Musée d’Orsay

This Saturday sees the annual festivity that is Nuit des Musées, when Europe’s museums keep their doors open for an all-night celebration of all things cultural. If you’re in Paris, it’s the perfect chance to visit some of the city’s most enchanting museums, which often close at 6pm, and see them in a new atmospheric light, as well as enjoying a variety of artistic events. (Click here for the programme.) At the Musée de la Vie Romantique, for example, some of Paris’s up-and-coming students of music, drama, and comedy will perform in the gorgeous garden courtyard. Click here for more information.

If you like the idea of after-dark art, you don’t need to wait for this annual extravaganza to partake — select Paris museums open late on certain days throughout the year, making for a lovely artistic addition to a night out on the town.

The Louvre, for example, is open until 9:45pm every Friday (with final entry an hour earlier). While the Louvre’s various cafés and restaurants close well before then, you could follow up with dinner or drinks at Café Marly, the iconic institution nestled with the arcades of the Louvre, overlooking the glass pyramid.

The Hôtel de la Marine — a.k.a a slice of Versailles in Paris — is also open late on Fridays, until 9:30pm. A perfect way to extend the rococo glamour of an evening here would be with a late supper at Café Lapérouse, set within this majestic neoclassical complex on Place de la Concorde.

Over at Musée d’Orsay, which is open until 9:45pm on Thursday, a late-night visit is perfectly complemented with dinner at the museum’s main restaurant, located within the spectacular old dining room that dates back to the museum’s former life as a railway station. While you need a museum ticket to dine here, reservations are not possible — so line up fifteen minutes or so before the opening time of 7pm to secure yourself a table under the dreamy frescoed ceiling with its glittering chandeliers.

An even more stylish way to infuse culture into your Thursday evening: the Musée Yves Saint Laurent and Palais Galliera (the City of Paris’s fashion museum), which are located close to one another in the 16th arrondissement, are both open until 9pm. Finish at Palais Galliera, and you can linger in its lovely garden, enjoying a late dinner at the pop-up restaurant Les Petites Mains; click here to book (choosing the second service of the night).

Across the road from Palais Galliera is one of the city’s most nocturnal of museums: Palais de Tokyo, a centre for contemporary creative expression, is open until 10pm most nights (until midnight Friday; closed Tuesday). Come for the art, stay for the food and the glimmering Eiffel Tower view; its stunner of a restaurant Monsieur Bleu operates until 2am, with a garden terrace open during warmer months until 9pm.

Paris’s other night-owl of a museum is also a go-to for modern-art lovers. Centre Pompidou stays open until 9pm almost every day (closed Tuesday), with the exhibition spaces on level 6 accessible until 11pm on Thursday. Also up on this level is another great excuse for an evening out: Restaurant Georges, with its celebrated sweeping view across to the Eiffel Tower. While you don’t need a museum ticket to access the restaurant (there’s a dedicated lift), it’s well worth pairing dinner or cocktails with a night at the museum, especially as this gives you access to the building’s tubular external escalators, which deliver a breathtaking view as you glide up to and above garret level, particularly as the sun is setting over the slate and zinc patchwork of rooftops.

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