The history of cinema in Épinal

In Épinal, namely the "Cité des Images", cinema always had an prominent place in the activities offered to the inhabitants of the city and the surrounding towns, and this as soon as 1896!

Many cinemas have emerged since the appearance of the seventh art. The first one was actually temporary and opened in rue Aubert for two consecutive weeks in 1896. Just a few months after the first public screening in Paris! It was not until 1911 that Épinal saw its first permanent projection room known as "Excelsior" in rue de la Gare. A second one was scheduled to open in 1914, however, because of the First World War, its inauguration was not possible until 1917 in rue des Etats-Unis..

In 1970, despite years of success, the aforementioned cinemas closed to make room for other film houses, such as the "Majestic" in rue Rualménil which was later known as the "Rio". There was also the "Vox" previously implanted in Quai des Bons Enfants and the "Concorde". In order for everyone to have access to a cinema, it was not uncommon to have smaller neighbourhood halls like the "Eden" in Chantraine. It is in the latter that the association “La Boite à Film” was founded and continues to select films for the multiplex today.

The 1980s drastically changed the film landscape in Épinal after the fire in the film house "Concorde". "Palace-Théâtre" became the only film house in Épinal. Work was carried out in its lobby and its main halls which had until then remained unchanged since its opening. This was done in order to accommodate the ever increasing flow of spectators.

Attendance increased considerably in the 1990s with the release of several box office successes such as The Titanic, Le Dîner de Con, les Visiteurs, etc. The decision was then made to modernize the projection and sound equipment. These years also marked a major change in the management. Until then, SEM managed the cinema but it changed hands and became the property of the Town Hall.

Further modernization was carried out in the years 2000s, including the installation of air conditioning in all the rooms. Nevertheless, it was no longer able to accommodate all its spectators in ideal conditions. So, in 2011 the film house was closed after 94 years of activities.  It reopened in its current location in rue Saint-Michel.