May 17, 2012

La Nuit des Musées 2012

Paris offers periodic gifts to its residents (and visitors!): Fête de la Musique, Paris Plage, Nuit Blanche ... and more. These events are an invitation for crowds to take to the streets and enjoy Paris culture and spirit of community. This Saturday (May 19) is one of those occasions: La Nuit des Musées, sponsored by the French Ministry of Culture. More than 1300 museums will be open in France and more that 3700 in Europe for this special night paying tribute to our cultural treasures. Many venues are specially lit for the evening and have lectures, performances, concerts, or films as a part of the festivities.

Most museums in Paris will be open Saturday from 6 pm until midnight (and are free, except for the Louvre ... who do they think they are!). As with many of these one-night celebrations, it's a good plan to head toward the lesser known venues if you want to avoid the masses. Visit the Musée Bourdelle, Victor Hugo's house, the Petit Palais, Musée de la Vie Romantique, the Musée des Arts et Métiers (beautifully lit at night), Institut du monde arabe, or Musée Zadkine.

See the current hot exhibits—Debussy at the Musée national de l'Orangerie, photographer Joel-Peter Witkin at the Bibliothèque Nationale (Richelieu), photographer Atget at the Musée Carnavalet, Degas at the Musée d'Orsay, Helmut Newton at the Grand Palais, Tim Burton at the Cinémathèque française,  Bob Dylan at the Musée de la Musique, Louis Vuitton/Marc Jacobs at Les Arts décoratif, or R Crumb (and a jazz concert) at the Musée d'Art moderne de la Ville de Paris.

There are two places open exceptionally for this event so its a good time to take advantage of this opportunity: Institut cultural roumain and UNESCO. And don't forget the areas outside Paris (such as Sceaux, Fontainbleau, or Versailles) which take on a whole new kind of magic at night.  

Check the program and times for each museum at

Photos and post by Meredith Mullins