This is now the 13th year that Paris is putting on its Nuit Blanche art celebration — set for 8pm Saturday to 7am Sunday — and finally it will be much harder to end up wandering aimlessly through the city at night.
For the first time organizers have created a circuit running the length, width and perimeter of the southern half of the city that is marked by an actual blue line on the pavement.
And given that it’s Nuit Blanche, literally “White Night,” but which translates as “up until dawn,” it’ll be great to have some help for the test of endurance that lies ahead.
Organizers have dubbed the blue-lined route the "Grande Randonée Artistique" drawing the first two-thirds of its name from France’s popular national system of hiking trails.
Revellers take photos at Fujiko Nakaya's installation at the 2013 edition of Nuit Blanche (AFP)
It’ll take people from Paris Town Hall to Montparnasse and all the way out to Gare d’Austerlitz with a passage via the Petite Ceinture, a railway line that rings the city and which has been out of service since 1939. Yet the most of the line’s tunnels, tracks and stations are still around.
Many of the sections are abandoned and decaying, but one part of the Petite Ceinture (Little Belt) that’s included in this year’s Nuit Blanche has been converted into a walking path and park.
Among the 40 artists participating there will be Motoi Yamamoto from Japan who's going to use salt to create a temporary work during the night at Paris Town Hall.
The HeHe Collective – Helen Evans et Heiko Hansen – will transform a tree at Parc Montsouris into a bioluminescent object.
London-based United Visual Artists will run an installation in conjunction with trip hop group Massive Attack that’s to include 46 sound-emitting columns and light that will respond to the movements of the audience.
A Paris tradition
The Nuit Blanche was born in 2002 in Paris with the intention of having a festive art event with broad appeal. Much like Paris Plages, the city’s summer pop up beach event, the Nuit Blanche has been emulated by scores of cities around the world.
Though the party got off to a rocky start in the City of Light. In its inaugural year Paris's Mayor Bertrand Delanoë, who'd backed the event, was stabbed while on the streets that night. He recovered and the event continued.
Here Nuit Blache's organizer explains (in French) what's behind this year's event: