The staid Grand Palais exhibition hall opened for 83 consecutive hours at the end of a nearly four-month Picasso exhibition, drawing thousands who stood for hours in the dark and frigid temperatures before dawn Sunday.
More than 700,000 visitors have seen "Picasso and his Masters" since it opened Oct. 8 — but during working hours. Attendance figures for the 9 a.m. Friday to 8 p.m. Monday marathon will not be available until the final day.
"I am not particularly impressed by Picasso, but ... to be in a place which is not usually open at night is something special," said Parisian Deborah Boucher.
She swigged whiskey from a hip flask and shared with visitors outside the 19th-century landmark. At least a dozen families with children were waiting before sunrise.
The exhibit displays Picasso paintings alongside those of masters who inspired him — from El Greco to Cezanne.
Financial adviser Manuel Eduardo Aranguren Aranguren said he flew from Venezuela seven hours earlier to compare Picasso's works with the masters who influenced him.
"The opportunity to have all the artists' works in one place and being able to compare them ... is a unique opportunity," he said.