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Movies Under the Stars

Tory Hoen

The annual Cinéma en Plein Air (Open Air Cinema) festival at Paris’ Park de la Villette provides Parisians (and visiting film lovers) with the perfect opportunity to spend their evenings lounging beneath the glow of the silver screen. (As if Parisians needed another excuse to loiter outside!) During the festival, film fans flock to the park to stake out a spot, throw down their picnic blankets, and spend their evenings partaking in this low-key community event. What better way to celebrate summer and Paris' enduring love affair with cinema?

Movies Under the Stars

Photo courtesy of www.benjerry.fr

A different film is shown every night (except Mondays) at around 9:00pm, or whenever night falls, on a large outdoor screen located in the Prairie du Triangle (Metro: Porte de Pantin, Line 5). All films are screened in their original languages with subtitles. 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.

And what’s better than enjoying a cinematic masterpiece beneath the Parisian night sky? Doing it for free! The festival's screenings are 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.

Paris' much-loved open air film festival runs from July 15-August 16, 2009. Free and open to the public.

The theme for the 2009 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. This year's festival kicked off 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.

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. Don't forget extra layers and blankets, as it can get quite chilly late in the evening!

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

This article was also published on The HiP Paris Blog.

Tory, a Paris blogger amongst many other talents, divides her time between New York, Paris and Montreal as she works for Haven in Paris, a boutique vacation rental agency with properties in Paris, Provence and Tuscany. Slow Travel Classified.

© Tory Hoen, 2009

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