February 5, 2010 2

Spot-Taipei film house: Cafe Lumiere + Le Ballon Rouge (Taipei: Zhongshan)

By in 10: Taipei, Favorite Food Entries

The Spot

I mentioned before that I really like the Zhongshan area a lot. Another big reason is Spot-Taipei film house. It is mainly a theatre that shows indie and foreign films, but it also has a gift shop that sell local design stuffs, a coffee shop and a bar on the 2nd floor. Located in the former American embassy, it was founded by Hou Hsiao Hsien and is now the center of film culture in Taipei. Jon and I love movies and are fans of Taiwan cinema (i.e. Edward Yang, Hou Hsiao Hsien, Tsai ming Liang, Ang Lee) so we instantly love this place! The gift shop sells DVD of these great filmmakers’ films (as well as a lot of foreign films) so we picked up a bunch that we couldn’t find here in the US.

Taipei spot
Cafe Lumiere 2cafe spot

Cafe Lumiere locates on the first floor. It’s also the name of a Hou Hsiao Hsien film from 2003. I like the ceiling to floor windows so you can see the surrounding garden. Though the chairs were a little uncomfortable, a bit too form over function.

Cafe Lumiere 3Cafe Lumiere

The coffee and cakes were good. In fact a lot better than many other “real cafes” in Taipei.  We went back several time, we particularly like the cheesecake.

The Spotle ballon rougeLe Ballon RougeLe Ballon Rouge 6
After all the hustle and bustle of the night market, we wanted to go some place that’s quiet for a drink. Le Ballon rouge, the bar on the 2nd floor is exactly what we wanted. The name Red Balloon (in English) is of course a reference to the classic French film by Albert Lamorisse, which Hou Hsiao Hsien made a tribute film to in 2006 (The Flight of the Red Balloon).

Le Ballon Rouge 5

They have an interesting drink list and they’re named after films.  A lot of the drink features absinthe. I got the Reflections (a Taiwanse film from 05), which is white wine + cassis (a blood-red, sweet, blackcurrant flavored liqueur). I like it a lot. Jon got straight up whiskey.

Both places are easily on my list of favorite places to hang out in Taipei.

Spot-Taipei film house:
Cafe Lumiere (Cafe)
Le Ballon Rouge (bar)

18, Sec. 2, Zhongshan N. Road, Taipei

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2 Responses to “Spot-Taipei film house: Cafe Lumiere + Le Ballon Rouge (Taipei: Zhongshan)”

  1. tomoko says:

    I’ve never seen Cafe Lumiere or any other Hou Hsiao Hsien films so definitely will check it out!
    any other must-see films?

  2. Joan says:

    City of Sadness is the MUST watch one!
    Japanese trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=if689JI45Qc&feature=related
    I want to see it again~ It’s got young Tony Leung!