Nuit de Chine (Night of China) extravaganza at Grand Palais kicks off year of Franco-Chinese celebrations

Nuit de Chine (Night of China)

A few days before the official start of the Chinese New Year, celebrations for the "Year of the Horse" got off to a gallop at the Grand Palais in Paris on Monday night. In addition to the official guests of the Chinese and French governments, more than 2,000 Chinese students were the guests of honor at an extravaganza celebrating 50 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

On January 27, 1964, General de Gaulle issued an official communiqué making France the first major Western country to officially recognize the “eternal China” of President Mao Zedong. Throughout 2014, France and China will host a series of exhibitions, symposiums, encounters, shows and concerts highlighting the areas in which both countries excel.

Equestrian performance at Nuit de Chine (Night of China)

Billed as an evening of images, lighting and sound, Nuit de Chine (Night of China) kicked off the yearlong celebrations with an invitation only piano recital by Chinese pianist Wu Muye and an equestrian performance choreographed by Bartabas, the French creator of a new art form combining horsemanship, music, art and dancing. The first portion of the evening also featured principal dancers from the Chinese Central Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet and the performing troupe of Tagou Martial Arts School.

Transformed into a monumental showcase with multiple stages, the Grand Palais opened its doors to the general public at 9:00 pm. Images of Chinese films that had won prizes at Cannes and famous works of art belonging to the French National Collection were projected on billowing material screens hanging form the ceiling. Accompanied by an “Electronic Soundscape” mixing film sound tracks, Chinese music and compositions by Patrick Vidal, the projected images evolved to include urban and rural scenes of China. The sensation was of a hallucinatory journey.

While the extravaganza was spectacular, the best part of the evening was seeing the interactions between the Chinese and French students. As honored guests of the inaugural event celebrating 50 years of diplomatic relations, Night of China gave them the opportunity to forge bonds of friendship and understanding that will extend into the future.

To welcome the Year of the Horse, there will be three large parades in Paris.

Sunday, February 2 from 2:30 pm starting at the Hôtel de Ville and ending at rue Beaubourg. FREE face painting for children from 10:00 am - 12:00 pm at 29 rue Michel Le Comte.
Sunday, February 9 from 10:00 am following the route Métro Belleville - Boulevard de la Villette - Rue Rebeval - Rue Jules Romains - Rue de Belleville - Rue Louis Bonnet - Rue de la Presentation - Rue du Faubourg du Temple - Métro Belleville.
Sunday, February 9 from 1:00 pm the largest parade with more than 2,000 participants will start at 44, Avenue d’Ivry - Avenue de Choisy - Place d’Italie - Avenue d’Italie - Rue de Tolbiac - Avenue de Choisy - Boulevard Masséna - Avenue d’Ivry.

Click here to see more photos of Nuit de Chine (Night of China) on Facebook.

Images of France juxtaposed with those of China at the Nuit de Chine (Night of China)


  1. I assume the Chinese students are speaking French. I wonder how many French students were speaking Chinese? (Asks one who speaks English.)

    And how late did MK stay at this event?


    1. Funny you should ask about which language they were speaking because that's something that I was curious about. Since the Chinese students are enrolled in universities in France, I overheard most of them speaking French with their French friends and Chinese with their Chinese friends. But I also heard a handful of Westerners (I'm not sure if they were French) speaking Chinese! One of the photos I posted on Facebook shows the Prime Minister of France reading the French translations of the Chinese Ambassador's speech as it was projected on the screen. Perhaps in the future, there will be more diplomats who speak Chinese.

      I went home fairly early because the entire experience was so overwhelming. Have you been in the Grand Palais? If so, imagine it full of sounds and images. The massive banners billowing from the ceiling were incredible. I've never seen anything like it before.

  2. I was in the Grand Palais a long time ago, I forget for what reason, maybe an art show. Or that year Karl sat me in the front row, yeah, that must have been my time there.



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