Going to the cinema in Paris when you don’t speak French

Yes, you can go and see a film in Paris without knowing any French!

Art house cinemas, multiplex cinemas, festivals … there is a wide choice for non-French speakers. Going to the cinema is a favourite activity of Parisians. Cinema goers are more numerous in France than in all other European countries. So for a typically-Parisian evening out, go and see a film in one of the capital’s cinemas … even if you are not a French speaker.

Films in their original language version throughout Paris

Almost all multiplex cinemas and independent cinema houses show international films from all around the world in their original version subtitled in French. It has become the norm in Paris in recent years. To find them in a listing, look for’ VOST’ (‘Version original Sub-Titled’) then choose from the huge number of cinemas in the city.

French films subtitled in English withLostinfrenchlation

Good news for fans of French films! The company Lostinfrenchlation offers a unique experience to non-French speakers: the opportunity to see a French film with English subtitles in a typically-Parisian art house cinema (L'Arlequin - Dulac CinémaLuminor Hôtel de VilleL'EntrepôtCinéma du Panthéon).

The films shown have just recently come out, and, depending on the programme, speakers come to talk about the film, in English, after it has been screened. Before each screening, a themed cocktail event is also proposed within the cinema.

> More information : Lost in Frenchlation

Films shown in original version and retrospectives at the Cinémathèque Française

Located in the 12th arrondissement, the Cinémathèque Française is a must for all cinephiles. The film centre organizes retrospectives devoted to directors or specific themes: genre films, art house films, great classics ...  the programming is eclectic and appeals to a wide public.


Festival de cinéma en plein air au Parc de la Villette

Paris has lots of cinema festivals. These highly-popular events are an opportunity for viewers to get a preview of all types of films from different places. Major events include:

The Semaine des Cinémas Etrangers’ (‘Foreign film week’): Every year in March, the ‘foreign cultural Institute forum’ organizes the ‘Semaine des Cinémas Etrangers’. More than 20 documentaries or fiction films, mostly unseen in France, are gathered around a theme and shown in their original language at various cultural institutions in Paris. An event that promises many discoveries

> More information: Ficep

Champs Elysées Film festival: Organized every year in June, this festival seeks to present the best French and American independent films. French films are subtitled in English and American films subtitled in French.

Festival de Cinéma en Plein Air de la Villette: Every summer, for 2 months, the Parc de La Villette screens free films outdoors. Spectators sit in deckchairs or on the grass. A single theme, some twenty films (all in VOST) and a friendly atmosphere: a winning formula that attracts Parisians and visitors.> More information

La Chaise et l’Ecran: Another outdoor festival, La Chaise et l’Ecran takes place at different locations in the 11th arrondissement of Paris. At this festival, French films are mainly subtitled in English but some film screenings are accompanied by Lost in Frenchlation.> More information

The list of Parisian film festivals is a long one! Whether it consists of events devoted to a specific genre

(Paris International Fantastic Film Festival, Mobile Film Festival, the Etrange Festival, Cinéma du Réel, Paris Short Film Festival…), a theme (Festival international des films des droits de l’homme, Cineffable, Chéries-Chéris…) or a country (Festival du Film Coréen à Paris, Festival du cinéma japonais contemporain Kinotayo…), they are – unless indicated – accessible to non-French speakers, notably because they are screened in VO (Original version)

A wealth of opportunities to see films from France and elsewhere.