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Nuit Blanche (White Night) in Paris - 2013 Guide

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Nuit Blanche (White Night) in Paris - 2013 Guide

Spectators marvel at a light installation by artist Anthony McCall at Paris Nuit Blanche 2006.

©2006 Foto Blog. Some rights reserved under the Creative Commons License.

The Night When Art and Culture Reign Until Dawn:

First launched in 2002, Paris Nuit Blanche (White Night) has become a hotly-anticipated annual celebration of all things art and culture in the city of light. Attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, Nuit Blanche sees countless Paris galleries, museums, city halls, and even swimming pools open their doors all night to visitors-- with free entry. Elaborate light installations, edgy performances, concerts, and unclassifiable happenings of all sorts await.

If you want to taste the continued dynamism of the Parisian arts scene, don't miss out on Nuit Blanche.

Nuit Blanche 2013 Practical Details:

When: Saturday, October 5th, 2013

Where: Hundreds of locations around Paris. See this page (in English) at Time Out Paris for more details, or check the official Nuit Blanche site (in French)/.

Transportation: All lines of the metro excepting line 12 and 14 will remain open until around 3:00 am for the occasion of Nuit Blanche. Metro line 14 will remain open all night long, and entrance is free for all from 2:15 am to 5:30 am. Certain stations on line 12 will also remain open throughout the night: Madeleine, Trinité, Notre-Dame de Lorette, Saint-Georges, Pigalle, Abbesses, Lamarck-Caulaincourt, Jules Joffrin, and Porte de la Chapelle. Access is free from 2:15 am to 5:30 am on line 12 as well.

Other metro lines re-open at around 5:30 am, making a longer night out feasible even if you're far away from the festivities.

How to Make the Most of Nuit Blanche:

  • Much like the annual Paris Music Festival (Fête de la Musique), Nuit Blanche is best experienced by ambling. You might choose a couple must-see events and leave the remainder of the evening to chance. Treat Nuit Blanche with the avant garde spirit it represents, and remember, you, too, are part of the happening.

  • Metro cars and night buses are likely to be crammed, especially toward the end of the night, so if feasible, plan to walk back to your hotel or apartment. Take along a good paris street map with you to stay oriented.

  • October in Paris can be chilly and wet-- dress warmly for the occasion.

See Pictures of Past Nuit Blanche Events:

Check out our photo report from Nuit Blanche Paris 2011 and from 2007 to get an idea of the kinds of installations you may expect to find during a white night out in Paris.

Nuit Blanche 2013: Main Areas and Free Openings:

Please check back soon for details on 2013 happenings. In the meantime, you can read about the 2012 edition below to get a sense of the kinds of installations and events you can expect.

Nuit Blanche 2012 is clustered around several areas in Paris, with installations, video, and performances in close reach of each other. It's probably a good idea to choose one or two of these areas, then either opt for the "stumble upon" strategy I detailed above, or, if you know some French or don't mind using the Google page translator, consult a list of events at the official website and decide in advance which seem the most compelling. Either way, you're nearly guaranteed an interesting night.

This year, pedestrians are given free reign in the city, with several areas normally open to traffic turned temporarily into pedestrian-only zones.

Seine River Installations

This year for the first time, the banks of the Seine river, from Maison de la Radio in the city's west to the eastern suburb of Ivry, will be transformed for the occasion of Nuit Blanche. To start in the West, get off at Maison de la Radio (RER C) or Alma Marceau (Metro line 9); to start in the East, you might want to get off at Metro Bastille (line 1, 5). Installations will be concentrated on the banks but also err further inland. Drifting and zig-zagging is highly encouraged this year.

Around Hotel de Ville

Get off at metro Hotel de Ville (line 1, 11) or Chatelet (Metro Line 1, 4, 7, 11, or 14 and RER Line A, B and C) to explore several installations and "happenings" in the city center, near Paris City Hall.

Batignolles-Pigalle

The Northeast areas around Pigalle and Batignolles, once the haunt of artists like Toulouse-Lautrec and Edouard Manet, are hosting their own cluster of events. Get off at Metro Place de Clichy, Blanche or Pigalle (Line 2).

"La Nouvelle Athenes"- Saint Georges

Also near metro Pigalle, another cluster of Nuit Blanche happenings feature video and collaborative performances...that you take part in! Get off at metro Pigalle (Line 2)

Montmartre

The traditional artistic hotbed of Montmartre is hosting over a dozen installations and performances. Get off at Metro Anvers or Abbesses.

Museums and Cultural Institutions Open to the Public in 2012

In 2012, several major museums, galleries and other institutions will stay open for most of the night, offering free entry and special events, installations or performances. These include:

City Viewpoints

This year, also for the first time, the city is opening several buildings to the public from which to enjoy dazzling panoramas over Paris. These will include:
  • The upper terrace of the Morland Tower (4th arrondissement - Metro Sully Morland)
  • The 9th floor of the Institut du Monde Arabe (5th arrondissement - Metro Jussieu)
  • The 24th floor of the Zamansky Tower at the Universite Pierre et Marie Curie (5th - Metro Jussieu)
  • The 18th floor of the Bibliotheque François Mitterrand (13th - Metro Bibliotheque)
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