A short history of home video

If you find old French videos in car boot sales or vide greniers they were on a different standard to the UK. They were ‘SECAM’, as opposed to ‘PAL’. This meant you could only watch them in Black and White.

Belgium, however, used PAL (national rivalries!) and so Belgium videos played in colour but without subtitles. There are however hundreds of French videos available in Britain with subtitles. There is also a really wide variety available in America but you need a VCR that can play the American NTSC standard.

DVD made all this easier. Many come with English subtitles and can be found second-hand in exchange shops in larger French towns and cities .

DVD’s and Bluray

For a UK site visit here

Also French ebay and priceminister will have the usual bargains.

Here is a great link to what is available cheap in Britain:

Sadly the days of DVD and Bluray may be numbered but means lots of bargains out there.


Don’t ask be to explain the whys and wherefores of what is on line. Some whole feature films pop up , others remain jealously guarded. Have a look at my clips page and then so some searching yourself.  Every year there is an online French film festival which for about a fiver you can download a selection of unreleased new French features and shorts.

Netflix has many more popular films that never get screening in the UK plus some French TV series. MUBI has lots of foreign language films. BFI Player, Curzon Home and Amazon Prime also have more French films than you could easily watch.


To read about French cinema is quite easy in English but there is naturally a wider variety in French.

The traditional specialist bookshops have disappeared one by one in France but let me know

if you find a survivor.

The big chain store is FNAC, with many branches and Virgin Magastore on the Champs Elysées has a nice cafe and the basement is, in part, a huge old safe as the building was once a bank.


A nice site Moviemags that covers many French magazines, From here you can generally find old

copies via priceminister.

Videos and DVD’s in France

Fnac Les Halles

Fnac Ternes Near metro Ternes, but easy walk up from Champs Elysées good selection.

Virgin Champs Elysées, Good selection and great café on the top floor.

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