• France's news in English

Nuit Blanche: Paris set for all-night art party

The Local · 2 Oct 2015, 14:52

Published: 02 Oct 2015 14:52 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

What is la nuit blanche?

In keeping with France’s fascination with art and culture – and bolstered by a seemingly infinite arts budget – La Nuit Blanche (translated as ‘the sleepless night’) is a contemporary arts festival, held from 7pm on Saturday October 3rd to the early hours of Sunday morning.

It will see 30 international contemporary artists bring their cutting edge art installations onto the streets of Paris.

Now in its 14th year, the ‘all-nighter’ event enables art lovers and rookies alike to embark, map in hand, on an ‘artistic hike’ across the cityscape, taking in works inspired by dance, music, street art and even the circus. With only a handful of works set indoors, the idea is to bring big art into big public spaces for all the world to see.

Who is behind it?

For the second year running it is artistic director José-Manuel Gonçalvès taking the reins of the event, and he is all set to continue his initial vision of bringing art to the feet of the people, instead of confining it to stuffy museums.

With this year’s slogan ‘Atmosphere?...Atmosphere!’, Gonçalvès hopes to inspire a feeling of discovery and enlightenment in the city and in spectators alike. As, for him, Paris is a city in ‘permanent evolution’, Gonçalvès wants the artist’s work to evoke the transformation of the city; and, by placing the new amongst the old, he hopes viewers will see the cityscape in a different light.

With this vision in mind, instead of hopping on the metro and missing all the hidden gems of the streets, the walk is intended to be done on foot, with an art display never more than 500 metres away, often along disused railway tracks and lesser-known alleys filled with street art.

What’s special about this year?

This year the festival is based in the north west and north east of the city, with hotly-tipped installations placed in the Parc Monceau in the 8th arrondissement, and for the first time going as far north as Aubervilliers which on the far side of the Peripherique ringroad.

The two main walking routes, or ‘parcours’, will depart from Parc Monceau and Gare du Nord, with a useful blue line painted on the pavement to help guide walkers.

A big focus for 2015 is ‘the relationship between nature and the city’ and ‘the climate question’, in keen anticipation of the International Climate Change Conference (COP21) taking place in Paris in December. Many artists hope to draw attention to the ‘savage world’ which is under our nose (or feet), and which we sometimes choose not to see, and often treat badly. Although the festival is based in the north, there will be over 130 art projects around the whole city, so don’t be afraid to veer off the beaten track.

What to see this year

Melting Ice at Hotel de Ville 

Outside the Town Hall in the fourth arrondissement, 270 blocks of coloured ice symbolising different countries of the world will slowly melt over the course of the evening, forming an immense abstract patchwork in the style of Chinese painting. The Chinese artist, Zhenchen Liu, hopes this work will evoke the beauty of the earth which is slowly being destroyed under our noses.

Walk under a wave

Head to Batignolles in the 17th after 8pm at the Eco-parc Martin Luther King de Clichy Batignolles to see an installation by Daan Roosegarde, which gives the spectator a chance to feel like they’re at the bottom of the ocean. This big blue wave, placed three metres above the ground, is not only sure to be deeply atmospheric, but a potent reminder of raising sea levels due to climate change. 

The Night of Bees at Parc Monceau

Be still and listen to a symphony of insects, birds and frogs, recorded in the south of France by Erik Samakh and amplified in Parc Monceau on Saturday night. Samakh wants the public to ‘listen’ to the consequences of climate change and be reminded of the many species threatened with extinction. The exhibition, called "La nuit des abeilles" in French, is closest reached by the Metro Monceau.

Melting Building at the Gare du Nord

The ‘master of illusion’ Leandro Erlich attacks architecture in peril by creating the optical illusion of a building melting due to climate change on the square in front of the Gare du Nord. Financed by the city budget of 2014, this work will become a permanent fixture at the train station.

Silent disco at the Gare du Nord

As a perfect end to the evening, the Gare du Nord train station will be transformed into a giant dance floor and silent disco, so after pounding the streets of the city why not shake it off among the rail tracks? A ticket costs €26 and doors open at 11.30pm (and close at 5am). More information here.

Find more essential info about La Nuit Blanche (in English) here. All photos: La Nuit Blanche/Facebook

By: Ellie O'Driscoll

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Medieval town in south of France upholds ban on UFOs
The town of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Photo: Aa77zz/Flickr

Aliens take note.

American tourist dies at French Riviera sex club
The Riviera resort of Cannes. Photo: AFP

American tourist reportedly fell five floors after being pushed outside the underground sex club in Cannes.

Paris: 'Flying' water taxis to be tested on River Seine
Photo: SeaBubbles

An in Seine idea surely? But tests will go ahead.

France joins fight for rich pickings from post-Brexit UK
Photo: AFP/DcnH/Flickr

France tries to woo EU's bank regulator and other agencies.

How speaking French can really mess up your English
Photo: CollegeDegree360/Flickr

So you've mastered French, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

French claims that Jungle camp is empty are rubbished
Photo: AFP

Reports from the scene say scores of migrants are still in the area of the Jungle despite French authorities claiming "mission fulfilled."

Kidnapped Riviera millionaire left tied up in car boot in Nice
Photo: AFP

Head of luxury Cannes hotel has been found alive after being kidnapped in Nice on Monday.

Paris landlords still charging illegally high rents
Photo: Panoramas/Flickr

... and it's tenants in the smaller apartments that get hit the hardest. Could you be paying too much?

France takes baby steps to make life simpler
Photo: AFP

... including extending the ridiculously short time limit for registering a new baby.

IN PICTURES: Calais Jungle camp goes up in flames
All Photos: AFP

Migrants leave behind a scorched camp as they are moved to locations across France.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available