Paris is not the birthplace of cinema. That accolade is contested by a handful of cities in the Western world, perhaps most convincingly by Lyon, the home of the pioneering Lumière brothers. But when in need of patrons to finance their cinematic experiments, it is to the capital that the brothers turned; and so, in 1895, they gave the first ever private screening of projected motion pictures, in the basement of the Grand Café (where today stands the Hotel Scribe). Thus Paris’s special relationship with the Seventh Art was forged.
Over the next half century, French cinema blossomed into one of the world’s largest, resisting Hollywood dominance with greater success than elsewhere in Europe. The motors at its heart were the mighty Pathé and Gaumont studios, whose bases in and around Paris ensured that the capital remained at the heart of the industry (a former Pathé branch in Montreuil is now home to a performing arts centre). Despite the interference of the world wars, French and foreign filmmakers shot here in ever greater numbers, capturing the city's cinematogenic vistas in some of the most shimmeringly beautiful films ever made.
The Paris Walking Tour: Movie and TV Show Locations takes you through all these film-famous spots and more, over a guided 2-hour tour. What better way to relive Charade, The Bourne Identity, or even, The Three Muskateers?