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Paris dusk-till-dawn ‘Nuit Blanche’ festival goes green

© Hervé via

Text by Joseph BAMAT

Latest update : 2015-10-03

Nuit Blanche, an annual event that turns the French capital into a giant arts festival for one sleepless night, is back this weekend. FRANCE 24 takes a look at some of the highlights from this year’s edition.

Ecology is at the heart of the latest instalment of Nuit Blanche (“White Night”) as Paris prepares to host the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) between November 30 and December 11.

Open-air art installations, performances, music and more will take over the streets of the capital Saturday evening, beckoning residents and visitors to think about the city – and the planet – differently. The festivities kick off at 7pm and last until sunrise on Sunday.

The official programme includes 23 works from distinguished international artists, but also 105 parallel exhibits and shows spread out across town. In addition, bars and restaurants are staying open late to cater to the hungry night owls.

Organisers have broken down the dizzying array of options into three pedestrian itineraries, but with so much going on it’s still easy to feel lost.

Razzle dazzle

Dazzling light displays and giant video projections are a common feature of Nuit Blanche, and 2015 is no different. Buildings, city squares and parks have been transformed into giant canvases in the past. Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde will repeat the feat on Saturday at Martin Luther King Park with “Waterlicht”. The installation aims to “plunge” visitors under a giant blue wave – a dreamy, and not-so-subtle reference to rising sea levels. Roosegaarde says the work should inspire people to “come up with new ideas, new dreams and new proposals to save our sorry selves”.


Nuit Blanche 2015 : Daan Roosegaarde au parc... par mairiedeparis

8pm – 7am
Square de Batignolles
147, rue Cardinet
M13: Brochant

Nuit bizarre

Quirky is also part of the Nuit Blanche equation. The night is supposed to be different from all others in Paris and participating artists are expected to challenge the mundane. This year’s winner of weirdest display is “Microclimat” – a sculptural landscape carved from 30 kilos of goat cheese. The installation in the bohemian Marais neighbourhood also includes two videos, but it’s not sure anyone will be paying attention to those. At some point, visitors – who are encouraged to BYOB (bring your own baguette) – will be invited to devour the scenery.


9pm – 2am
Jardin des Rosiers – Joseph Migneret
10, rue des Rosiers
M7: Pont Marie


For kids, Nuit Blanche is one of those joyous and rare occasions when bedtimes are blatantly disregarded. Children are part of the carnival-like atmosphere that invades Paris each year, even if most of them will have been tucked up before dawn. The city-wide arts party is not only kid-friendly; much of it is designed around younger audiences. “La théorie du nuage”, a playful and poetic installation, is sure to please the tots this time around. By interacting with a mix of music, lights and fog, participants are dared to imagine themselves as clouds. Children can also join in on several other Nuit Blanche participatory music events around the city.


7pm – 3am
Gymnase Mathis
11, rue Mathis
M7: Crimée

No kids, thanks

But Nuit Blanche is by no means only for the kids. Indeed, what’s the fun of staying up super late (or hiring a babysitter) if a tantrum-throwing half-pint is going to kill your buzz? The best way to avoid the under-15 crowd is probably to skip the first few hours, then head to one of the events for more grown-up tastes. Saxophonist and band leader Jon Boutellier is playing one of his cool and smart jazz sets at the Duc des Lombards club starting at 11pm (it's free). For an edgier musical fix, check out the duo Winter Family, who will be exploring the myths surrounding the biblical city of Sodom, from 9pm onwards at the Museum of Jewish Art and History.

Warming up

Among the most ambitious works on the 2015 roster is “Minimum Monument”. Brazilian artist Néle Azevedo has been working with Paris art students for several days to sculpt 3,000 tiny ice figurines before Saturday. The fragile forms will be placed by passersby on the steps of Square Aristide-Cavaillé-Coll; the weather and time will take care of the rest. The ephemeral installation promises to deliver a simple yet powerful visual statement on global warming.


7pm – 1am
Square Aristide-Cavaillé-Coll
At the intersection of rue d'Abbeville and rue la Fayette
M7: Poissonnière

The city’s extensive metro network will run until 2am on Saturday as per its usual schedule. In addition, three lines will continue to operate past that time for Nuit Blanche. Metro lines 7, 13 and 14 will run from 2am to 5:30am, and for free. Lines 7 and 13 will include limited stops, while line 14 will include all its usual stops.

Organisers of the event are highlighting 32 different bars, eateries and food trucks around Paris that are extending their usual business hours especially for Nuit Blanche, including the capital’s most famous burger truck “Le Camion qui fume”.


You can consult the English language version of Nuit Blanche’s website for a longer (although incomplete) list of art installations and performances on the programme. And if you still want more out of your cultural all-nighter (you guessed it) - there’s an app for that: App StoreGoogle play

Date created : 2015-10-03


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