Night at the Museum: Tales of the Unexpected in Paris

by Natasha.Edwards

This Saturday 15 May is La Nuit des Musées (, when museums all over France stay open late to show off their collections and put on unlikely events for free.

Of course, the big event this year is the Centre Pompidou-Metz ( in Lorraine, inaugurated by President Sarkozy on Tuesday. I went there earlier this week and it's a must-see both for the amazing building designed by Shigeru Ban and Jean de Gastines, with its extraordinary roof made of woven wood and slinky white teflon, and for the fabulous opening exhibition "Masterpieces?", which has brought in some of the greatest works from the collection of the National Museum of Modern Art.

Meanwhile in Paris

There’s also plenty going on in Paris. The original Centre Pompidou ( will be open until 1am, giving a chance to see exhibitions of Lucien Freud, designer Patrick Jouin, urban utopias in "Dreamlands" and Eastern European art in "Les Promesses du Passé". There are dance, jazz and classical concerts amid the works at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, a video by Mircea Cantor screened in the gardens of Musée Rodin, and an initiation into the art of the stone mason at the Musée National du Moyen Age, while you can get into World Cup mood at the Cité de l'Immigration at the Porte Dorée with Douglas Gordon/Philippe Parreno's film Zidane and a table football tournament.

NoctamBulle in the Grand Nef of the Grand Palais sounds particularly intriguing. It is being turned into a vast bubble installation for the night, with thousands of bubbles wafting out scents of "flowers, honey, fruit and vegetables" created by arty parfumier Francis Kurkdjian.

White rabbits

And for a new perspective on the city, discover the Wild Club ( at the Pavillon de l'Arsenal (, an anarchic anything goes collection of young architects who during 24-hour-long sessions transform city sites – on the web. Over the past year they have added giant statues and tower blocks at the Bastille, mountains in the Eole gardens, giant white rabbits at La Défense and turned the Pavillon de l'Arsenal itself into a nightclub. The exhibition continues until 20 June, but on 15 May anyone can use one of the computers on hand in the show to add their own urban fantasies to the city.

Click here to find out more about Paris.