Nuit Blanche in Paris is the Ultimate Contemporary Arts Festival

Nuit Blanche Nuit Blanche or White Night festival is an all-night culture fest that turns the whole city of Paris into a living art gallery. Museums and galleries stay open all night and the city presents a multitude of special art installations, street shows, and performances, both indoors and on the streets, free of charge for the public.

Nuit Blanche was first held in 2002 and has been a wildly popular celebration of contemporary art every year since then. On the first Saturday in October, as the days shorten and the air snaps with the crisp chill of fall, the streets of the city become the stage for numerous exhibitions, concerts, and artistic creations. Paris invites about 100 international artists of light, sound, and movement to share their avant-garde concepts throughout the city.

Nuit Blanche is commonly known as ‘White Night’ although the literal translation is ‘sleepless night.’ That’s because it runs from 7:00 pm to 7:00 am, encouraging everyone to “live an extraordinary artistic experience” throughout the night. Public transportation stays open all night so people can move freely across the city absorbing art in many different forms.

2019 Nuit Blanche

Each year the art and expression are different. This year, October 5, 2019, the artistic director, Didier Fusillier, is putting Nuit Blanch in motion – literally.

  • The Parade (7:00 pm – 11:00 pm) – The artists, the public, and even the works of art will circulate through Paris from Place de la Concorde to the Bastille in an exuberant four-hour procession of marching bands, dancers, and monumental works. In the end, the various performers and art will split up and go to four different sites throughout the city for the rest of the night.
  • Walking Artists (7:00 pm – 7:00 am) – White Night participants will be able to meet about a dozen of the invited artists as they walk the streets of Paris with the public or offer participatory performances.
  • The Great Crossing (10:00 pm – 2:00 am) – As a nod to Paris hosting the 2024 Olympics, as well as the mad-cap run through the Louvre in the 2017 documentary film Faces Places, the public can run, jog, or walk at their own pace along two different 8 kilometer routes through a series of 10 prestigious monuments and cultural institutions including the Louvre and the Centre Pompidou.
  • The Velodrome (7:00 pm – 7:00 am) – Part of the ring road will be closed to cars and become a huge outdoor velodrome open for anyone to ride bikes festooned with LED lights, creating a fantastic moving light show. Pedestrians are also welcomed to enjoy luminous art as they listen to concerts by Philharmonie de Paris.

To illustrate the variety of art you may find, here’s a great video of the 2018 Nuit Blanche by SortiraParis.


Celebrations in Other Cities

Nuit Blanche is a crazy, spirited, and diverse display of contemporary art in all its forms. Residents and visitors appreciate and interact with the art throughout a remarkable night. Paris’ Nuit Blanche is so successful that cities all over the world now host White Night festivals attended by millions of art enthusiasts. You can attend White Nights in European capitals of Brussels, Rome, Madrid, Riga, Bucharest and Valletta, and Canadian cities of Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary, Halifax, Winnipeg, and Saskatoon all host White Night events. Melbourne was the first city in Australia to join in and in South America, Santiago, Chile, and Bogota, Colombia have also brought art to the public with White Night events.

To experience this wonderful night of artistic expression in Paris or another city, contact your Covington vacation advisor.

responsible traveler

Leave a Reply