You can go and see a play in Paris even when you don’t speak French. Many venues offer performances that or either in foreign languages or accessible to non-speaking French audiences; there are even plays with surtitles that enable foreign tourists to go to the theatre just like Parisians!
Many non-French speakers would like to attend a theatre performance in Paris … but the language barrier can cause quite a problem.
Two options are available for them: surtitling in English and performance in English. Packages adapted to foreign audiences – tourists, foreign residents, students … – staying in Paris, who are finally going to have the opportunity to fully enjoy a performance in a Parisian theatre!
Surtitled plays with Theatre in Paris
Theatres are one of the highlights of Parisian cultural life! These, often historic, venues offer a rich programme, so it would be a pity to miss out just because you don’t understand French.
THEATRE IN PARIS offers non-French-speaking visitors the opportunity to see performances in French with surtitles in English at several Parisian theatres (Théâtre du Ranelagh, Théâtre Edouard VII, Le Comedia, Théâtre Edgar, Salle Gaveau...). There is something for everyone: classical plays, contemporary comedies or musicals. A rare opportunity to break down the language barrier!
To ensure that the surtitles, shown in real time above the stage, can be easily viewed and read, Theatre in Paris reserves optimal seats for its clients. It also offers them a personalized welcome in English, in order to show them to their seats and present the play to them, and provides them with a programme in English.
More on Theatre in Paris
Theatres programming shows in foreign languages
Several Parisian theatres specialize in welcoming the non-French-speaking public. At the Odéon-Théâtre de l’Europe for example, the programme includes shows in foreign languages (Vietnamese, Russian, English ...) surtitled in French, but also performances of all kinds surtitled in English and French, and even in sign language.
The Théâtre Édouard VII whose programme is mainly devoted to contemporary French comedies, and the Théâtre Le Ranelagh, with its programme of classic plays for young and old offer performances with English surtitles thanks to THEATRE IN PARIS.
La Colline – national theatre and the Théâtre de l'Œuvre also offer a few plays in foreign languages.
Comedies in English
Comedies, shows with improvisation, and one-man & one-woman shows are not lacking in Paris! And just because you're not French doesn’t mean you can't go along and laugh with Parisians ... and even laugh at Parisians!
Shows like Olivier Giraud’s How to become Parisian in one hour and Julie Collas’ Oh my God she's Parisian! scrutinize the capital’s inhabitants.
These two shows entirely in English, but accessible to everyone, make gentle fun of Parisians and their habits.
How to become Parisian in one hour by Olivier Giraud
Théâtre des Nouveautés
7pm Thursday, Friday and Sunday. Saturday: 6pm.
Oh my God she's Parisian!
Théatre BO Saint-Martin
7pm Friday and Sunday
Hurry and take advantage of this great offer
The great classics in their original language
Classic musicals and major operatic works are usually played in their original language. A definite advantage for visitors speaking the language in which the show/opera has been written. So do plan a night out at the Théâtre Mogador to watch the hit musical Chicago, which opened at the theatre on 26 September 2018, or at the Folies Bergère to see the Fashion Freak Show. The Théâtre du Châtelet is currently undergoing major renovations, but will once again present a great selection of shows staged in their original language from autumn 2019.
Operas are always sung in the original languages at the Opéra Bastille and the Palais Garnier. So you can watch performances of Verdi’s La Traviata and Rossini’s Cenerentola in Italian (with French and English surtitles), Dvořák’s ‘Rusalka’ in the original Czech (with French and English surtitles) and Shostakovich’s ‘Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk’ in Russian (with French and English surtitles). The Opéra Comique is staging a surtitled production of the German opera Donnerstag aus Licht as well as ‘Ercole Amante’ in Italian with surtitles.