For six months out of the year, my Paris neighborhood is a dud. During the warm months, though, I feel lucky to live in the 75019. That’s especially true now, and for the next four weeks, when I can walk across the street and flop down on the lawn to watch a film.

Cinéma en Plein Air runs from July 17-August 22 and is one of my favorite things about summer. Serious crowds arrive every Tuesday to Sunday night to watch a film on the giant blow-up screen. Screenings start late (at sundown, around 10:30pm), but many arrive early to share a bottle of rosé and to picnic on the lawn.

During these weeks, I find myself making huge batches of hummus and pasta salad so that there’s always something ready in the fridge. For those who don’t live and cook across the street, there’s a small Monop’ near the entrance to the park where you can buy cold bottles, a few prepared dishes, and bags of chips. The truly lazy can rely on a smattering of fast food options nearby – McDo, a few kebab trucks, and an outpost of Paul inside the park.

Admission is free, and a chair/blanket combo can be rented for €7 (or 5 for €20). If you plan to go often, it makes sense to get a Carte Villette (€16 for one person or €26 for two), which gives you two chairs/blankets for each screening, plus reduced price tickets for other shows at La Villette. Many, many people bring their own blankets and manage to spend nothing. One word of advice: dress warmly if you’re not planning to rent a blanket. However hot it may be during the day, the temperature drops in Paris at night. This chill works to the advantage of young lovers, many of whom share a single blanket and completely ignore the film.

One final bit of advice: these films start late and sometimes end after the last subway. The last Métro heads south from Porte de Pantin (line 5) around 1:45am on Friday & Saturday, and around 12:45am on all other nights. If your film ends at 12:30 on a weeknight, be ready to sprint out of the park and catch your train. Those who plan to take a taxi or Velib’ will also need to hurry in order to beat the other people who have the same bright idea.

Here’s what’s showing as part of the 2010 “Avoir 20 Ans” program:

  • Fri July 23: Conte d’été – Eric Rohmer – 1996 – 1h53 – France
  • Sat July 24: La Balade Sauvage – Terrence Malick – 1974 – 1h35 – USA
  • Sun July 25: Le Lauréat (The Graduate) – Mike Nichols – 1967 – 1h42 – USA
  • Tue July 27: Tan de repente – Diego Lerman – 2002 – 1h34 – France/Argentina
  • Wed July 28: Les Amants de la nuit – Nicholas Ray -1947 -1h35 – USA
  • Thu July 29: Cry Baby – John Waters – 1989 – 1h30- USA
  • Fri July 30: L’Auberge espagnole – Cédric Klapisch -2001 -2h00 – France
  • Sat July 31: Orange mécanique (Clockwork Orange) – Stanley Kubrick -1971 -2h16 – UK
  • Sun Aug 1:  Mauvais sang - Leos Carax -1986 – 2h05 – France
  • Tue Aug 3: La Cité de Dieu -Fernando Meirelles et Katia Lund -2001 – 2h15 – Brazil
  • Wed Aug 4: Les Vitelloni -Federico Fellini -1953 -1h43 – France/Italy
  • Thu Aug 5: Juno - Jason Reitman -2007 -1h31 -USA/Canada/Hungary
  • Fri Aug 6: C.R.A.Z.Y - Jean-Marc Vallée – 2005 – 2h07 – Canada
  • Sat Aug 7: Persepolis – Marjane Satrapi – 2007 – 1h35 – France
  • Sun Aug 8: Les Valseuses – Bertrand Blier -1974 -1h57 – France
  • Tue Aug 10: Simple Men -Hal Hartley -1992 -1h44 – UK/Italy/USA
  • Wed Aug 11: The Unbearable Lightness of Being – Philip Kaufman – 1988 – 2h51 – USA
  • Thu Aug 12: Kids return – Takeshi Kitano – 1996 – 1h47 – Japan
  • Fri Aug 13: Mystery Train - Jim Jarmusch -1989 -1h50 – USA
  • Sat Aug 14: Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona – Woody Allen – 2008 – 1h37 – USA
  • Sun Aug 15: La Fille à la valise - Valerio Zurlini – 1961 – 1h40 – Italy
  • Tue Aug 17: L’âge des possibles - Pascale Ferran -1995 – 1h45 – France
  • Wed Aug 18: Plaisirs inconnus – Jia Zhang Ke – 2002 – 1h53 – China
  • Thu Aug 19: Les Amours d’une blonde – Milos Forman – 1965 – 1h25 – Czechoslovakia
  • Fri Aug 20: L’Enfant – Luc et Jean-Pierre Dardennes – 2004 – 1h35 – France/Belgium
  • Sat Aug 21: My Own Private Idaho – Gus Van Sant – 1991 – 1h45 – USA
  • Sun Aug 22: Grease – Randal Kleiser – 1978 – 1h50 – USA

(All films are presented in their original language)

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2 Responses to Cinéma en Plein Air

  1. Karen says:

    What a great write up! I live in the 75019, too, and have wanted to go the past couple of summers, but we’ve been away for most of the screenings in past summers. This year, we’re in Paris the whole summer, and this seems like a fun and original thing to do. Thanks for sharing your tips and the film schedule, too. Nice work. :)

  2. Sarah says:

    We were there tues – saw andreia and bernhard, but it got super crowded and we didn’t go back to say hi to you all… we’re thinking of going sunday for the graduate…

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