Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” fantasizes sipping absinthe with Hemingway at Les Deux Magots time traveling back to 1920’s Paris. Now an exhibition, “Les Nuits Parisiennes du Palais-Royal au Palace” at Paris’ City Hall, takes visitors back to those heady Paris nights of yore tracing nightlife from the 18th century until today with posters, paintings, photos, dresses, street lamps and videos ( to January 27, 2018).
Like Hemingway’s movable feast the exhibit travels from the Palais-Royal to Montparnasse to the Grands Boulevards revisiting Paris neighborhoods as they became fashionable night scenes. The Palais-Royal with its shops, gambling halls, theaters, brothels and cafes is considered Paris’ first night “hot spot.”
The exhibition includes photos from Brassai’s “Paris de Nuit” book published in 1933, film shorts and vintage cabaret advertising posters. One can imagine hanging out with writers and artists in the 20’s at the exhibition’s Montparnasse brasserie section or listening to jazz in postwar Saint-Germain-des-Pres.
Fast forward and we are with famed impressaria Regine, who is credited with inventing the modern discotheque at Paris’ Whisky a Gogo. She opened Chez Regine in the Latin Quarter in 1957. The exhibition concludes with more recent nightlife nostalgia and photos of the party scene as La Palace and the Bain Douche. Tres fun… and it’s free. Vive Les Nuits Parisiennes!
“Les Nuits Parisiennes du Palais-Royal au Palace” to January 27, 2018, at L’Hotel de Ville, Paris. Free admission.