When you have a degree in design, you tend to pay a lot of attention to the architecture and urban planning around you. My favourite style of all is Art Nouveau or whatever it was called in the various countries that jumped on the bandwagon: Jugendstil, Arts and Crafts, Arte Joven, Modern, Secession, etc etc.
Art Deco followed Art Nouveau but somehow it doesn’t speak to me. Geometric instead of floral, sleek instead of craftsy, influenced by the exotic instead of the familiar. BUT, when I see a prime example of Art Deco in situ, I still get all excited. Walking Firstborn to the Gare du Nord to catch a train, I spotted what looked to me like an amazing Art Deco building – The Louxor. I was in a hurry so didn’t have time to investigate.
The next time I went by, I noticed that it was a cinema. It was built in 1921 with an Egyptian theme, pipe organ, orchestra pit and seating for 1300. It is right beside the Barbes-Rochechouart Metro station which has figured in many movies itself. Over the years, the area became known for drugs and prostitution and the theatre closed in 1983.
It was purchased by Tati, a clothing chain store that makes me giggle every time I walk past it. It owns a full block close to the cinema and sells discount lingerie, jewelry and clothing. I just think the name doesn’t inspire confidence. Maybe that’s why the business is struggling? Anyways, the Louxor was listed as a heritage building and Tati sold it on. It became a night club, then closed for 25 years, allowing drug addicts and squatters to move in.
But in 2003, the city of Paris bought the land and the building and hired architect Phillipe Pumain to rework the building. The Louxor only re-opened less than a year ago on April 17, 2013.
So I felt really lucky to be able to see a movie there. And guess what? A few months ago, I watched Wes Andersen’s Moonrise Kingdom and really enjoyed it. Now, the Louxor was screening Anderson’s latest film, The Grand Budapest Hotel. And, Parisians don’t like dubbed movies so the film was being screened in English with French subtitles.
I was a little nervous because the last time I saw a movie in Paris (20 years ago), someone stole all my money. I’m sure you have heard all about how artful pickpockets can be but I will tell you that this one managed to go into my purse (there was no one sitting in our aisle except us) which was right beside me, steal all my money out of my wallet, return the wallet to my purse and remain undetected. At one point, I felt a bit nervous but checked and since my wallet was in my purse, didn’t worry further. It wasn’t until after the movie had ended and I came to pay for something that I realized what had happened. At the police station, they told us that this was common at the movie theatres on the Champs Élysées. Be careful if you go to an English screening in a touristy area – pickpockets specifically target tourists distracted by an entertaining film.
Regardless, all the little ducks were lining up nicely. But wait, what about price? A single ticket would cost 9 euros ($13.50). Two of us going to see that movie would really eat into our budget…
Lucky for us, Printemps du Cinema was on for the 15th year. Every screening of every movie in every theatre in France cost only 3.50 euros on March 16,17,18.
Two tickets for March 18 please!
We went to the late afternoon show yesterday and found that both the movie and the interior of the cinema more than lived up to expectations!