My favourite time period for French cinema is from the early talkies to the beginning of the Sixties, with some exceptions of course. I was born in 1940 and started to watch movies in Paris in the mid-Fifties, most of the time I was alone. I mean, with some friends of my age, I was going to local movie theaters (by local, I mean located in my suburb, Aubervilliers, and the next one, Pantin. In these popular theaters the foreign movies were presented in French-dubbed versions. But, as I was attired by fantasy, horror and SF films, most of them were only visible in Paris, so I begun to take the Métro (underground) and most of them were only released in one or two theaters, like the now defunct "Midi-Minuit". And most of them were presented in their original versions, with French subs. I was generally alone for these "expeditions"... So, very quickly, at 15/16 I started to frequent the Cinémathèque and saw a lot of old, and even very old movies. I also saw a lot of French films, carefully reading the credits, and watched all the marvelous movies made by Julien Duvivier, Marcel Carné, Jacques Feyder, Pierre Chenal, Raymond Bernard, Jean Renoir, etc. I shared the same admiration for these French movies now considered as classics than for the Golden Years of Horror of Universal, for instance. In the same day I could see a movie like "The Mummy's Hand", the afternoon "Drôle de drame", and in the evening "Nosferatu" at the Cinémathèque. So, I always discovered these films on the big screen. My mother was a widow and we never had a TV set. In fact, I got my first TV when I was 42, and I continued to watch movies in theaters. I discovered all the Hammer gothics then they were just released.
About French cinéma, I love movie like "La fin du jour", "L'étrange désir de Monsieur Bard" with Michel Simon, "Le jour se lève", "La bandera", "Pépé le Moko", "Les enfants du paradis", "La kermesse héroïque", etc. But also "popular" movies, as they were, after all, played by the same actors I admired in the "classics". A movie like "Circonstances atténuantes" for instance, with Michel Simon and Arletty, all the movies with Fernandel, etc. Raimu, Harry Baur, Louis Jouvet, were my heroes, but also these wonderful "second roles" like Pierre Larquey, Saturnin Fabre, Jean Tissier, Louis Salou, Robert Le Vigan, Julien Carette, Marguerite Moréno, Marguerite Pierry, Pauline Carton, Jeanne Fusier-Gir, etc etc - the list would be endless.
And I never liked the "Nouvelle Vague"... sorry.