Back to the fifteenth century in fact, and the founding of this church in the vicinity of a sanctuary that housed relics of the Syrian Saint Simeon Stylites (or Symeon the Stylite), recognised in one unofficial listing as number six in the top ten of “Truly Badass Saints”. This enviable status is mainly due to the 37 years he spent doing penance and praying at the top of a stone column until his death aged 69 around AD 459.
It was at the age of 32 that he came up with his trademark idea of being exposed to the elements at the top of a column, which stood on the boundary of Syria and Cilicia and ultimately extended to 18 metres above the ground. Monks used ladders to supply food and drink to the flat summit, which was about one metre in diameter (so Simeon could stand, kneel or sit, but never lie down). Needless to say, the feat was a constant crowd-puller as well as possibly proving inspirational for the producers of modern-day extreme game shows. Meanwhile, it is unclear how his relics ended up in Bordeaux…
The building later became a bicycle shop and subsequently a garage before being turned, come 1999, into the art house cinema we know today.
In the entrance lobby, a café-restaurant offers beverages and food to cinema-goers and upwardly-mobile passers-by alike. The last time I was there, a young studious gentleman sat next to us, opened a fat doorstopper of a book and started underlining things in strategic places. He was the height of academia cool.