Free museum day in Paris and free museum night
Paris is home to many museums and monuments that contain remarkable artistic and cultural treasures. Explore the capital at your own pace with our Paris Discovery tour. Dive into the world of culture with International Museum Day and Museum Night this May.
International Museum Day
What is International Museum Day?
Since 1977, ICOM has organised the annual International Museum Day (IMD), an event of great importance to the museum community worldwide.
The aim of the day is to raise awareness of the importance of museums as a means of cultural exchange, mutual understanding, cooperation and peace between peoples.
IMD celebrations take place on or around 18 May, and can last for a day, a weekend or a week, with various events and activities. This year's event takes place on Thursday 18 May 2023.
What is the theme for International Museum Day in 2023?
This year's theme is "Museums, sustainability and well-being". Museums play a vital role in the well-being and sustainability of our communities. As trusted institutions and important parts of our social fabric, they can foster positive change in our society by supporting climate action, promoting integration, combating social isolation and improving mental health.
The ICOM resolution "On Sustainability and the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda, Transforming our World" emphasises that all museums have a role to play in creating sustainable futures through educational programmes, exhibitions, outreach and research. Since 2020, International Museum Day has focused on a set of UN Sustainable Development Goals. In 2023, the goals are:
- Global health and well-being;
- Climate action;
- Life on Earth.
European Museum Night
What is the European Night of the Museums?
In 1997, the first event allowing access to museums by night took place on the aptly named Museum Island in Berlin, Germany. It was the Lange Nacht der Museen (Long Night of the Museums) where more than 100 museums and art centres opened their doors from 6pm until 2am on Saturday night.
The success of this initiative was such that the French Ministry of Culture decided to replicate the event in 1999, under the name "Printemps des Musées". This concept consisted of French museums opening their doors to the public free of charge on a Sunday in spring.
Once again, the event was a great success and was well attended. In 2001, 39 countries hosted the Printemps des Musées. The event took on a European dimension with the support of the Council of Europe.
To attract new audiences to these places of art and knowledge, France transformed this cultural event into a Museum Night in 2005. This initiative, thanks to its originality, its artistic quality and the popular enthusiasm it has generated, has been followed by many countries.
What is the programme of the European Night of the Museums 2023?
The European Museum Night will take place on Saturday 13 May 2023. On that evening, many museums in France and Europe (more than 3,000 museums in nearly 30 countries) will open their doors free of charge from dusk until midnight. Guided tours, fun tours, screenings and exceptional events will give visitors a friendly and fun museum experience.
This year will mark the 19th edition of the event, which attracts more and more visitors to a growing number of museums each year, especially young visitors.
The operation "The class, the work" in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Youth will also be renewed this year. Thanks to this initiative, many schools and museums in France have been able to develop projects to encourage school and family visits during Museum Night.
The European Museum Night is organised by the Ministry of Culture, in collaboration with the Regional Directorates of Cultural Affairs (DRAC). It is supported by UNESCO, the Council of Europe and ICOM, as well as numerous institutional and media partnerships.
Museums are increasingly motivated to contribute to the success of this event. During this evening, more than 200 museums and monuments are open free of charge in the city of Paris.
Among the best known, we can mention
- The Louvre Museum
- The Musée des Arts
- The Pompidou Centre
- La Monnaie de Paris
- The Hôtel des Invalides
- The Grand Palais
- The Palais de Tokyo
In order to discover the French and Parisian heritage, the monuments and museums offer different experiences: workshops, guided tours, conferences, grandiose installations, prestigious guest artists, night-time strolls, escape games, artistic performances, concerts, shows and animations for children.
What practical information do I need to know?
The European Night of the Museums offers an unusual experience and aims to attract new audiences to museums. In this way, the major advantage of the event is that it is almost free of charge, thus avoiding any economic discrimination.
The guided tours and activities offered are generally free, to allow a wide audience to discover or rediscover the emblematic sites of Parisian heritage.
For this 19th edition, the Parisian museums will be open free of charge until midnight. You will have the opportunity to discover the permanent collections of the various museums as well as the temporary exhibitions that are making the news in Paris.