A floating cinema of 38 Ruban Bleu electric boats from the fleet of Paris e-boat charter company Marin d’eau douce will be making history this Saturday when they create a floating social distancing cinema on the banks of the Seine in Paris.
The “Cinéma sur l’Eau” (cinema on the water) will launch the city’s ‘Paris Plages’ (Paris beaches) event where temporary urban beaches are installed each summer along the Seine and the nearby Bassin de la Villette artificial lake.
Floating cinema celebrates reopenings post-COVID
The floating cinema night is also an inventive and whimsical way to celebrate the reopening of regular cinemas after the shutdown necessitated by COVID-19. Sponsors are the City of Paris, Häagen-Dazs, and mk2, France’s chain of art-house movie theatres.
The main event for the evening on the water is the 2018 French comedy “Le Grand Bain” (known as ‘Sink or Swim in English), nominated in the Cesars, France’s national movie awards. It is a sort of ‘Full Monty’ type movie about a group of men who start a synchronized swimming team. Also on the ticket is a short film about COVID-19: ‘A Corona Story’ the winner of a film competition sponsored by mk2.
Here at Plugboats, of course, we’re less concerned about what is on the screen than we are about what is on the water.
Two of France’s electric boat leaders
Paris is joining Amsterdam and other cities in trying to stimulate and encourage more electric boats on its river and waterways. The hydrofoiling water taxi SeaBubbles completed a trial on the Seine last fall and was approved by the council to carry commuter traffic in spring of 2020. Presumably this has been delayed due to the coronavirus impact. Automaker Renault is working with Green-Vision of France on other e-boat initiatives.
For the floating cinema the electric boats are supplied by the Paris charter outfit Marin d’eau douce (freshwater sailor), whose fleet is manufactured by Ruban Bleu, Europe’s leading producer of licence-free electric boats.
Ruban Bleu has a wide range of boats for both private and commercial use, able to carry anywhere from 5 to as many as 30 passengers. At one end The Ace is 3.85m / 12.6ft with a 650w pod motor powered by a 12V battery. At the other end is the 8.5m / 28ft Navette with its twin 5kW / 48V motors. In the middle is The Scoop, able to carry 7 passengers and perfectly suited for boat hire companies like Marin D’eau Douce.
Marin d’eau douce was created in 2014 by two Parisian childhood friends – business adviser Nicolas Couderc and chef Olivier Doin – who were disappointed that the only way to tour the waterways of their native city was on huge boats built for mass tourism, some carrying hundreds of passengers.
Electric boats: perfect for safe social distancing
They researched their business by renting electric boats themselves in Amsterdam, and France’s Gorges du Verdon and Canal du Midi. This is where they discovered the Ruban Bleu line-up, and chose the company as their suppliers. They made their presentation to the city and Marin d’eau douce was granted permission to begin rentals along the Canal de l’Ourcq, on the 130 km (81 mi) Parisian canal network.
Their second location was opened in Bassin de la Villette, the location of the floating cinema and they now have outlets in other parts of France with bases in Meaux, Lille and Strasbourg.
The fleet of Ruban Bleu boats are perfect for a special night at the movies that still requires safe social distancing. As long as the moviegoers are from the same family, they can sit in groups of two, four, or six in the boats. And because no licence is required to operate the boats, anyone can attend.
The only catch is the number of tickets available. There is no charge, but the groups will be chosen via a lottery. Even better, they will also be served free Häagen-Dazs ice cream before boarding.