Tomorrow, Saturday 14 May, for one night only, nearly all of the museums in Paris will be open late, mostly until midnight, celebrating the annual European Museums Night. As well as keeping their doors open way past their usual bedtime for visits to their regular collections and their temporary exhibitions, the museums will be trying to come up with original and exciting happenings to draw in visitors for this seventh “long night of the museums”. Best of all, everything will be free.
It’s likely that the big, well-known museums will have the longest queues, so you might decide this is an opportunity to go off-piste and investigate one or two of the city’s quirkier collections. Haitian artists will be taking over the greenery-covered Musée du Quai Branly, while at the high-tech Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie near the Porte de la Villette, a group of aerialists called Les Passagers will be, they say, flying, dancing and hanging in the air, in an artistic fashion no doubt.
Or try one of the open-air special events, such as the concerts in the gardens of the Musée Carnavalet. This museum, spread over a couple of the large hôtel particuliers in the Marais, is devoted to the history of Paris and well worth a visit at any time. On Saturday night, there will be a concert at 7.30pm by a brass ensemble from the Conservatoire du Centre Mozart, with another series of concerts of 16th- and 17th-century choral music starting at 8.30pm in homage to the great 17th-century Parisienne Madame de Sévigné.
The list of places that will be keeping their doors open past the usual opening hours is far too long to list here – find all the details on the European Museums Night website, or just pitch up at any Paris museum – every arrondissement is stuffed with them. Then plan to spend the day relaxing in the sunshine on a café terrace – you’ll have plenty of time to catch up with some culture later.