Let us help you find the best English movie theatres in France. We discovered that it was not particularly difficult but a little more difficult than we anticipated. After a long day of travelling in Paris this past spring, we decided to see a movie. We discovered the film listings on Periscope but were surprised to find some difficulty interpreting and understanding the movie listings across the city’s numerous cinemas. What’s the distinction between v.o. and v.f. films? What exactly does sf Lun mean? How can you know if you are seeing the latest version of the film and not an older one?

We couldn’t find any online English resources good enough to help us interpret the movie listings at the time, so we thought we would share our experience and tips here for others who might be looking to watch a movie in Paris or anywhere in France. This post should help you decipher many of the abbreviations found in movie listings, both print and online. There is a mention of the best English movie theatres that Paris and Nice offer.

Where Can I Find English-Speaking Movies In Paris?

So you’re in Paris and want to see a movie. Maybe you haven’t mastered French yet or just wish to sit back, relax, and watch a movie in your native English. But, since this is France, where can I find English-language movies in Paris? Is this even possible? The short answer is yes; plenty of English-language films are in the city of lights!

Parisian cinemas can certainly provide an escape from the French language; you just have to know where to look. You’re very fortunate that the locals adore American and British films! Here’s a quick guide to finding English-language movies in Paris!

Finding English-Speaking Movies In Paris: The Basics

So you’re off to discover some English-speaking moves in Paris! However, there are certain things you should be aware of. To begin with, there are two types of films shown in French cinemas: French dubbed versions and original versions (in whatever language that may be).

The French dub version is designated as VF, or version Française. Similarly, films in their native language are referred to as VO, or version originale. At the cinema or online, the version type is mentioned next to the movie title. Also, the writing may be small, so examine it carefully. If you have any questions, please ask.

Furthermore, the original versions will almost certainly have French subtitles, so this is an excellent opportunity to practise your language skills!

Where Can I See English-Language Films In Paris?

Finding English-language films in Paris a few years ago was much more difficult. However, thanks to the growing international community here, it is now quite simple.

When it comes to finding an English-speaking movie in Paris, there are two options. You can choose between large cinemas with multiple showings at once (Gaumont, UGC, etc.) and independent cinemas. The largest cinemas are located around Montparnasse, including Odéon and Les Gobelins. The independent cinemas are dispersed throughout the city, but more on that later.

To find English-speaking movies in Paris, you should know that there are many cinemas that broadcast English-speaking movies in Paris because Parisians enjoy reading subtitles! It’s one of the best ways for us to learn another language.

Every English movie with subtitles will be labelled as “VOSTFR”, which means “original version with French subtitles”. So, if the film is in English, it will be in English. If it’s a Spanish film, it’ll be in Spanish! Because children cannot read subtitles and because most people go to the movies during the day, those films are usually shown in the evening.

Independent Cinemas In Paris

English-language films are also available at Paris’ independent cinemas. Going to independent cinemas, on the other hand, is a unique experience, in my opinion! The independent cinemas are historically significant and often decadently decorated for a true Parisian cinema experience.

Studio 28 in Montmartre, for example, opened its doors in 1928. It has been broadcasting the greatest cinema classics (and new hits) ever since! If you enjoy watching movies, you must see one at an independent cinema in Paris. Movies are always shown in their original version at independent cinemas, which are much more cosy and romantic than large cinemas like MK2, Gaumont, or UGC. Independent cinemas will provide the most charming and incredible cinema experience!

“VOSTFR” films can also be found in independent cinemas such as Studio 28 in the Montmartre neighbourhood and Le Champo in the Latin Quarter.

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How To Find The Closest Cinemas: Allociné

As you might expect, there are many cinemas in Paris! But how do you locate the one nearest to you? I highly recommend the website or mobile app Allociné if you want to know how and where to find the closest “VOSTFR” movies.

This cinema app will show you all the cinemas in your area as well as directions to them. And you will be able to see right away if the movies are labelled “VOSTFR”, meaning “original version with French subtitles”. You can also buy movie tickets in advance using this website or app. What a time saver!

How To Use Allociné: Quick Tips For The English-Speaker

The Allociné website and mobile app are straightforward but only available in French. So, here are a few pointers to help you get started:

To properly locate the nearest cinemas showing English-language films via the website, enter the postal code for the “arrondissement” (ex:75001) you are currently in. Then you’ll see a list of cinemas in your area. You need to click on the cinema you want to visit, and the website will show you a list of the currently playing movies and their time schedule. And don’t worry, you’ll be able to tell whether the movies are in English or not!

Click on “à proximité” for the Allociné app version, and it works the same way. Keep in mind that the movie may be labelled “VO” rather than “VOSTFR” at times, but it is the same thing!

Go See An English-Speaking Movie In Paris!

So, now you are all set on where to look for English-speaking movies in Paris! So, what are you holding out for? Visit one!

Of course, we think French is a wonderful language and one of the most sensual in the world! If you want to go to the movies during your stay in Paris, it’s best if you understand what the characters are saying. Plus, it’s sometimes more enjoyable to watch a movie in your native language.

Locals adore the arts and culture, and going to the movies is a staple of the Parisian way of life. So going to see a movie here is a great way to become more Parisian. Among many, the best thing to do while living in Paris is to see a classic film in a Parisian cinema! So, I hope you enjoyed reading this article about where to find English-language movies in Paris and that it was useful to you during your travels.

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English Language Cinemas In Nice

Nice has six theatres regularly showing films in the English language.

The Mercury Cinema  

This cinema is the oldest cinema in Nice (1911). Mercury is also the quirkiest. This art-house cinema is tucked in the corner of Place Garibaldi (also called tram stop Garibaldi. It features a wide range of indie, documentary, cult, foreign, and just genuinely eclectic programming on three screens, all in the original language. Around 35 films are shown on a rotating schedule each week, meaning each film is only shown a few times per week, so check the schedule. The shows begin on time, with no previews or advertisements, so be on time! Tickets are 8€, but on Cheap Movie Mondays, they are only 6.50€ for students, seniors over 60, and everyone else. Because this theatre is surrounded by bars and restaurants, there are plenty of options for after-movie entertainment.

The Cinémathèque

In an era of shrinking screens and rising ticket prices, the Cinémathèque defies convention by showing big classic films on the massive screens they were designed for. And, best of all, the ticket prices are retro: 3€ gets you a yearly membership, then each movie ticket is only 3€ (or 2.50 €/show if you purchase a card for five screenings! ), or 2€ applicable for students and children under 18. The films are selected based on a variety of monthly themes, which can include classics, genres, countries, topics, or specific directors or actors. The films are shown on a rotating monthly schedule and are usually only shown 1-3 times before disappearing. The Cinémathèque is situated in the Acropolis complex (it is conveniently next to the bowling alley for all the retro fun!), tram stop Acropolis.

The Rialto Cinema 

This cinema shows first-run films as well as independent, documentary, and art house films in their native language. They always run a 10-minute trailer, so don’t be concerned if you arrive late. Tickets are 8.50€, but on Cheap Movie Mondays, they are only 7€ for students, seniors over 60, and everyone else. The day’s first show is only 6€ (or 60€ if you buy a 10-film card), and children under 14 are 4.50€. You can reserve and purchase tickets directly through their website, which is far faster and easier to use than the AlloCine website. The Rialto is located just ahead on the street behind the Hotel Negresco (it is right next to one of Nice’s best coffee shops, Café Frei); tram stop Alsace Lorraine is a 10-minute walk away. Alternatively, during the day, take the new free city shuttle bus, also known as Coeur de Nice Navette, to Gambetta/Promenade for a 5-minute walk; it runs every 15 minutes until 5:30 pm, 5 pm on Sundays.

The crowded downtown Nice multiplexes usually show Hollywood blockbusters dubbed in French, but they are now showing an increasing number of their films in the original language. So, you have to just look for the VO mention after the title. Remember, VO = version original. So, these multiplexes are frequently crowded, and ticket lines can be lengthy (it is best to purchase online with the AlloCine app or website). There are always 10-20 minutes of advertisements and trailers in these mainstream cinemas, so don’t worry if you’re running late.

Cinema Variétés Multiplex

This multiplex is located at 5 Boulevard Victor Hugo, directly across from the tramway line 2 of the Jean Médecin tram stop. Tickets cost 9-9.50€ but are 7€ for students under the age of 18, seniors above 60, and everyone on Cheap Movie Mondays and weekdays before 6:30 pm. Kids under 14 are admitted for 4.50€, and the first film of the day is only 6€ for everyone. The 6€ rate is also available if you purchase a ten-film card for 60€.

Pathé Massena Multiplex 

This multiplex is directly across from the tramway line 1 of the Jean Médecin tram stop and the Nice Etoile shopping mall. Tickets are 14€, but students (10.40€), seniors over 65 (10.40€), and children under 14 are only 6.50€. You can search for films in English on the website.

Pathé Gare de Sud Multiplex

This multiplex is located at the Liberation tram stop, next to the massive Gare de Sud food court. It has live music and happenings on the terraces outside. Tickets are 14€ here, but students (10.40€), seniors over 65 (10.40€), and children under 14 are only 6.50€. You can search for films in English on the website.

With the AlloCine app or website, you can see everything playing in Nice at once and buy your tickets online (saving tons of time, especially if going to one of the downtown multiplexes).

Here are a couple of other points to consider:

  • All movie listings change on Wednesdays.
  • All French movie theatres abruptly turn up the house lights the moment the credits begin to roll, so have kleenex handy to wipe the mascara from your cheeks!

Going To The Movies In English For France

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Step 1: Choose A Resource To Find Out What Movies Are Playing

You can check online websites, a local newspaper, or a magazine, depending on where you are in France. For movie listings and information on what’s going on in the city, we highly recommend the Time Out Paris website (in French and English).

Note: We used a Pariscope magazine for this example, but it should work with any type of cinema listing, whether online or in print. The weekly magazine Pariscope, which was once the go-to guide for entertainment in Paris, ceased publication in October 2016. Pariscope still has a website, but it no longer appears to report cinema listings.

Our Knowledge: So we went to a Marais bookstore and bought a copy of Pariscope (0,50 euros) to get the movie and cinema listings.

Step 2: Find Out Where The Movie Is Playing

In Pariscope, open the Cinema section and look for the films nouveau (new films) section, which will highlight all of the newer movies. Les Autres (other films) section will highlight films that have been available to watch for a while and repeat older movies and classic films. Following each film description will be a list of all local theatres that are showing that film. Caution: If an old version of the film you wish to see exists, check to see if it is also showing in town so you can see the correct version.

Our Experience: We knew we wanted to watch The Great Gatsby (2013), which had just been released (for some odd reason, it is mentioned as being released in 2012 in Pariscope despite being released in 2013). We discovered it in the “Autres films” section of our Pariscope. We also noticed that it was titled Gatsby le Magnifique in French and played in several movie theatres throughout Paris.

We were surprised to see Gatsby le Magnifique mentioned under “reprises,” as the 1974 version of the film was still playing in a few theatres. This was done to deceive us! So keep in mind that prior versions of a film (if those versions exist) may also be playing. We found it nearly impossible to tell the difference between the old and new versions by scanning individual cinema listings, so check the film listings first and then cross-check which movie theatres are showing which version. In most cases, a theatre will not show both versions, though this is possible.

Step 3: Determine The Type And Version Of The Film You Wish To See (If You Have Choices)

This is probably the most perplexing part, as there are numerous abbreviations used in French movie listings. However, you can choose whether to see the film dubbed in French or in the original language with French subtitles and whether to see it in 3D or not. If you live in a medium to large town and want to see an international film (not made in France), there will surely be at least one theatre nearby that shows it in v.o. and one that shows it in v.f.

Some terms to be aware of:

  • En 3D = The film is shown in 3D (three-dimensional)
  • Projection numĂ©rique = a digital display (usually meant to denote it is not in 3D)
  • lunettes 3D = 3D glasses
  • Version restaurĂ©e = version restored (good sign it is an older movie)
  • v.f. or version française = The French version has been dubbed.
  • v.o. or VOSTF or version originale or version originale sous-titrĂ©e en français = the original version NOT dubbed in French (in the original film language, which could be English, German, Hindi, etc.) but with French subtitles
  • Special Note: A movie listing that does not have v.f. or v.o. after it usually indicates that it is an actual French film that is shown in French with no subtitles.

Our Experience: If, like us, you don’t know enough French to understand a movie in French, you should avoid anything marked with “v.f.” because it will be entirely dubbed in French. If you’re looking for something that isn’t in French, such as an English-language film, search for a film that is marked with v.o. and was shot in English, such as a British film or American. English-language films are very easy to find in France, as many of the movies/films in any given big cinema are American. So, while watching a non-dubbed original version (v.o.) of Gatsby le Magnifique, the film was in its original English with French subtitles throughout. We didn’t want to see the movie in 3D, so we avoided listings that said “en 3D”. It should be noted that there are usually additional charges for 3D films, as in the United States.

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Step 4: Pick A Cinema And Movie Time

Once you’ve decided on the film and preferred version, you can look up nearby theatres and movie times. The address of the theatre, movie times, prices, and so on are usually fairly obvious.

Some useful abbreviations to know are:

  • sĂ©ances = movie times/dates
  • sf or sauf = except (e.g. sf Dim et fĂŞtes = except on Sundays and holidays)
  • tlj or tous le jours = daily or everyday
  • fĂŞte = festival or holiday
  • PL -or- plein Tarif = normal ticket price
  • TR -or- Tarif rĂ©duit = reduced ticket price (such as for students, children, seniors)

Our Experience: Because we were in the 6th arrondissement of Paris, we looked up movie theatres in the area. The Pariscope’s organisation of theatre listings by area was very helpful. We then noticed that several cinemas in the 6e Odéon district were showing this film. This satisfied all of our requirements. Perfect!

Final Thoughts On Going To The Movies In France

We had just arrived in Paris after a long train ride from Switzerland, and a quiet evening watching a movie was what we needed on that particular day. This was our first trip to a movie theatre outside of the United States. We noticed that the theatre we went to was quite small, and we were not allowed to hang out in the lobby or enter the actual theatre until 15 minutes before our show time. We arrived about 30 minutes early and purchased our tickets, but we had to wait outside, which would normally be fine, except it was raining.

Otherwise, the experience was similar to others we’ve had across the country. While watching a French film would have been nice, we would have needed English subtitles to fully enjoy it, especially given how tired we were that evening. However, it seemed like a good fit because I associate F. Scott Fitzgerald (the author of The Great Gatsby) with his time in Paris.

We hope this little guide is useful to anyone else who is trying to decipher French movie listings! Have you seen any movies in France? Any recommendations for going to the movies in Paris?

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Watch Movies In English In France?

If you’re looking for something that isn’t in French, such as an English language film, look for a film that is marked with “v.o.” and was shot in English, such as in an American or British film. English-language films are very easy to find in France, as many of the films in any given large cinema are American.

Does Paris Show Movies In English?

Movies in English are also available at independent movie theatres, such as Studio 28 and Le Champo. Check out the Cinémathèque Française for a larger selection, and during the summer, head to the Parc de la Villette for VOSTFR outdoor movie screenings.

Can I Go To France Only Speaking English?

You can speak English in France and get by almost every time. You will have an easier time in cities and with younger generations in general. However, speaking English will harm your relationship with the locals. Don’t expect to make many friends unless you try to speak French.

Can You Go To Paris Only Speaking English?

While speaking English in Paris is not considered impolite, expecting every French person to speak French is. To avoid a cold reaction from the other party, always begin the conversation with a simple sentence in French.

Are Films In French Cinemas Dubbed?

Many cinemas in France show both original language versions with French subtitles and French dubbed versions of films. The trick is knowing which screenings are which requires looking at cinema listings online or in the local press.