La Pagode: Detail

Paris France

Wandering around the 7th arrondissement of Paris I stumbled across this unusual building partially hidden by bamboos and wisteria. The director of the department store Bon Marché had it constructed as a gift for his wife in 1896. La Pagode became a cinema in 1931 and has played a big part in presenting cutting edge French cinema to the public. Jean Cocteau held the premiere of Testament d’Orphée here in 1959 and La Pagode Cinema played an important part in promoting the films of Ingmar Bergman and Sergei Eisenstein in France. Now it shows Art-house, foreign, cult and independent new releases. It is not uncommon for the cinema to hold retrospectives for directors such as Woody Allen and Alfred Hitchcock.

There is a tea house where you can grab a cuppa and chew over the fat in the rather small, but very pretty Japanese garden where you can get a glimpse of La Pagode and the beautiful details of colourful painted flowers, carved dragons, flowers and birds in jade or ivory and large stained glass windows with geometric panes. It sounds as if it could be quite kitsch, but in reality it is an impressive building. I did not go inside, but apparently it is equally surprising.

I only hope that someone carries out some repairs on this extraordinary building, so that it is not lost.

Located on 57 bis, Rue de Babylon

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