3 rue Caulaincourt,
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Previously operated by: Gaumont France
Architects: Auguste Bahrmann, Henri Belloc, M. Georges Peynet
Styles: Art Deco
Previous Names: Hippodrome Theatre, Hippodrome Grand Cinema du Monde, Hippo-Palace
The Gaumont Palace was the largest movie theatre in Europe. It was located at 3 Rue Caulaincourt at the corner of Rue Forest and was a re-construction of the Hippodrome Theatre (1900) which had 5,500 seats and had been designed by architect Auguste Bahrmann. The Hippodrome Theatre was taken over by Leon Gaumont and re-opened as a cinema on 14th December 1907 as the Hippodrome Grand Cinema du Monde, soon known as the Hippo-Palace.
Another re-construction of the Hippodrome took place in 1930 when architect Henri Belloc created a fantastic super cinema in an Art Deco style, named Gaumont Palace. Seating was provided for 6,420 in orchestra and two balcony levels. It was equipped with a British made Christie 4Manual/15Ranks theatre organ. It opened on June 17, 1931 with “Tabou”.
The cinema was renovated in early-1954 to the plans of architect Georges Peynet and the exterior was renovated later that year. It was converted into a 3-strip Cinerama theatre from 17th September 1963 until 13th October 1964, after which it was a 70mm cinema. The final weeks saw sold out concerts by Frank Zappa and The Beach Boys. The Gaumont Palace closed on 31st March 1972 following a week’s run of John Wayne in “The Cowboys”, presented in 70mm.
It was demolished in early-1973. The famous Christie pipe organ was removed at the last moment before demolition and is now in a suburb of Paris. Today the Mercure Hotel, part of the Ibis Hotels Group stands on the site.
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Recent comments (view all 14 comments)
Historic photo from early 20th Century:
I have an old postcard that I’ve scanned and put in my flickrstream: View link
Scroll down to page 13 for vintage photo of organ console on stage in this theater:
I’ve written about this cinema on my blog(http://parisisinvisible.blogspot.com/2008/10/prince-and-pauper.html), comparing the previous pictures found here with current pictures I took of what is there today. I wasn’t sure who to credit for the archive pictures so apologies to anybody who thinks they should have been credited.
Photo my father took circa 1955. (My scan of the slide)
A cool BW photo that somebody posted recently:
My son found a original movie tix from this theater for King Kong in 1933. I was wondering if it is worth anything? If so does anyone know where I could sell it?
I remember this cinema well and I also remember it being demolished. Tragic loss.
The Gaumont Palace was featured in all but the last of Francois Truffaut’s famous “Antoine Doinel” series of features, beginning with “The 400 Blows” and ending with “Bed and Board”, in which the film playing there is “Cheyenne Autumn”. (Available as a group from Netflix) in fact, young Doinel’s first apartment is located in the front if the building just across the street to the left. Alas, none of the TV interviews with the director pointed this out or inquired about the fact. Did he consider making greater use of the theatre itself?