Nuit Blanche literally means White Night, a term that’s used to describe a night without sleep. In Paris though, on the first Saturday of October it means one single night which sees the city put on a very special show. With Nuit Blanche Paris, you can expect the unexpected, a dawn to dusk extravaganza with an arty party atmosphere – and a lot of fun.
Every year the theme and location for Nuit Blanche changes but one thing remains the same, this is a crazy art event that’s unlike anything you will have experienced before!
What is Nuit Blanche Paris
It all began in Paris in 2002 when the then Mayor, Bertrand Delanoë, inaugurated Nuit Blanche as a festival of the arts and culture. The concept was to show Paris in new and original ways and since then the idea has spread to cities around the world.
Nuit Blanche is an arty party, it’s enjoyed by a huge number of Parisians who walk a circuit along which art installations are free to be seen by all. Not just seen – experienced. This whole festival is something that you see, hear and feel.
It’s also free to everyone. Installations may be in the street, even in the River Seine as I saw in 2016, or in museums and public buildings, in them, on them and around them!
It’s a celebration of art, life, love, fun, individuality and culture. It’s a chance to join in.
Beautifully Bizarre and Deliciously Deranged!
The artworks may be provocative, shocking, humorous, beautiful or bizarre. It’s a visual feast, and maybe with sound. Whatever it is, you may be sure you will remember this event, it will inspire and give you food for thought, for discussion and some wonderful memories.
When I went in 2016, in the grounds of the oldest hospital in Paris, Hotel Dieu, in the 16th century courtyard, a sci-fi looking light art installation by Christian Rizzo wowed the crowds despite the rain. In fact the rain seemed to make it seem even more ethereal. I couldn’t help wondering what the patients might make of it in this still working hospital! In the gardens of the Petit Palais Museum, the air was filled with coloured lights and scantily clad dancers from the famous Crazy Horse Cabaret appeared like nymphs causing hundreds of cameras to click! I followed a group of people clad in black and chanting through a closed section of a road tunnel in the dark – a totally surreal experience that made me think of Orpheus entering the underworld. I walked over a bridge to the sound of loud growling (I think) as a light swirled in the depths of the Seine below. Further on a huge vortex art installation by artist Anish Kapoor held viewers enthralled. Strange, yes. Quirky, yes. Wonderful, absolutely.
It is a deliciously deranged and totally unexpected Paris that you will see on Nuit Blanche.
It’s a must-do, must-see experience in Autumn in Paris and a truly one-off way to get under the skin of Paris and to appreciate it in a wholly original and surprising way.
Find out more: Paris.info.com