Café Lumière & Salon Indien

The Café Lumière at the Hotel Scribe in Paris is a tribute to the Lumière Brothers, who premiered their first films here in December 1895. Motion pictures had arguably been invented seven years before that by Louis Le Prince. In addition, Eadweard Muybridge had used his zoopraxiscope at Chicago’s Columbian Exposition in 1893 to project a series of photographs, thus creating something similar to today’s stop-motion animation. And Woodville Latham can also stake a claim to be the first to project films on a screen to a paying public, when he did so in New York City in May 1895. But it is the Lumières who get credit for inventing the institution of cinema by projecting multiple short films shot on a single camera onto a screen for a paying crowd in Paris later that same year. “Death will cease to be absolute,” a journalist wrote in La Poste.

The actual location of that first screening is now a basement room below the Café Lumière. The Hotel Scribe calls that room The 1895, and it’s used as a breakfast space for hotel guests. Back in 1895, it was called the Salon Indien and was part of the Grand Café, which has since moved to another location. For more information and a list of the films shown in 1895, visit Wikipedia. Though there is some debate as to whether the famous Train Leaving the Station was shown on that first day, the general consensus now is that it premiered instead in early 1896.

If you want to visit the Café Lumière, you need only walk into the main entrance of the Hotel Scribe, though I highly suggest making a reservation for lunch or dinner and enjoying some of the best food in Paris. But if you want to see the 1895 room, you’ll have to inquire at the hotel’s front desk. If you’re lucky, they’ll give you a quick tour.

(All photos are copyright MeierMovies, LLC, and may not be used without written permission and copyright credit.)