Paris congratulates itself for Whitest Night ever

3rd October 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Oct 2 (AFP) - More than a million people invaded the streets of Paris on Saturday night for the annual 'White Night' celebration of culture, with everything from video installations to an electric guitar orchestra on offer.

PARIS, Oct 2 (AFP) - More than a million people invaded the streets of Paris on Saturday night for the annual 'White Night' celebration of culture, with everything from video installations to an electric guitar orchestra on offer.

The mayor's office announced a record attendance of between 1.2 and 1.3 million people for the eclectic festivities across the city, with police reporting no serious incidents.

"It's the biggest figure in the four years" the event has been held, the city's top culture official, Christophe Girard, told AFP.

At the popular tourist site of Sacré Coeur, Parisians filled the pedestrian area around the Catholic basilica to listen to an orchestra of 300 electric guitars under the baton of New York composer Rhys Chatham.

A Brazilian nightclub sprang up in the garden next to the Les Halles shopping precinct, with novice samba dancers of all ages shaking their stuff.

Lovers of literature attended readings by authors, while in the Montmartre church Canadian organist Gonzales put on a sound-and-light performance in which he hoped to "recreate the image of God".

"It's a night for all peoples, all ages and all styles" in "a spirit of freedom," Mayor Bertrand Delanoë declared.

Two thousand bicycles were available free to the public and night buses offered free rides home to the Paris suburbs.

Many cafes and restaurants stayed open all night, with the festivities lasting, in some places at least, until dawn.

Several overseas delegations jostled amongst the crowds, with many cities considering importing the Paris 'White Night' model back home. Toronto and Riga will hold similar cultural celebrations from next year, with Rio, Stockholm, Prague, Naples and Barcelona all expressing interest.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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