How to have a virtual night out in France during lockdown

How to have a virtual night out in France during lockdown
There's more to an online social life than just drinking. Photo: AFP
From ballet to theatre to music to drinks with friends - social life in France has gone online during lockdown - here's what's on.

With the population of France on lockdown until – at least – April 15th, nights out socialising are off the table for the foreseeable future.

And while hunkering down with Netflix and a few good books is fun for a while, what happens when you start to need some social interaction?

Well this is where virtual nights out come in.

You can experience the timeless magic of Swan Lake from your home. Photo: AFP

We've already mentioned apéro Skype – the ever popular French pre-dinner drinks ritual which is now being undertaken with the aid of Skype, Zoom, Houseparty or the online platform of your choice to bring friends together for a drink and a chat.

Depending on where you live there is also balcony soirée on Fridays – in some city centre streets neighbours are staging Friday evening street parties with everyone out on the balcony.

But there's also some more cultural offerings available which can keep you entertained and, crucially, help you take part in a communal experience to relieve the loneliness of lockdown.

Here's our pick of some of the upcoming offerings.

A trip to the ballet

The Paris Opéra has of course had to cancel all its live ballet and opera performances for the next few months. However that doesn't mean you have to go without your fix of culture – the company is offering filmed versions of its live performances to view online. The first one is the ballet Swan Lake, which will be available here from 7.30pm on Monday, March 30th until April 5th.

Symphony night

The Orchestre national de France has not let lockdown stop them performing together and has been performing music with each musician playing from their own home and uploading the results to YouTube – works as either a soothing background soundtrack if you're working from home or as something to settle down and watch – seeing dozens of musicians all playing their hearts out in their homes is pretty special.

British actor James Cordon is treading the boards in London. Photo: AFP

Take in a play

If your French isn't quite up to plays in French, there are English options too. The National Theatre in the UK is offering a free live-streamed play every week while they are closed due to the lockdown.

New plays go live here every Thursday at 7pm UK time – this week's is One Man, Two Guvnors, starring James Corden. Get dressed up and have a choc ice in the freezer for the interval – it makes it more fun.

Gigs online

Many artists whose gigs have been cancelled for the foreseeable future have been staging their own online mini gigs, so check out your favourite artist's social media channels for a bit of bonus material.

And if you happen to live in Mulhouse in eastern France, a member of the Mulhouse Symphony Orchestra is performing on her balcony every day to support healthcare workers.

Relive the madness of Eurovision contests gone by. Photo: AFP


OK this one is quite niche, but if you love Eurovision, are on Twitter and have Saturday night free then this one is for you. 

Devastated at the news that the 2020 contest was cancelled, one Eurovision superfan has created a Twitter group and every Saturday provides a link to a Eurovision finale from a vintage year, while the Twitter group comments along. A lot of fun if you're a fan of the annual cheese-fest.

Check out @EurovisionAgain for more details – last Saturday #EurovisionAgain was trending which proves that either there are a lot of Eurovision fans out there, or people are really quite bored by this stage of lockdown.

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