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Les Jeudis Arty

On June 5, some 40 galleries in the Marais will stay open till 10pm as part of a new cultural initiative

It started with London's First Thursdays, a concept that sees 150 galleries in the city's eastern neighbourhoods stay open till late on the first Thursday of each month. Now Paris has got in on the act with its Jeudis Arty, whose inaugural event is planned for June 5.

If the basic idea is the same, Jeudis Arty differs from its British cousin on a few counts. Lacking the backing of an institution like the Whitechapel Gallery, it will necessarily take place on a smaller scale: expect 40-odd participating galleries and only one event per three months. And where First Thursdays is centred on the trendy, grungy East End, in Paris the action will take place in the fancier-than-thou Marais.

Yet while the 3rd arrondissement lacks the hipster credentials of, say, Belleville, the sheer concentration of art galleries in the area makes it a logical choice of venue. Amid the heavyweights nestle smaller, more progressive galleries: keep an eye on the likes of Derouillon and Lazarew, known for their leftfield exhibitions and dynamic event programmes. As well as opening up their permanent collections, many venues will be putting on one-off talks, seminars, Q&A sessions and suchlike.

While the Parisian cultural calendar is chock-full of private views and elite 'special events', the tradition of inclusive, popular events spread over multiple venues has – with notable exceptions – failed to take root in the city so far. With any luck, Jeudis Arty will change that. The free entry policy is a good start, though the organisers are also offering €30 passes (€25 on pre-order) that grant access to special events and afterparties. See you there.

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Our pick of the participating galleries

Galerie Anne Barrault

After initially concentrating on photography, notably the provocative feminist stagings by Katharina Bosse, Barrault now presents a wider range of media, often with a strong graphic edge.

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The Marais

Galerie Polaris

Polaris occupies an old gym and shows artists mainly working in photo and video, such as Stéphane Couturier, known for his stunning, flattened perspective images of building sites.

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The Marais

Galerie Alain Gutharc

The last of the Bastille galleries has now moved to the Marais. Gutharc talent-spots young French artists, often giving them a first gallery show, and also presents an annual art-design crossover. Among recent discoveries, check out the dreamily surreal paintings of Marlène Mocquet.

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The Marais

Galerie Claudine Papillon

The ever-provocative Galerie Claudine Papillon has excited its fair share of controversy over the years. Yet far from a cynical shit-stirrer, Claudine is an assiduous curator with a sharp eye for young talent and a laudable devotion to the artists she exhibits – with many of whom she maintains ties that last decades. Literally overshadowed by the Centre Pompidou next door, this gallery is nevertheless a heavyweight of the contemporary art scene in its own right.

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The Marais