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The history of cinemas in Épinal

The people of Épinal can confirm that we are particularly proud of the nickname given to our town, namely “The City of Images” however, another possible one is “The City of Animated Images”. Here is our case!

Indeed, many cinemas have emerged since the appearance and recognition that films are an Art. The first of these which was temporary, was 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 later became 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 "Eden" in Chantraine. It is in the latter one that the association “La Boite à Film” was founded and continues to select films for our town today.

The 1980s drastically changed the film landscape in Épinal following the fire in the film house "Concorde". "Palace Theater" became the only film house in the town of 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 mark 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.