Cinéma under the Parisian stars

Who doesn’t love the movies?

Sure, Netflix, Hulu and streaming services now dominate date night.

But deep down it’s not quite the same, and you can start to feel oddly unbalanced in the weeks without sitting in front of a 30-foot screen and peppering yourself in popcorn.

 

If there is anything I love more than putting on my comfort clothes and going to the flicks, it’s a picnic.

So when I read that there was an outdoor cinema, combining film and picnicking, I naturally made that over-excited teenage ‘eep’ noise.

(Obviously, ‘eeped’ in my mind, so as not to invite the scorn of mocking eyes on the Paris metro).

Free outdoor cinema

Starting annually in July and running until the end of August, large crowds flock to ‘Le Cinéma en Plein Air’ (Open Air Cinema), entirely free to the public.

At dusk, a giant inflatable screen slowly twitches and inflates at the Parc de la Villette in the northern suburbs of Paris.

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The screen changes colour as it inflates, making it look like a giant melted lava lamp.

Thousands of Parisians bring blankets, low foldable chairs, beer, and their own weight in picnic food, ready to lie down on the grass and watch an outdoor film or two.

You can also rent a deckchair or blanket, but be careful if you do because you’ll identify yourself as an enormous sucker – forking out 8€ for each.

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Be Early: The Parc de la Vilette can get incredibly crowded.                  Photo: Arisa Zushi

Le Cinéma en Plein Air is now a staple of the Parisian summer, and it’s easy to see why.

It’s quite a surreal experience having overhead airplanes briefly interrupt a Jacky Chang fight scene, or be distracted from the dialogue by tiny bats and birds.Yes, it can be a terribly romantic first date spot, but it’s also an equally enjoyable place to hang out with your mates. Heck, you can even take your Mum.

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Simply find a spot, fling down your blanket and share a bottle of red.

What’s on?

See the latest program.

What makes the outdoor cinema great is that the movies are actually worth seeing, with most of the films screened in English, with French subtitles.

According to the France Tourism Board the aim of this “legendary Parisian event” is to “feature both lesser-known films and timeless classics”.

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A great line-up for films from crowd-pleasers to art house and classics. Photo: Gloria Q.

I guess they forgot to mention the array of Hollywood blockbusters I’ve seen there in recent years. I didn’t know Transformers was considered a timeless classic…

So matter what your cinematic taste, a night out under the stars should be a must on your Parisian bucket-list.

Location:
Main entrance at the Cité de Sciences et de L’Industrie,
30 rue Corentin-Cariou, 19th arrondissement.

Metro: Porte de la Villette (line 5) or Porte de Pantin (Line 7).

When: Held from July 24th through August 28th, weather permitting.

Check the official website for updates.

What’s on: See the latest program.

Photo source: Lavillette.com

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