Theatre Le Ranelagh

5 Rue des Vignes,
Paris 75016

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At the begining of the century, one of the pioneers of the motor car builders rich businessman, built a theatre in the garden of his residence in Paris. The architect was Belgian and the design was Baroque. Each year he would improve the building, adding a balcony and wings. When he died in the 1930’s, the house was razed but the theatre remained while buildings were erected all around.

The theatre became a movie house. There was a large lobby on two levels and a big atelier under the roof. The stalls lobby could become a dance room with a wooden floor under a huge carpet which could be removed for the occasion.

During the 1950’s, the owner was a cinema lover and the Ranelagh Cinema was a very famous art cinema of the city. There was a huge stage and the projection booth was beside the stage with retro projection on a special screen. Everything was done to give the best for movie-goers. For instance, for an opera movie the sound system was settled in the orchestra pit.

In the 1970’s, as with other similar movie theatres in Paris, the times were difficult but the theatre had a successful run of “Les Enfants du Paradis”. The Ranelagh was the perfect box for this jewel and people came for years from the entire world.

Some live performances started to alternate with movies. Every year, the puppets of Salzburg filled the theatre with a faithful audience.

The Theatre Ranelagh is now a permanent live theatre of the city, it is lost in a small street in the 16th district, but it deserves a glance. It was landmarked in the 1980’s before it could have been destroyed. Not far away is the tower building of Radio France.

Contributed by xavier Delamare
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