Cinema Under the Stars – Free Cinema at la Villette – en plein air

by Tory Hoen


Now that summer is in full swing, Parisians will seek out any excuse to loiter outside for as long as possible. Luckily, the Cinéma en Plein Air festival at the Park de la Villette gives them an excuse to do just that! Back for its 19th year, the film series runs from July 15th-August 16th and features a different film every night (except Mondays) at approx. 9:00pm (or whenever night falls) on a large outdoor screen located in the Prairie du Triangle (Metro: Porte de Pantin, Line 5). The vast lawn provides ample space for film-goers to stake out a spot, throw down their picnic blankets, and spend the evening lounging beneath the glow of the silver screen. The theme for this year’s festival is traversées, or crossings, and each film in the series will explore the significance of a journey — literal, metaphorical, or otherwise — and the process of discovery.

And what’s better than enjoying a cinematic masterpiece beneath the Parisian night sky? Doing it for free. While last year’s visitors were charged admission to the screenings (for the first time in the festival’s history), this year’s screenings are once again entirely free and open to the public in the name of “democratizing access to culture,” according to Jacques Martial, President of Parc de la Villette. Oh, France! Always outdoing itself in the name of cultural enhancement.


Photo courtesy of

The festival launches on July 15th with a screening of Terrence Malick’s The New World. The month-long program includes a vast array of films from various countries and eras, including Antonioni’s Profession: Reporter, David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive, Rachid Bouchareb’s Little Senegal, and of course, Pirates of the Caribbean. The festival culminates on August 16th with a screening of Werner Herzog’s bafflingly entertaining epic, Fitzcarraldo. All films are screened in their original languages with subtitles.

So grab your friends, a picnic dinner for before the show, a blanket to spread out on, a bottle of wine, and head up to Parc de la Villette to make the most of summer in Paris. For those who want to splurge, lawn chairs are available for a fee (6,50 € for adults, 4 € for under 16, 20 € for five chairs). Parking for bikes and scooters is free. Don’t forget extra layers and blankets, as it can get quite chilly late in the evening!

In case of rain, consult or call 01 40 03 75 75 to verify whether screenings are happening.

For more information and the festival’s full program, click here.

To access la Villette’s Facebook page, click here.

Looking for a place to stay? Check out Haven in Paris’ exquisite range of vacation rentals by clicking here.

Written By

Tory Hoen

Tory Henwood Hoen is a former Paris resident who now lives in Brooklyn. Her debut novel, The Arc, is available in bookshops near you and online View Tory Hoen's Website

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