A poster of an event with the sun shining through.

La Nuit des Musées (May 15th)

This Saturday – Pay a Nocturnal Visit to Paris’s Museums…For Free!

Entering the Louvre at night without paying would normally result in a visit to the Commissariat de Police, but this Saturday the inhabitants of Paris will be encouraged to do just that. The 6th annual European Night of Museums (La nuit européenne des musées) provides the rare opportunity to visit many of Paris’s renowned museums for free in the more informal setting of a nighttime soirée.

Countries all across Europe participate in this annual event, which was started by the French Ministry of Culture in 2001. In Paris alone, more than 75 local museums will open their doors without charging un centime, including the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, the Centre Pompidou, the Musée Rodin and the Musée Picasso.

In addition to the free entry, many museums have organized special events ranging from concerts to lectures, in an effort to entice people to forego bedtime for a visit to their favorite museum. Some of the more interesting events include:

• A foozball tournament (called “babyfoot†in France) at the Cité nationale de l’histoire de l’immigration
• Music all night in the garden of the Musée Carnavalet performed by students and professors from the 3rd arrondissement
• Historical reenactments of military maneuvers from the 16th century and demonstration of the firearms of the era at the Musée de l’Armée (located in the Hôtel des Invalides)
• Guided tours led by costumed docents at L’Adresse – Musée de la Poste
• A concert featuring texts from Balzac’s “La Comédie humaine†and the music of Beethoven and Rossini at the Maison de Balzac
• A contest for kids, ages 7 to 14, to design an object of the future at the Musée des arts et métiers.
• Ballet performances all night by dancers of the Compagnie Alouette in the gardens of the Musée de l’assistance publique (Hôpitaux de Paris)

And this is just a sampling of what the night has to offer. For times and event details for all participating Paris museums, visit the official website, where you can create and save your own schedule for the night. The full program of Parisian events will also be printed in the free newspaper Metro, which you can easily find in any metro station, on Friday, May 14th.

Address: Various (75+ museums in Paris)
Date: Saturday, May 15th, 2010
Hours: Approx. 18:00 – 1:00am, times vary for each museum
Website: http://nuitdesmusees.culture.fr

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