Nuit Blanche: Paris readies for all night contemporary art festival © Philippe Lopez, AFP | People walk under an art installation by the Tropicool Company entitled “Le soleil se leve et se couche sans obstacle” (The sun rises and sets without obstacle) as part of the Nuit Blanche at Gare de Lyon in Paris on October 1.

Paris is readying for thousands to swarm the streets of the city Saturday for the 17th ‘Nuit Blanche’ (‘Sleepless Night’), the hugely popular annual celebration of contemporary art. What makes this event extra special, is that it runs all night.

Last year over a million enjoyed, which lasts from 7pm in the evening to 7am in the morning.

Nearly 80 contemporary art exhibits will be on display, as well as dozens of satellite projects, which is being headed by art director . Entrance and transport will be free, and almost 20 restaurants and cafes will stay open along the various routes throughout the night for the crowds to enjoy drinks and snacks.

This year is focusing on emerging artists and will notably include an installation in the heart of the City of Lights running between Les Invalides and the world-famous Champs-Élysées along a “super kilometre” that Charbau said will combine “lively contemporary culture and historical heritage”, in comments to AFP.

Charbau has announced the establishment of four large “” of exhibits planned for Les Invalides, on the Ile Saint-Louis, at the Parc de la Villette city of sciences and at Porte Dorée.

Les Invalides

Syrian singer Waed Bouhassoun accompanied by the Orpheus XXI orchestra will perform in the halls of the Hôtel des Invalides. Scandinavian electronic artists Lindstrøm, Axel Boman and Komél Kovács will also set up nearby for a music and light .

Île Saint-Louis

Artists and Mateo Revillo have created a “” (Stroll of the Unexpected) that will include artwork hidden in secret places along the narrow streets and bridges of a Paris reminiscent of the Middle Ages on Île Saint-Louis. The heart of the work, ,” will involve more than 300 men and women representing a wide range of professions, from bakers to bartenders, making “votive” objects out of clay, flower petals and straw.

Abdelkader Benchamma is working on a giant fresco for his “Echo de la naissance des mondes” (Echo of the Birth of Worlds) exhibit at the Collège des Bernardins.

Parc de la Villette

The constellation at la Villette will feature whirling dervishes from Syria and Geysa, a nearly 20-metre-high geyser of water mixed with red clay by artist Fabien Léaustic; , a sound and light installation by artist TremensS; and Platonium, a video installation from Eric Michel and Akari-Lisa Ishii.

A programme specially designed for young people will also be on diplay at the at la Villette.

Porte Dorée

Porte Dorée will offer another chance to wander near the outskirts of the city from the Palais de la Porte Dorée to the banks of Lac Daumesnil and the Zoological Park.

After initial successes in 2015 and 2017, the Musée de l’Orangerie and ProQuartet are planning another string quartet performance in the oval rooms that house Monet‘s Water Lilies (les Nymphéas). Each concert will include the of a work by composers from around the world including Florence Baschet, Michele Reverdy, Leilei Tian and Xu Yi.

La Nuit du Quatuor at the Musée de l’Orangerie

Other extravagant displays are planned across the city. Avenue Winston-Churchill will be transformed into an immense roller rink, while planners say metro stations near the Bois de Vincennes will be turned into urban jungles.

First held in 2002, la Nuit Blanche has since given rise to similar nighttime contemporary art expositions in other cities including and .

For more information visit the official site of the or the Nuit Blanche Facebook . You can also check out and the hashtag on Twitter.

For a list (in English) of events at various location around Paris, .

For Nuit Blanche events in other French regions, .