Leading article: Paris by night

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How not to envy the French? One day le tout Paris is marching behind big red banners in protest against unemployment, the next it is meekly queuing through the small hours to catch the Picasso exhibition before it closes. The clamour for culture may be a symptom of recessionary times, but the city fathers responded with Gallic magnificence to the oversubscribed Picasso, opening the Grand Palais continuously for the past three days – and nights.

Beside such bravado our own efforts seem tame. True, some galleries now open until 10pm once or twice a week, the British Museum holds a periodic sleepover, and the National Science Museum has just held a hugely successful evening for adults. France's "white nights", a summer weekend when galleries are open around the clock, is imitated across Europe. If we can have 24-hour supermarkets, we can surely manage the odd 24-hour exhibition. Open them, and they will come.

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