So we’ve officially entered October, meaning that the ‘summer’ (the punctuation points to the fact that it was a bit of a wet squib to put it mildly), is well and truly over. So we’ll have to abandon the sun-baked terraces for now (this weekend is probably the last chance we’ll get), start to migrate indoors and huddle like penguins until the the winter wave hits and the good weather returns in the spring.
Lucky for us though, Paris is a ‘good ideas’ kind of city, and this weekend marks the beginning of cultural season when most of the city’s museums and galleries turn off their tills for the first sunday of every month, and let us poor rugged-up souls in for free, starting from this sunday (October 5th).
Well, that’s not strictly true (call it artistic license on my part) as many of the city’s cultural draws are open for free throughout the summer on this magical first sunday, including the likes of the Pompidou Centre, Musée D’Orsay and the Musée de l’Orangerie. But from this weekend, the list starts to get properly serious again, with the Louvre being the first to waive the entrance fee for willing art lovers, staying free once a month until the spring.
November is the month to really get the cultural programme started though, with a whole host of other venues letting folk in without money changing hands (well, once a month only). You’ll have until February to get rubber-necking around the Arc de Triomphe, Pantheon, Conciergerie, Saint Chapelle, the towers of Notre Dame, the Basilique at St Denis (where all the old kings are buried), and the chateaux of Vincennes and Versailles. With the city not being quite so choked with tourists as it is in the summer, it’s the best time in the calendar to check them out. Just play nice in the queues, mind.
In addition to this magnificent cultural present, tomorrow marks Nuit Blanche, the artistic meander through the city from dusk ’til dawn where a whole plethora of weird and wonderful installations will be on offer. This year there’ll be a proper circuit to follow, giving purpose to your wanderings and gently guiding you around the south of the city to make sure you don’t miss that 20ft sculpture of a naked bottom (probably). No touching allowed…