare collections of films and archives that it has accumulated over the years, but it also has privileged access to archives from throughout the world that pay homage to great film makers and major contributors of the artistry.
So, within three comfortable rooms that each benefit from modern projection equipment, there are over 2,000 films screened here every year that focus on specific themes, and presentation of works by specific film makers and much more.
The cinema itself evolves round three rooms and provides around forty different sessions each week that revolve around actors, film makers, even technicians or specific themes, and you can also find out what films have subtitles in French for the hard of hearing.
In addition to this, the Henri Langlois room, named after the original founder of the Cinematheque Francaise, is equipped with a magnetic loop and has spaces reserved for wheelchairs.
The Musee de la Cinematheque Museum
This museum in Paris has some fabulous treasures to discover, such as original optical instruments, the first cameras and the birth of 35mm film along with posters, documents costumes and much more.
So, it here at the Musee de la Cinematheque museum section that you can discover the origins of cinema and how it came about, the kinetoscope of Thomas Edison through to his first film, learn about Eadweard Muybridge and the galloping horse through to magic lanterns and much more, providing a greater understanding of who the early pioneers were and how things progressed.
Le 51 Restaurant
Now Le 51 restaurant is also known as the Restaurant Cinematheque and this restaurant in Paris is named after its location at 51 Rue de Bercy, but it is more like a café for quick snacks and has a very unusual theme with picnic style tables.
The idea was to create something unusual that would work inside and outside on the terrace, yet provide people with the opportunity to mingle and create a convivial atmosphere, and therefore is a great place to get a takeaway or eat in with a salad, sandwiches, burger and chips etc, yet also offers themed events that work alongside the exhibitions at the Cinematheque Francaise.
The Bibliotheque - Library
The library and reading room is intended for students, teachers, researchers and those of you who just wish to broaden their knowledge of a certain topic that relates to film and cinema, where you can discover so much more via a completely unique set of documents and records on film.
Tours and Architectural Walks of La Cinematheque Francaise
There are group tours organised for adult groups on a Monday through to a Saturday, however, these do have to be booked in advance, but there are also architectural walks organised.
The architectural walk focuses on the building itself that was designed by Frank O Gehry along with its implementation into the Bercy area of Paris that has been completely transformed, even though there are some elements of the history of Bercy remaining, such as the vineyard in the park and the Pavillons de Bercy that were the original wine warehouses.
After discovering different documents, the tour begins with a walk around the Cinematheque Francaise and even allows you access to areas that are normally closed to the public, then this tour in Paris continues through the surrounding park where you will follow its evolution from the 18th century to today.
And this tour, which is held on the first Sunday of each month lasts for approximately two hours, but we would like to point that that unfortunately this is not accessible to those of you with reduced mobility, yet if you can, this is a great way of discovering more about the area including things like the new foot bridge over the River Seine.
Access to La Cinematheque Francaise Cinema Centre
Located in the 12th Arrondissement, bordering the Parc de Bercy Park, close to the Bercy Village for its shopping and restaurants in Paris, the Cinematheque Francaise is also virtually opposite the Bibliotheque Nationale de France or Bibliotheque Francois Mitterrand, that can be accessed via the new footbridge over the River Seine called the Passerelle Simone de Beauvoir.
It is also close to numerous other attractions in the area such as the Maison du Jardinage house of gardening, the Musee des Arts Forains fairground museum, the POPB stadium and different themed gardens with its fountains, ponds, romantic garden etc. Plus of course it is right by the River Seine where you can discover the barges along with some that have been turned into venues for entertainment in Paris like the Batofar, which was an old lighthouse boat.
Now opening times of La Cinematheque Francaise are a Monday and a Wednesday through to a Sunday, yet it is closed on a Tuesday and French holidays such as 1st May, however, each section does differ slightly on the opening times..
The cinema museum is open from midday through to 7pm, although on a Sunday it is from 10am through to 8pm, whereas the film library is open from 1pm to 7pm with a late opening on a Thursday until 10pm
The Architectural Walks are conducted on the first Sunday of each month at 2pm and these are a cost of €8 or half price for those under the age of 18. Yet the ticket for the architectural walk does give you access to the Film museum on the same day, yet we would like to point out that you would then have to pay for an audio guide for this if you have not already downloaded it.
Access to the Musee de la Cinematheque for the permanent exhibitions is a cost of €5 as of 2013 and half price for children under the age of 12, and a cinema ticket is €6.50 for adults and €3 for those under the age of 18, but to access a specific show is €10 or €5 for under 18s.
Plus you may be pleased to know that there are half price fees available for the disabled upon proof, and the Cinematheque has different systems in place such as guide strips on the floor along with tactile maps and multi-sensory terminals that enable the disabled to access even more areas.
Now when it comes to getting here using the public transport in Paris, you have the Metro and the nearest station is called Bercy on lines 6 or 14, plus there are the Paris buses numbered, 24, 64 and 87. However, there is also parking available at 8 Boulevard de Bercy or the Hotel All Seasons located at 77 Rue de Bercy and you would need to exit the A4 at the Pont de Bercy.
Alternatively, if you are fit and able then you could always take a walk from the heart of Paris along the banks of the River Seine which will take you approximately 20 minutes or so, or you could go to the Cour Saint-Emilion metro stop, which is just slightly further to walk.
Related photo images
- Photos of La Cinemateque Francaise
- Musee de la Cinematheque Museum
- Le 51 Restaurant
Address and Contact Details
La Cinemateque Francaise
51 Rue de Bercy
Ile de France
Tel: +33 (0) 1 71 19 33 33
Tourist attractions close by
- Parc de Bercy Park
- Bercy Village
- History of Bercy in Paris
- Jardin Yitzhak Rabin
- The Pavillons de Bercy
- Musee des Arts Forains Fairground Museums
- Maison du Jardinage House of Gardening
- Agence Parisienne du Climat
- Chai 33 Restaurant
- Palais Omnisports de Paris Bercy Stadium POPB
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