There are plenty of places to watch films for free in Paris.
Every summer, the Cinéma en Plein Air festival screens films free of cost in the Parc de La Villette, France’s biggest open-air cinema. The programme features everything from classics to Hollywood blockbusters, French comedies and short films by upcoming directors, which are all screened after sunset.
In the 11th arrondissement, La Chaise et L’Ecran is a festival devoted each year to a different director. They pick five of their films to be shown in summer on a screen installed in a neighborhood square. Of note: most French films have English subtitles. The Silhouette festival, held from end-August to early September every year in the Butte du Chapeau Rouge square in the 19th arrondissement and other places, screens short films.
You can rent deckchairs and blankets on site for a more comfortable screening, and audiences are invited to bring a picnic and enjoy it before the screening begins. It is the perfect activity to pass these hot summer days in nature while also respecting social distancing.
After the Villette, the Château de Vincennes and the Champs-Élysées, the Moulin Rouge finally hosted its open-air cinema last year. On the rooftop where the Bubble Bar is nestled, Parisians could see classics for three months along with some treasures of indie cinema. A selection was also carefully cultivated to give recognition to gender equality (as many female directors were honored). Good news, this one-of-a-kind outdoor cinema is now back in service this summer. On the program, 10 indie films made by five women and five men will be broadcast at dusk each Wednesday evenings from July 8 to September 10. All for free.