PARIS: While the cinema drive-in may have gotten a boost as lockdowns gradually come to an end amid the COVID-19 outbreak, in Paris film fans can now munch on their popcorn watching a movie from a boat on the river Seine.
As part of Paris Plages, the yearly transformation of sections of the Seine into man-made beaches, moviegoers on Saturday (Jul 18) were able to board 38 electric boats for a free showing of the 2018 French comedy “Le Grand Bain”.
“I really enjoy open-air cinema. It marks the beginning of the summer, and even if we already are in mid-July, for me it marks the beginning of the Parisian summer adventures,” said 25-year-old Eloise Blomme.
“I really enjoy the idea of the boats – associating the Seine with a movie on water, I didn’t want to miss this.”
Each boat can seat up to six people who know each other. Organisers hope to hold similar showings during the six-week Paris Plages festivities. Others watch from deck chairs as the screen floats over the Seine.
Cinemas have reopened in France, but occupancy levels remain very low. While the virus has been under control with fatalities and the number of people in intensive care falling, daily cases have increased ahead of the summer holiday season.
The disease has killed more than 30,000 people in France.
The artificial beaches on the banks of the Seine in central Paris and the Bassin de la Villette, a man-made lake in the northeast of the city, have been a roaring success since they were launched by Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe in 2002.
As well as sand and views of central Paris’ architecture, Paris Plage offers sporting opportunities such as fencing, giant table-football, and open-air gyms looking out over the Seine, although this year the tighter health restrictions have limited some of the activities.