Held the first Saturday of October, the Nuit Blanche festival in Paris combines large-scale art installations and happenings with the opportunity to discover little-known parts of the city.This year's theme, 'Paris à l'infini', follows the flow of the Seine and aims to beat the normal lengthy queues by opening unusual panoramic viewpoints on the happenings taking place. Chief amongst these are the fifteen tall buildings - none of which is the Eiffel Tower - that will be opened specially - and exceptionally - for the event.
Focus on four of these 'belvédères', all on the east side of the city.
The Tour Morland
The Tour Morland office block sits on what was the Ile Louviers, a small island on the Seine that existed up until the middle of the 19th century. Somewhat appropriately - given its controversial high-rise concrete architecture - it houses the city's urban planning offices. Although the building has often been criticised, and is today threatened by demolition, it has always had a very tempting looking terrace on the 15th floor. This is a unique chance to visit it!
From 9pm to 2am
17 Boulevard Morland
M° Sully Morland
The Institut du monde arabe
The 8th floor terrace of Jean Nouvel's Institut du Monde Arabe is a relatively well-known viewpoint in the city, offering a sweeping vista down across the Ile Saint Louis to Notre Dame. Less well-known is the Salle du Haut Conseil, the institution's meeting room and conference space situated a floor higher.
If visiting, note that the institute's museum spaces and galleries will also be open during the Nuit Blanche.
From 9pm to 2am
1 rue des Fossés Saint-Bernard
Bibliothèque François Mitterand
From the Seine, visitors to the national library of France are generally sent up a steep flight of steps before then being sent back down into the depths of the building. The Nuit Blanche though offers the opportunity to climb up to the 18th floor of one of the building's four generally inaccessible book-end towers.
At a height of nearly 70 metres, it should give a fantastic view down towards one of the highlights of this year's festival, Jacqueline Dauriac's 'Suivez mon panache rose'. Installed in a waste incineration plant, it will transform the site's twin chimneys and their escaping steam into an ever-changing multicoloured creation. Pollution as art!
From 7pm to 2am
Tour 2, Quai François-Mauriac
M° Quai de la Gare / RER C Bibliothèque François-Mitterrand
Université Pierre et Marie Curie
The highest of all the viewpoints this Saturday night will be from the 24th floor of the tower at the heart of the Jussieu university site.
At the foot of the tower, the Décor Sonore company will create a 'jardin Sharawadji', an installation built around the 'contextual sounds' of the surrounding architecture and landscape (which probably equates to people hitting buildings with a hammer).
From 7pm to 7am
4 place Jussieu
The other belvédères:
- Cite de l'architecture et du patrimoine
- Musee quai branly
- BHV (Bazar de l’Hotel de Ville)
- Centre Pompidou
- Hôtel industriel
- Gymnase Lucien Gaudin
- Cité internationale des arts
- Musée du Louvre
- Les docks – Cité de la Mode et du Design
- INALCO Pôle des langues et civilisations
- Musée Nationale des arts asiatiques
For the full Nuit Blanche programme see: http://nuitblanche.paris.fr/en