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Nuit Blanche

A free annual dusk ‘til dawn arts festival that holds the entire city in its thrall

Marc Verhille
Transportable City (2000-2002), Los Carpinteros (Nuit Blanche 2006)

Forget back-to-school and SAD: autumn in Paris is as much about reinvigorating the community's artistic ésprit as it is about falling leaves and the end of summer. Led by the Nuit Blanche festival, held every year from 7pm 'til 7am on the first Saturday in October, the city blossoms into a fantastic harvest of art, music and theatrical events. It's an unmissable time to visit, or for resident expats to shake off their post-summer sloth and get out and enjoy the city like true Parisians.

The decade-old Nuit Blanche is a free dusk 'til dawn carnival of arts and culture inspired by St Petersburg's 'White Nights', where music and the arts keep the population entertained throughout the long summer evenings when the sun never sets. In Paris, the premise is simple: for one night only, let art take over the city, and let the city be in its thrall. An ever-changing roster of artistic directors takes over different portions of the city every year, commissioning hundreds of works that are all about finding new ways for citizens to interact with the urban space. From clouds of paper butterflies settling on neoclassical columns to church naves sprouting enormous bejewelled skulls, Nuit Blanche is a riotously popular way to engage with cutting edge artistry. 

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