Rebel Paris: Creative Explosions & Revolutionary Dreamers

Curious Minds Online Course
Film Info
Cinema Extra
Display Category:Curious Minds Speaker Series


Back by popular demand! Discover (or re-discover) some of the most popular Curious Minds courses from the past year.

Poète maudit Arthur Rimbaud... Fashion firebrand Coco Chanel...Visual revolutionary Pablo Picasso... What do they all have in common? Paris! The city has always attracted and nurtured the rebel spirit. In this new series from Curious Minds favourite Lisa Pasold, we’ll investigate the bad boys and radical women of the Left and Right Bank through the ages, exploring how the City of Light has fostered renegade thinkers who have brought about much-needed cultural and political change. What is special about Paris? Why are its vibrant neighbourhoods so ripe for creative explosions—and actual explosions, too? In our own uncertain times, when the whole world seems on the brink of great changes, let's examine what can we learn from the Parisian ability to encourage and integrate transformation into daily life.

Lisa Pasold

Led by Lisa Pasold, a Governor General’s Award–nominated writer, journalist (The Globe and Mail, Chicago Tribune) and television host of Discovery World’s Paris Next Stop. A Canadian now living in the City of Light, she previously led the popular Curious Minds series’ Inventing Modern Paris and Learning from Paris.

Course registration: $49 (Hot Docs Members: $33, $27, Free)

Curious Minds Speaker Series sponsored by

Hollywood Suite

The six lectures in this series are now available to stream. You can access each lecture at your leisure by clicking on links in your confirmation email, or by visiting your My Shows page.

Lecture #1: Cobblestones & Crowns: The ever-defiant Latin Quarter & Saint-Germain (5th & 6th arrondissements)
From its early medieval history as the centre for higher learning, right up to the radical student protests of 1968, the Latin Quarter has been the beating heart of rebellious intellectual Paris, setting the stage for new form of expressions in art and society—from ex-con and medieval bard Francois Villon to complex feminist Simone de Beauvoir.

Lecture #2: Pens & Swords: The bustling Faubourg (9th arrondissement) 
Wedged between the market bustle of Les Halles and the cabarets of Montmartre, the little-known 9th arrondissement was a hotbed of art and radical thought in the 1800s. This is where Napoleon Bonaparte plotted his coup, where novelist George Sand made her home, and where painter Gericault painted his haunting masterpiece, The Raft of the Medusa. 

Lecture #3: Power & Pain: The hand of power (7th arrondissement)
How did the 7th arrondissement become the political centre of France? And who has dared to rebel? We’ll look at Emile Zola and the Dreyfus Affair, we'll discuss life-changing decisions made at the Invalides, and we’ll step inside the Assemblée Nationale (French Parliament) to meet a politician who rebelled from within the system, brilliant Health Minister Simone Veil. 

Lecture #4: Mountains & Martyrs: The heights of Montmartre (18th arrondissement)
Montmartre is named for the rebellious Saint Denis, martyred by the Romans. The village of that name was incorporated reluctantly into Paris in 1860, and its fighting spirit continued with the tragic rebellion of the Commune and later, when Montmartre became a locus of artistic revolt—from the Impressionists to the Cubists.

Lecture #5: Makers & Builders: The fashionable rue de Rivoli (1st & 4th arrondissements)
Elegant, urbane, and glittering, Rivoli offers us the ultimate in practical boulevards, attracting surprising revolutionaries such as Olympe de Gouges (who wrote the Declaration of the Rights of Women); the Black, French, classical composer Chevalier de Saint-George (who fought for the Revolution); and fashion rebel Coco Chanel.

Lecture #6: Film & Fury: The future of Paris (19th arrondissement)
Belleville includes one of the most beautiful parks in Paris and some of the city’s grimmest-looking housing projects. The neighbourhood has a long history of working class strife and architectural experiments. We’ll look at early film pioneer Alice Guy in the Buttes Chaumont and discuss today’s Belleville, the most eclectic immigrant neighborhood in the city, to see how Paris is preparing for its rebellious future.

Streaming for all Curious Minds lectures is available worldwide. Need assistance? Visit our FAQ page or email us at