Parisians revel in all-night culture fest

4th October 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Oct 3 (AFP) - Hundreds of thousands of Parisians and tourists, encouraged by the mild autumn weather, flooded the streets of the French capital for the annual 'Nuit Blanche' (Sleepless Night), a night-long cultural festival which saw squares and street corners turned into open-air cinemas and music venues.

PARIS, Oct 3 (AFP) - Hundreds of thousands of Parisians and tourists, encouraged by the mild autumn weather, flooded the streets of the French capital for the annual 'Nuit Blanche' (Sleepless Night), a night-long cultural festival which saw squares and street corners turned into open-air cinemas and music venues.  

Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe, who instigated the free annual culture fest in 2002, got the night's festivities underway at 8:00 pm Friday, hailing the event as "a high-quality event, both popular and artistic". He dedicated the night to the celebrated French writer Francoise Sagan, who died last month.  

By midnight, police described the atmosphere as very good.  

Among the organised events were a choir concert at Notre Dame Cathedral, artificial snow and blue lanterns in the Les Halles shopping area and an inflatable cinema screen showing Buster Keaton classics outside the old Bourse building.  

"There are lots of people in the streets, lots of mingling, it's the Nuit blanche; an invitation for dreams and emotion for a great many people," enthused Christophe Girard, one of the event's prime-movers.  

Among those enjoying the special night were a group of 15 children suffering from a rare  disease which leaves them intolerant to ultra-violet light, and therefore to daylight.

They came from all over the country to enjoy a rare chance to mingle socially with other youngsters, with a doctor in attendance to check the UV levels at each event as they toured the capital.  

Along with the homage to Sagan, the night was dedicated to two French hostages being held in Iraq - journalists Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot - with the lobby group Reporters sans frontieres setting up a van outside the Mayoral building to collect signatures in support of their release.  

Among the other special activities organised, three swimming pools stayed open all night, as did the underground Metro rail system. and 8,000 roller-bladers took to the streets in a fast-moving procession.

 

© AFP

 

Subject: French News

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