Cinema is considered the seventh art in France and plays an essential role in French cultural life. There is even a (fantastic) museum dedicated to art on celluloid, the Cinémathèque Française, and great artists like Jean Cocteau liked to mix it up, adding films to their repertoire. Going to the movies is definitely one of the most Parisian things to do in Paris. Add to that a flute of champagne, a Pierre Hermé treat and a Michelin-starred meal, and you’ll have the ultimate movie night.
That is exactly what’s being offered this winter for the Sunday Night Film Club at the Royal Monceau in Paris, every Sunday night through April. The Royal Monceau is one of the most luxurious hotels in Paris, with the best spa in the city (Clarins My Blend), and its 99-seat private movie theater is just as royal as you’d expect, with large leather armchairs and a folding table for your refreshments.
I went with my teen daughter on a frigid Sunday night in December. It was wonderful to get out of the house but not be out in the elements. Because she had school the next day, I opted for the movie and champagne option with gourmet popcorn, but without the gourmet meal at the restaurant la Cuisine. We arrived shortly before the show was set to start, a gentleman quickly whisking off our coats and guiding us to the check-in to confirm our (required) reservations. Only steps away was a small bar with the promised champagne and tempting fruit juices. We were offered our choice of sweet or savory popcorn, and after selecting one of each, we headed into the theater that was so cozy we felt like we were in our home—only better, because there was a large screen in front of us and no mess or interruptions around us. We sprawled out, taking off our shoes, and spent the next 143 minutes watching Daniel Craig dodge (and even take some) bullets in the most recent Bond film, Skyfall.
Which brings me to the only caveat about the film club. There is a warning on its website that the movies listed there are not necessarily the movies that will be shown that night. I am not sure how far in advance the film selection is finalized. When I made my reservation on a Tuesday, I was informed that the film that was scheduled, Chocolat, had changed. I don’t think anyone would argue that Skyfall is of a very different genre, and it could have been an issue for some guests, but it was not for me, because instead of treating my teen to an evening of Johnny Depp, I was able to introduce her to 007. If you make reservations well in advance, I recommend calling to confirm what movie will be playing that night.
Then, sit back, relax and enjoy the show.