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Nuit Blanche: Parisians to stay up all night for contemporary art festival

Philippe Lopez, AFP | People walk under an art installation by the Tropicool Company entitled "Le soleil se leve et se couche sans obstacle" (The sun rises and sets without obstacle) as part of the Nuit Blanche at Gare de Lyon in Paris on October 1.

Thousands are expected to stay up all night on Saturday for the 17th annual Nuit Blanche (White Night), a popular celebration of contemporary art that runs from dusk til dawn in Paris and cities across France.

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Last year over a million enjoyed the festival, which lasts from 7pm in the evening to 7am in the morning.

Nearly 80 contemporary art exhibits will be on display, as well as dozens of satellite projects, all headed by art director Gaël Charbau. Entrance and transport will be free, and almost 20 restaurants and cafes will stay open along the various routes throughout the night.

This year the event is focusing on emerging artists and will notably include an installation in the heart of the City of Lights running between Les Invalides and the Champs-Élysées along a “super kilometre" that Charbau said will combine "lively contemporary culture and historical heritage" in comments to AFP.

Charbau has announced the establishment of four large "constellations" of exhibits planned for Les Invalides, on the Ile Saint-Louis, at the Parc de la Villette city of sciences and at Porte Dorée.

Les Invalides

Syrian singer Waed Bouhassoun, accompanied by the Orpheus XXI orchestra, will perform in the halls of the Hôtel des Invalides. Scandinavian electronic artists Lindstrøm, Axel Boman and Komél Kovács will also set up nearby for a music and light installation.

Île Saint-Louis

Artists Edgar Sarin and Mateo Revillo have created a “Parcours de l’Imprévu” (Stroll of the Unexpected) that will include artwork hidden in secret places along the narrow streets and bridges of a Paris reminiscent of the Middle Ages on Île Saint-Louis. The heart of the work, "Un Titanic, Reprise," will involve more than 300 men and women representing a wide range of professions, from bakers to bartenders, making "votive" objects out of clay, flower petals and straw.

Abdelkader Benchamma is working on a giant fresco for his “Echo de la naissance des mondes” (Echo of the Birth of Worlds) exhibit at the Collège des Bernardins.

Parc de la Villette

The constellation at la Villette will feature whirling dervishes from Syria and "Geysa," a nearly 20-metre-high geyser of water mixed with red clay by artist Fabien Léaustic. Wardenclyffe, a sound and light installation by artist TremensS, and Platonium, a video installation from Eric Michel and Akari-Lisa Ishii, will also be on display.

A programme specially designed for young people will be playing at the Cité des Enfants at la Villette.

Porte Dorée

Porte Dorée will offer another chance to wander near the outskirts of the city from the Palais de la Porte Dorée to the banks of Lac Daumesnil and the Zoological Park.

After initial successes in 2015 and 2017, the Musée de l’Orangerie and ProQuartet are planning another string quartet performance in the oval rooms that house Monet's Water Lilies ("les Nymphéas"). Each concert will include the world premiere of a work by composers from around the world including Florence Baschet, Michele Reverdy, Leilei Tian and Xu Yi.

Other extravagant displays are planned across the city. Avenue Winston-Churchill will be transformed into an immense roller rink, while planners say metro stations near the Bois de Vincennes will be turned into urban jungles.

First held in 2002, la Nuit Blanche has since given rise to similar nighttime contemporary art expositions in other cities including Brussels, Toronto and Seville.

For more information visit the official site of the Paris tourist bureau or the Nuit Blanche Facebook page. You can also check out @NBParis and the #NuitBlanche hashtag on Twitter.

For a list (in English) of events at various location around Paris, click here.

For Nuit Blanche events in other French regions, please click here.

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