- Calli Zarpas
The Best Vintage Film Photo Booths in Paris (With Locations!)
Updated: Mar 23, 2022
Let's be honest, when you search what to do in Paris, a lot of similar things pop up. You'll likely find landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and Le Sacre-Coeur in Montmarte or fan-favorite cafés like Cafe Flore. But after visiting Paris more times than I can count, I've found a lot of non-touristy and inexpensive activities to to in Paris.
From visiting authentic and unique cafés to getting lost in more residential neighborhoods, there is lots of fun to be had in Paris besides the typical tourist traps. But, one of my absolute favorite non-touristy and inexpensive activity to do in Paris is to take a trip to a vintage film photo booth (also known as chemical photo booths, analog or dip and dunk photo booths because they use real film cameras instead of a digital camera and a modern printer like most photo booths).
For 3 euros you'll get a four-picture photo strip that develops in about 4 minutes. I find it a really fun activity to do with friends or even on my own. I first found one of the photo booths, but I ended up finding out that there was an association dedicated to placing temporary and permanent restored photo booths around Paris.
Since 2007, a company called FotoAutomat saves, restores, and brings back to life some of the last vintage film photo booths in France. They then go on to place them in places around Paris that are usually dedicated to art and culture.
Each of the cabins is completely unique, redesigned and reconstructed in their workshop where it's restored back to its original glory. I'm on a mission to visit all of them because every location and photo booth really has it's own character and something fun/new to discover. A lot of the locations are also in cool parts of Paris so there is always something to do discover around the photo booths.
What is truly amazing about the photos that print out is that it's printed from a traditional film camera which means the quality of the photo will remain for at least 100 years—so it is truly a souvenir you can treasure for a long time. Today there are less than 50 working film photo booths around the world and about a dozen in Paris so this is also an experience to be cherished and one we might not be able to do in 50 years!
I've been to four of them so far (including the one they have in Nantes!), but the locations can sometimes change so here is the link to their website so you can make sure you're heading to the right place. It's all in French, but if you click "Nos Cabines" on the menu it'll take you to a list of all of their photo booths with their addresses.
P.S. Besides Paris you can also find them in Arles and Prague!
But here's a list of all of the vintage photo booths with their descriptions translated into English:
1. PALAIS DE TOKYO PHOTO BOOTH 13, Avenue du Président Wilson Paris 16e
In September 2007, Fotoautomat's first restored vintage film photo booth made its debut in France in the Palais de Tokyo. Ready to take your picture in black and white in just four flashes! Made for lovers, friends, actors, anniversaries, students, artists, grandparents, and more. Fall to your narcissitic tendencies for just 3€.
2. LA MAISON ROUGE 10 Boulevard de la Bastille Paris 12
The international festival of photography (Les Rencontres d'Arles) bought this vintage photo booth to Paris in 2011. This photo booth is open, which means it offers more freedom for your photo positions. Perfect for acrobats!
After the festival, Fotoautomat was invited by Maison Rouge to place their photo booth in their shop in 2018.
3. STUDIO 7L 7 Rue de Lille Paris 7e
This is the only photo booth that is unfortunately not available to the public. Installed in Studio7L since 2011, this photo booth belonged to Karl Lagerfield where it was used for the various people who come to his studio. The pictures taken here used to be published in each monthly publication of Vanity Fair for several years.
4. POINT EPHEMERE
200 Quai de Valmy
Installed in the summer of 2008 at Point Ephémère in Paris. This photo booth unfortunately no long er works. After being set afire in the summer of 2009, it was replaced in February 2010 and then stopped working June 9 2010.
Open 24/7, this photo booth is known as the "cheapest hotel in Paris" and has been graffitied, squatted, set on fire, attacked with glass bottles, and more. This is considered to be the strongest photo booth ever constructed by Foto Automat because despite all this, it's still standing!
5. PAVILLON PUEBLA
Parc des Buttes Chaumont
Working in Montréal until 1986, this vintage photo booth was then adjusted to print color photos then put in storage and then used for spare parts for more than 20 years.
Eventually it went on to be restaured and put back into service by Foto Automat in 2010. This authentic photo booth Model 17, completely built with original parts and crafted with Formica can now be found at the bottom of the Puebla Pavillion in Buttes Chaumont park in Paris.
6. FOTOAUTOMAT STUDIO
53 rue des Trois Frères
This photo booth is accessible every day of the week from 8:00 am to 11:00 pm in Montmarte. It is a special one because it's actually located at the Foto Automat studio which also welcomes expositions and hosts things like workshops and concerts. The reconstruction of this photo booth took several months as they completely reconstructed the oak exterior of their shop around the photo booth from scratch.
7. LE CENTQUATRE
5 rue Curial
Le Centquatre, a huge building made of stone, brick, and metal, which were typical during the industrial era in France is reborn from its ashes! Built on the ruins of an old slaughterhouse, which was a huge funeral service that continued for over a decade, Le Centquatre is now a popular and hip location in Paris.
In 2008, it became a space of art and culture, welcoming dancers, comedians, musicians, photographers, films, workshops, organic markets and the best of all a vintage film photo booth. It's a little hidden, but you can access it directly by the "Café Caché" which is located at 104 rue d’Aubervilliers, Paris 19e.
8. LE CLASSIQUE
This one actually moves around so there is no address for this one. But this is a classic film photo booth crafted with a minimalistic design.
9. LA CITÉ DE LA MUSIQUE
221 Av. Jean Jaurès Avenue
Foto Automat created this vintage photo booth in March 2016 for the exposition of Seydou Keïta at Le Grand Palais. This vintage photo booth is a little special because there is a window behind the seat inside the booth. This allows for different fabrics, canvases, etc. to be placed behind you, which means the photo booth is constantly changing.
Then in 2018, this photo booth moved to La Cité de la Musique – Philharmonie de Paris, for an exposition called "Doisneau et la Musique." You can still find it there.
There are a few more photo booths belonging to Foto Automat, but they're not available in a specific website. You can learn more from the Foto Automat website. But happy picture taking! Leave any questions below. :)