If throughout its history Parisian architecture has served as an example for European capitals, a few rich – and eccentric – Parisians have on the contrary been inspired by far away cultures to build original buildings.
Thanks to that, Paris’ heritage owns today two beautiful and unusual pagodas, the first in the 8th district (see: Pagoda Paris) and the second one in the district of Sèvres-Babylone (7th district).
A CRAZY GIFT
Today independent arthouse cinema, the Pagoda is originally a crazy gift made by the director of Le Bon Marché at the late 19th century, François-Emile Morin, to his wife who loved Japanese culture.
It didn’t matter to Mr. Morin if the land he had bought might be in the heart of one of the most traditional districts in Paris. François-Emile loved his wife more than anyone, and gave unlimited credit to the architect Alexandre Marcel to offer her this dream. Inspired by the Toshogu Shrine in Nikko (Japan), a baroque masterpiece of the 17th century, Mr Marcel even ordered directly from Japan building elements as paintings or tapestries.
Unfortunately, Mrs Morin left her husband a few months after receiving her gift to join the son of his partner, met during a lavish party organised in the Pagoda…
BECOME A CINEMA
Mr. Morin was not particularly a japan addict, and therefore sold the pagoda to the best friend of his ex-wife. The hotel then became lost in the mists of time before reopening as a cinema in 1931.
Cinema La Pagode quickly became a mythical place of the 7th art. There were shown Luis Buñuel, Jean Renoir and, later, Jean Cocteau works. In the 60s, it even became the trendy cinema broadcasting the Nouvelle Vague movement directors like François Truffaut or Eric Rohmer.
A wonderful place not only for the cinema and its sumptuous rooms, but also for its romantic garden / tea room. All are classified as historical monuments.
At sèvres-Babylone, you will also find two beautiful public gardens : Square Récamier and Catherine Labouré garden. You can also visit the unusual Deyrolle House.