Bertrand Delanoë, Mayor of Paris since 2001 and one of the first openly gay politicians in France, is well known for enlivening the city with a series of imaginative innovations. His municipal bike scheme Vélib' has spawned imitators worldwide, and he also brought the Seine in summer back to life when he founded the Paris Plages scheme in 2002. On the artistic scene, his inauguration of Nuit Blanche, a festival of arts and culture that stretches from 7pm to 7am on the first Saturday of every October, has also found favour worldwide. In the 12 years of its history, the concept has extended to 10 other locations in Europe and seven elsewhere in the world, from Buenos Aires to Kyoto.
Nuit Blanche's spirit has always been about showing Paris off in new and original ways, surprising even its intimates with novel ways of presenting and interacting with well-known locations all over the city. It even changes directors and locations every year. It's become the unmissable event of the autumn calendar, attracting around 80,000 spectators and turning landmarks as diverse as the Eiffel Tower and the Institut du Monde Arabe into shocking, humorous, beautiful or bizarre spectacles from artists, musicians and performers ranging from Michel Blazy to Patti Smith. It's a huge, joyous occasion that brings all sorts of Parisians together and that is an absolutely unique opportunity to get to know the city through the lenses of fantastic talents from around the world.
The slideshow below offers an extended selection of images from the festival's 12-year history.