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The view of Paris from the second level of the Eiffel Tower │© Dustin Gaffke / Flickr
The view of Paris from the second level of the Eiffel Tower │© Dustin Gaffke / Flickr
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A French Solution to City Life is Intellectual Raves

Picture of Paul McQueen
Updated: 26 January 2017
The esteemed philosopher Audrey Hepburn once said that ‘Paris is always a good idea’. On this, we can all agree. But what about Parisians, how are they when it comes to the art of thinking? If La Nuit des Idées is anything to go by, the answer is pretty great.

This global philosophical celebration will be taking place in 40 countries and 50 cities around the world, from Hanoi to Mexico City, and not forgetting Paris, London, and New York in between, on Thursday, January 26th.

‘The Thinker’ at the Musée Rodin │© Yann Caradec / Flickr
‘The Thinker’ at the Musée Rodin │ | © Yann Caradec / Flickr

In all, more than 100 events – including debates, film screenings, readings, musical performances, and, if you can believe it, ‘intellectual rave parties’ – will be held at cultural institutions and French consulates over the course of the weekend.

The theme of the Paris event, ‘a common world’, seems all the more pertinent given the current state of international affairs. During the festival, subjects like the environment, borders and movement, news in the digital age, the rise of world cities, and globalization will be tackled with thought and care.

Former French Prime Minister Laurent Fabius talking to the press during La Nuit des Idées 2016 │© Ulysse Bellier / Flickr
Former French Prime Minister Laurent Fabius talking to the press during La Nuit des Idées 2016 │ | © Ulysse Bellier / Flickr

‘In a world bruised by conflict and fundamentalism […], impoverished by a tendency to standardize ways of thinking,’ writes Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean-Marc Ayrault in his introduction, ‘this nocturnal pause devoted to intellectual debate aims to encourage us not to give up and to restore our taste for the profusion ideas.’

In Paris alone, there will be 27 separate goings-on, the majority on Thursday but some extending into the weekend. The Quai d’Orsay, where nearly 5,000 people gathered for the event last year, will act as the principal hub. Debates there will center on Europe and what the rise of populist politics means for its future.

Other participating venues in Paris include the Centre Pompidou, the Maison de la Radio, the Centquatre-Paris, and the Institut du Monde Arabe.

La Nuit des Idées was founded by Mériam Korichi, an alumnus of the Sorbonne and Harvard University, in Paris in 2012. Her inspiration came from the fact that our brains do some of their best thinking at night, thanks to the natural release of tension that comes at the end of the working day.

Why not go along and see if this observation holds true for you?

The full program of events can be viewed here.