Bonjour mes amis!
This festival was appealing to me because I thought that it was a wonderful way to explore culture through art. I have been studying French for about two years but I had never heard about this festival. Even though it is a popular world wide, the event itself is unique in that it takes place during nighttime and makes art more accessible to visitors. Long, dark and sometimes cold nights (often in the winter) may not sound like ideal conditions to have a festival but through this celebration, the people of France give life to an otherwise gloomy period of time.
Read on to find out more about this festival, and about where and how you can participate in it.
Origin of La Nuit Blanche
On the first Saturday of October every year, the city of Paris hosts a dusk til dawn arts festival called La Nuit Blanche (the white night).
Some areas in northern Europe experience polar nights where the night lasts for more than 24 hours. Many cities began pulling all-nighters by hosting illuminating cultural celebrations during this period of darkness. (But no need to worry about vampires during these days of night.)
Inspired by St. Petersburg’s White Nights Festival, a modern celebration of La Nuit Blanche began in 2002.
White Nights Festivals Around the World
The festival has grown and spread worldwide since then. You can learn more about similar international festivals below:
- Nuit Blanche à Montréal
- Night of the Arts in Finland
- Art All Night in Trenton, New Jersey, USA
- Laila Lavan in Tel Aviv
- Notte Bianca in Valletta, Malta
- Light Night festival in Leeds, England
- White Night Melbourne
- Luminaria San Antonio, Texas, USA
- La Nuit Blanche Toronto
The Main Event
To celebrate, the center of the city is transformed into a makeshift art gallery to display and host various art installations, music performances, film viewings, art, dance performances, and themed social gatherings.
Beginning at 7 p.m. and ending around 7 a.m., locals and tourists snake their way through the city to view dazzling lights, artistic works, and exciting spectacles, like the flying quartet.
This all night arts festival also features and opportunity for people to enjoy museums, art galleries and other cultural institutions free of charge.
Food vendors, bars, restaurants, and some amusement rides are also open during the festival.
Visitors are able to experience lesser known, but equally wondrous, parts of Paris. They can explore a whole other side of the city through art.
Celebrate La Nuit Blanche at Home!
Listen to some wonderful French music appropriate for any occasion!
Watch some award-winning short French films!
Have you been to a White Nights festival before? Share your experience in the comments section. I’d love to hear all about it!
“Art Night Long.” The Economist (Online) Oct 08 2014ProQuest. Web. 29 Sept. 2015 .
“Nuit Blanche 2015.” Parisianist. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Sept. 2015.
“Nuit Blanche – Que Faire à Paris ?” Que Faire à Paris? N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Sept. 2015.
“Nuit Blanche.” Time Out Paris. N.p., 1 Apr. 2015. Web. 29 Sept. 2015.