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
Other shows in a similar vein take place throughout the year in the capital, like the one-man show of English comedian Paul Taylor #franglais (half in English half in French) or stand-up shows presented during the One Night Stand evenings.
Showtime in Paris
For 2 weeks in autumn, ‘Showtime in Paris’ offers visitors one free place to see a show for every ticket purchased! This special event offers a wide choice of shows, all accessible to French speakers and non-French speakers. Discover performances of music, dance, theatre, circus, cabaret and humour at the most famous performing arts venues in Paris: Bobino, Crazy Horse, Cirque d’hiver, the Lido, Moulin Rouge, Philharmonie de Paris, Opéra-Comique, etc.
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. Also, don’t hesitate to go and see a show at the Grand Palais or the Théâtre Mogador which will be showing respectively Singin' in the Rain from 28 November to 11 January 2018 and Grease until 8 July 2018. Currently closed for renovation and refurbishment, the Théâtre du Châtelet will also offer you a range of shows in their original languages.
At the Opéra Bastille and the Palais Garnier opera houses, operas are played in their original language. So you can for example easily attend Puccini's La Bohème in Italian (with surtitles in French and English) or Janacek’s From the House of the Dead in Czech (with surtitles in French and English).