Given that, thanks to the Lumière brothers, Lyon is the birthplace of cinema, visitors to the city may be inspired to see a film while here. Should one have the opportunity, attending one of Lyon’s outdoor public cinemas is perhaps the optimum way of doing so. The two best established outdoor cinemas are the Cinéma sous les Étoiles which takes place during summer months on Place des remparts d’Ainay in the 2nd arrondissement, and L’été en Cinémascope on Place Ambroise Courtois in the 8th.

Both are in public squares and entry is free. Some seating is provided but it is limited. Regular attendees will turn up with small camping or fold-up chairs, others may sit on picnic blankets closer to the screen or stand for the duration of the film.

Before attending the outdoor cinema…


Cinéma sous les Étoiles and L’été en Cinémascope both tend to show classic and contemporary films in their original language, e.g. a Hollywood film would normally be screened in English with French subtitles. To be sure that the film will be in a language that you understand, look out for the letters VO and VF in the film schedule. They usually appear in brackets after the name of the film. VO means version originale, i.e. the original version of the picture (sometimes this appears as VOSTFR for version originale sous-titrée en français, original version with French subtitles). The same applies to other languages; i.e. films originally in Japanese or Spanish for example, will likely be projected in their original language and subtitled in French at either of the outdoor summer cinemas. 

A film that does not feature VO or VF after its listing on the schedule normally indicates that it is a French movie and is screened in French without subtitles.

Film titles

Be aware that the titles of foreign movies can vary greatly in France. Many films will be referred to by the original name, no matter what language that may be. Some are translated literally into French. The last category can be more confusing however; sometimes film titles, instead of being translated directly into the French equivalents, are given simpler English names so that they are more accessible to French audiences. If the title is one that you do not recognise, you may wish to enter it into Google in order to figure it out!

The Weather

The weather in Lyon is usually hot and dry throughout the summer months but be wary of summer storms. Thankfully it doesn’t happen too often, but the disappointment of attendees in either Place des remparts d’Ainay or Place Ambroise Courtois when those first drops begin to fall is palpable! The squares tend to clear out in record time should a heavy shower arrive.

Cinéma sous les Étoiles

A festival which takes place annually in mid-July, the association Quartier Libre provides screenings of both feature-length and short films in a friendly and sociable atmosphere in the beautiful Place des remparts d’Ainay, by the historic Basilique Saint-Martin d’Ainay.

  • Programme and Schedule: 
  • Address: Place des remparts d’Ainay, 69002 Lyon
  • Transport: Metro (line A) station Ampère-Victor Hugo, Buses C20, C20E and 31 stop at Franklin Joffre, Tramway lines T1 and T2 stop at Gare de Perrache.
  • Entry tariff: Free

L’été en Cinémascope

From late June to late August, public screenings of classic, contemporary and international films are open to all on the fitting location of Place Ambroise Courtois, just in front of the Institut Lumière.