Museums throughout Paris and many other European cities will be open until late into the night on Saturday 16th May
If you’re going to be visiting a European city this weekend, it will be well worth looking to see if you can take advantage of European Museum Night, which this year will be Saturday 16th May. The night was created in 2005 by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication. By welcoming the public during the night, museums hope to communicate with the public in an unusual and more sensory way. Museums in many cities are open from 8pm until 1am and entry is often free of charge.
There are roughly 250 museums in Paris and almost all of them will be participating in the event, known in France as the Nuit des Museés. Museums offer special activities for this night including torch-lit tours, concerts, workshops for children and fireworks. The Museé d’Orsay in Paris will be celebrating the 120-year anniversary of cinema. Visitors are invited to rediscover the most famous movies from film pioneers such as Charlie Chaplin or Georges Méliès on a big screen set up in the huge main hall of the former Orsay railway station. Musicians will play during the screenings.
The Carnavalet museum, in the third arrondissement, will invite visitors to discover the History of Paris, in particular the Napoleonic years. Pupils from the Parisian College of music will provide music to accompany the display and aim to bring the scene to life for visitors.
For those who enjoy the works of famous French authors such as Rousseau, Voltaire or even Diderot a visit to the Cognacq–Jay Museum is a must at either 7pm or 8pm. At these times the works will be read out to the accompaniment of music.
Europea Museum Night will also be a great time to make a special visit to Versailles on the outskirts of Paris. The Gallery of Sculptures and Casts will be open free of charge from 7pm until 1am (the palace, the gardens and the rest of the estate will be closed). This huge space is home to a collection of casts of sculptures from the department of Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities at the Louvre Museum, as well as sculpted masterpieces from the gardens of Louis XIV. Many of the original marbles from the gardens of Versailles are held there for safe keeping.
If you can participate in European Museum Night you’ll certainly enjoy a different cultural experience, wherever you go.