Cheap Summer Film Festivals in Paris

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Gaumont Champs-Elysees
Catch new releases in Paris for cheap during the Fête du Cinéma. Photo: Becky Lai.

If Hollywood is the movie-making capital of the world, Paris is the world’s mecca for cinéphiles. And while there are plenty of ways to save on big-screen entertainment all year round in Paris, summer is especially kind to film lovers, with a handful of annual events that exist for the sole purpose of making it cheaper to go to the movies.

Fête du Cinéma

Until July 3

The four-day Fête du Cinéma offers reduced priced admission on new releases in theaters around the city. This year’s 29th edition is an even better deal thanks to a new initiative that has all ticket prices at €3.50. (In previous years you had to buy one ticket at full price to get a discount.)

If you missed this year’s event, next year’s will start on the last Sunday of June and continue until the first Wednesday of July. Or if you’re planning to visit in the spring, catch sister festival Printemps du Cinéma, which has taken place every March since 2000.

Paris Cinema Closing 2011

Paris Cinéma president Charlotte Rampling and actor Vincent Cassel at the festival’s 2011 final showing. Photo: Yann Caradec.

Paris Cinéma

Until July 9

Paris Cinéma International Film Festival is a low-key, offbeat city-wide event that screens more than 300 films including international premieres, retrospectives and tributes, and hosts movie-themed outdoor and special events like a flea market selling movie-related collectibles on July 6 and 7 in front of MK2 Bibliothèque and “Saturday Night Fever”-themed karaoke.

All films are screened in their original versions, many with English subtitles. General admission is a budget-friendly €5.

Cinema en plein air Paris

Cinéma en plein air at the Parc de la Villette is a delightful—and Cheapo—way to spend a summer night in Paris. Photo: Fabrice Paulmier.

Cinéma en plein air

July 24-August 18

An outdoor event at the Parc de la Villette that has been a summer highlight for the last 23 years, Cinéma en plein air screens a selection of international films (all in their original versions, with subtitles) every night except Mondays and Tuesdays between July 24 and August 18 starting at nightfall.

It’s free if you want to just park yourself on the grass; to rent a lawn chair and a blanket is €7, or bring along some friends or family and get 5 lawn chairs/blankets for €20. The full program can be found here.

Cinema au clair de lune Paris

With showings in many beautiful settings, there’s hardly a better way to watch a movie than au clair de lune. Photo: gmangeret.

Cinéma au clair de lune

August 1-11

Watching classic movies shot in Paris under the moonlight in movie-set-worthy Parisian settings like the Place des Vosges, the foot of the Butte Montmartre, the Jardins du Trocadéro or the Esplanade des Invalides is a surreal, romantic summer in Paris experience. The 13th edition of the Cinéma au clair de lune, presented by the Forum des Images, is a surefire antidote to the dog days of Paris in August.

Free admission, no reservations and a limited number of complimentary chairs means that it’s a good idea to get there early, and BYOB (booze and blanket). Screenings may be canceled due to rain. For details on films and screening times, go here.

About the author

Kristin Hohenadel

Kristin Hohenadel is a writer and editor who lives in Paris.

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