Every year from 7pm-7am on the first Saturday of October, the Nuit Blanche festival descends upon the city, culminating in an explosion of art, music and theatrical events. It’s an unmissable time to explore the city, whether you're visiting for the weekend or an expat in need of a civilised excuse to stay out all night. And even better? Aside from a stop at a late-night restaurant or bar - it won't cost you a penny. Paris is your oyster.
For more information on this year’s festivities, click here.
Where? Berges de Seine – Port du Gros Cailloui – Pont des Invalides
Ever wondered what Paris would look like in the midst of a zombie apocalypse? British artist Ryan Gander certainly has. A desolate atmosphere, abandoned cars and a horde of zombies on the banks of the Seine feature in Gander’s contemporary version of ‘Hypnerotomachia Poliphili’ (an early Renaissance Italian novel – the theme for this year’s Nuit Blanche 2016). Prepare to feel like an extra in ‘The Walking Dead’.
Continuing with the odyssey of Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, French artist Stéphane Thidet will take you on a journey through an enchanted wood, complete with a frozen lake and bewitched, animated nature, conjuring up a real Grimm’s Fairy Tales vibe. Enter into this woodland labyrinth if you dare – you’ll emerge filled with wonder (if you find your way out…)
Where? The Igor Stravinsky square, next to the Pompidou Centre
When? Whenever you feel like it
The Beatles’ Abbey Road album came out in 1969, and ever since, its iconic album cover has been replicated and imitated by millions of tourists visiting London, walking that same zebra crossing. Now it’s your turn, thanks to this installation from artists Les Niveux – an accurate rendering of the original Abbey Road crossing. Now, just decide which member to be…
In the mind of artist Nicolas Buffe, there’s no difference between the epic adventures of Poliphile and the cartoon exploits of Super Mario. With the Théâtre du Châtelet as an investor, the artist has created a Poliphili-themed video game. Each level corresponds to a different chapter of the novel, blending the manga universe with the Renaissance era. Ideal for geeks who want nothing more than to be in front of their computer screen.
Are we in Paris or Brazil? Franco-lebanese artist Zad Moultaka has transformed part of the Institut du Monde Arabe into a mysterious jungle, allowing visitors to plunge deep into the heart of nature without stepping foot outside the French capital. Complete with eerily realistic jungle sounds (from throbbing murmurs to piercing warbles), this installation is set to be an astonishing sensory experience.
Peek behind the columns of the Petit Palais for an incredible performance from legendary Parisian cabaret Crazy Horse as they cast their sensual spell over the audience. Can’t get enough? Head to the lake where even more dancers will be performing in its centre, making waves and breaking hearts.
Have the walls of La Conciergerie collapsed? No, it’s just an incredible magic trick from artist-illusionist Pierre Delavie, who has essentially erased the front of the former royal residence, revealing the interior architecture and its ribbed vaults. Half-enveloped by the Seine, it's a parallel of Poliphile’s impassioned hallucinations.
Ending the exhibition ‘Electrosound: du lab au dancefloor’ on a high note, the Fondation EDF has organised a series of live electronic gigs in its “chill-out space”. With four DJs from an eclectic range of genres: Arnaud Rebotini, Philipe Cam, Oklou and Clara Moto will be bringing you a mix of sounds: from synthetic 80s pop to more contemporary tunes, we bet you’ll be dancing all night long.
The famous auction house is giving us a behind-the-scenes peek, opening its doors to the general public until midnight. Visitors will be able to wonder around its hallowed halls and attend a mixture of cultural events – from pre-sale exhibitions to theatre performances to a conference on metropolitan heritage.