A Night at the Museum – a New Way to Experience Paris

A Night at the Museum – a New Way to Experience Paris

Art Lovers unite in the city of lights

It began in Berlin in 1997, with the city’s museums staying open until midnight one day in May. And since then, the Night of Museums has become a fixture in over 120 European cities. The idea is simple: keep museums open late, and free of charge, once a year.

With its 150-something museums, it’s no surprise that Paris has become the star of the initiative. If you’re a lover the arts, you’re likely a lover of Paris already – so what better way to experience the work of your favorite artists than a moonlit evening with like-minded culture lovers?

This saturday, May 17, is your chance to see Paris in a different light. The schedule is vast; so plan ahead of time to make sure you get to the shows you want to see. It’s a great chance to make that pilgrimage to the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa, or to check out the Musee d’Art Moderne, home to works by artists such as Warhol, Picasso and Duchamp. If you’re feeling more adventurous, why not take a stroll off the beaten tourist path and test out something different. La nuit des musées is a great opportunity to explore the unknown, as many smaller museums put on special showcases. We’ve picked a few highlights to help you get started:


For music lovers, the Musee de la vie Romantique is showcasing a 17th century musical from 8pm, and the Goethe Institut is offering a free jazz concert and guided tours. Elsewhere, you’ll find the sounds of the East at the Centre Culturel du Vietnam, accompanied by a photography exhibition.


If you’re a film buff, you’ll enjoy The Imaginary Museum of Henri Langlois exhibition at the Cinemathèque, with shows beginning at 7:30 and 8:30.


The Musée d’Orsay invites visitors to explore the theme of dance through the paintings in its vast collection in collaboration with the Théâtre National de Chaillot. From Renoir to Degas, you can explore the museum while dancers perform throughout the galleries.


The exquisite sculpture garden at the Musée Rodin draws thousands of visitors to Paris every year. For one night only, the beautiful bronzes will be illuminated in all their splendour, giving a unique perspective on the work of the master artist.

If you can’t get to Paris this weekend, other European cities get in on the act throughout the year. Dubrovnik honors this new tradition every January; and Florence in July. If you’re heading to Barcelona, the event is also this weekend, with over 62 participating museums taking part.

How does that sound… Paris this year, Barcelona next year and Croatia in the winter? Your fellow culture vultures will be green with envy!

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Jenny Cahill-Jones