Marty Almquist

Not your usual afternoon activity in Paris

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Okay, you’ve been to the Eiffel Tower, you’ve been to Notre Dame, you’ve been to the Louvre. It’s raining and gray outside, and your hotel room is the size of a postage stamp. You need to escape, but to somewhere not overrun with tourists just like you. Why not see a movie?

I’m not talking about seeing whatever’s playing at the theaters at home. I’m talking about going back in time. How about going to see “Anatomy of a Murder,” with Jimmy Stewart, from 1959? Or “Ace in the Hole,” with Kirk Douglas, from 1951?

My husband and I have found that one of our favorite pastimes on those gray, rainy days, is to pick up the latest copy of “L’officiel des spectacles” at any newspaper kiosk for the cost of one euro, and peruse the listings to see what’s on tap that week. It comes out once a week, on Wednesdays, and has all the current listings for theater, movies, museums expositions, and concerts in and around Paris.

Maybe you’re a Hitchcock fan? Or Billy Wilder? Or? Paris still has some tiny theaters that show these old classics in “vo”, or version originale, with subtitles. That means that you can enjoy it, even though your French language abilities are not up to snuff.

The theaters are mostly on the Left Bank, in the 5th and 6th arrondisements, which is the Latin Quarter. When you pick up your guide, look under “Cinema.” It first lists the new movies, then has listings by arrondisement, which are the “neighborhoods” that Paris is divided into. Look under the 5th and 6th.

Now comes the tricky part. The titles are not always what they seem. Sometimes, they just use the American title, but sometimes they have translated it. “Sueurs Froides” is one that is showing this week, for instance. I have NO idea what that is in English, so I open my “cheat sheet” which is a French film site like IMDB, called AlloCine, When you type in the French name, it shows you that its American name is “Vertigo,” by Hitchcock. Another one showing this week is  “Sur les quais” which is “On the Waterfront.”

One of our favorites that we saw a couple of years ago was “From Here to Eternity” with Burt Lancaster. We had seen the “beach” scene, like anyone who is a movie buff, but never the whole movie and it was really good.

Don’t expect HDMI or screens that are 20 feet across. It’s more like 30 seats and a screen that is a little bigger than some of the mega screens available for home use today, but it’s a great experience!

Oh, and did I mention? Sorry, no popcorn. You’ll just have to go find a cafe afterward and have a coffee, while watching the world go by.

There are worse fates.

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