Visitors often ask me about things to do in Paris in the evenings. What can one do without understanding French? Catch a concert? Go for dinner? I’ve been so pleased to keep learning about other entertainment options for non-French speakers in Paris, like Theatre in Paris. This unique concept offers the opportunity to attend French-speaking plays with simultaneous English surtitles. No need to brush up on your grammar and vocab in advance, they can make even Molière accessible! Read on to learn more and for your chance to win two free tickets (note: giveaway is over).
Paris is actually one of the leading theatre cities in the world, after New York and London. I love the theatre and while I’m fluent in French, I don’t go out to plays nearly often enough. Maybe I’ll start going more with Theatre in Paris? Why not make the experience a little easier for those who have a reasonable level of French (what did Cyrano de Bergerac just say??) or completely accessible for non-French speakers.
Started in 2014, Theatre in Paris has been growing every season and now you can attend several different monthly shows, from the classics to contemporary musicals, with English surtitles in real-time (projected above the stage and not below). Not only do have a great selection of plays and musicals, all the theatres have an intriguing history. You might get the chance to attend a show in a listed historical monument commissioned by Queen Marie-Antoinette, a glamorous old Parisian ‘café théâtre’, or an intimate, oak-panelled neighborhood theatre. This unique aspect definitely enhances the experience, especially if you are in town on holiday, making it an authentic Parisian night out.
What’s more, a representative of Theatre in Paris is present at each performance and leads a welcome discussion prior to all Theatre in Paris ticket holders. They also guarantees seats with the most comfortable view both of the stage and the ‘surtitles’, as well as oversees the sale of tickets to individuals and groups.
I was fortunate to attend a recent performance of the French 17th-century classic, Le Cid, by Pierre Corneille. Making my way over to the 16th arrondissement, I discovered the magical Theatre le Ranelagh. It was formerly the private theatre of a palace which once stood on the site. The interior is gorgeous, the walls are covered in wood panelling and carved decoration, the seats are blush red velour. The lovely Theatre in Paris representative gave us a special program in English and let us informed us about the intro chat during which she gave us an overview of the history of the theatre and some additional information about the play and this particular theatre troupe.
Settled into our balcony seats, we were treated to an action-packed contemprary interpretation of the intense and turbulent love story between the heroic Don Rodrigue and the strong-willed Chimène. Complete with stage fighting and to the backdrop of live music from the époque, we were enrapture. Now and then I relied on the surtitles to see exactly what passionate declarations Don Rodrigue was making to his amoureux, but these wouldn’t at all be a distraction if you were attending with your own chéri francais. Time flew past and we didn’t notice the long length of this epic play.
Le Cid is playing until January 17th, 2016. Theatre in English’s program currently includes around six different plays with several performances per week, including Cyrano De Bergerac, Oliver Twist and Summer 44 (the first musical about D-Day).
If you would like to attend one of these shows… for free (valid until 31 April 2017, not including the 24th/31st December), participate in our easy contest as follows:
- Like the Facebook page of BOTH Je T’Aime, Me Neither AND Theatre in English
- Like the Facebook post about this article and contest shared on the Je T’Aime, Me Neither page
- Get entered in the draw twice by sharing the post as well!
You have until Wednesday November 16th, then we’re drawing the name of the lucky winner.
Alternatively, you can see Theatre in Paris’ full program and purchase tickets here. Or feel free to reach there by phone or email below:
+33 1 85 08 66 89