Paris cinema apologises after customers complain of bedbug infestation

The Local France
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Paris cinema apologises after customers complain of bedbug infestation
A member of staff vacuums the stairs of a movie theatre at cinema in Paris (Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP)

A popular French cinema chain has issued an apology after customers in Paris were bitten by bedbugs while watching movies.


In some Paris cinemas, the horror has happened off-screen.

The UGC Bercy cinema in Paris has apologised after cinema-goers took to social media to complain about being bitten by bedbugs while watching films. 

One Parisian, Nawal, posted on Twitter that the UGC theatre in Paris' 12th arrondissement was infested with bedbugs, along with an image of the bites she allegedly received while watching a film. 

On Monday evening, the UGC cinema group published a press release apologising to all victims of bedbug bites.

The group said that they had emergency procedures are put into place following bedbug reports, which include canine detection for the presence of bugs, following a high-temperature steam treatment to kill the insects and another canine inspection to verify that the bugs were killed.

UGC also said that "it can be difficult to identify the origin of a bedbug bite" and that the scourge of bedbugs can affect all locations servicing the public.


There have also been reports in some of the Paris MK2 theatres as well, in part due to the fact that cinemas represent an ideal place for bedbugs due to temperature controlled rooms, darkness, and fabric-covered chairs. 

READ MORE: How to avoid bedbugs when visiting France

On top of that bedbugs can be very difficult to detect, as they are quite small - around the size of an apple seed. They typically only come out in the dark, hiding inside mattresses, box springs and in clothing. Females can lay up to five eggs a day, usually in small, hidden, dark places.

Bedbugs have become more common in recent years, both in France and across the world, in part due to an increase in travel, as well as bedbugs becoming resistant to common insecticides.

A recent study by the French National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety found that approximately 11 percent of French households between the years 2017 and 2022 experienced a bedbug infestation. 

The study found that on average, the price of getting rid of a bedbug infestation comes out to €866. Added up, this meant that between 2017 and 2022, bedbugs cost households €1.4 billion, according to the French National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety. 


Some French politicians, including members of the left-wing France Insoumise party have called for a national campaign to eradicate bedbugs. 

For individuals, there are a few options for killing bedbugs, which include steam and chemical treatments. People can also place their items in extreme heat (eg. a dryer for at least 20 minutes) or in cold temperatures (eg. refrigerator for multiple days). 

When choosing a service, individuals should double check that the company has relevant accreditations, such as membership in the CS3A union or demonstration of the 'Certibiocide' which is a certification that government-verified training has taken place to handle toxic chemicals.

If the company offers canine detection services, you can ask whether or not they are qualified according to the standards of the 'Union of experts in canine bedbug detection' (Le Syndicat des Experts de Détection Canine de Punaises de Lit or SEDCPL).

READ MORE: Bedbugs, mice, and mould: How to handle infestations in your French home


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