October is the month for fancy art at a host of fairs. But, even if you don’t – or can’t – lash out to go, plenty is on show for free. Much of it is also outdoors. Every year, the Fiac (International Fair of Contemporary Art) installs a set of works in the Tuileries.

But outdoor art also popped up in the Palais Royal, the Place Vendome, the Musée Eugène Delecroix, the Petit Palais and various “offs”. In front of the fair itself, for the weekend, the whole street was transformed into a massive park. It came complete with painted road by Lang & Baumann and a skateboard ramp from Raphaël Zarka.

Fiac Art remains in the Tuileries garden through November. Riding Modern Art, Raphaël Zarka’s book on skating outdoor artworks, is published by Editions B42.

Photo above (detail of Pablo Reinoso’s piece in front of the Petit Palais) by Gilles Kleinefenn @ Gilles Kleinefenn, all rights reserved; photo of Raphaël Zarka’s ramp by Aline Girard © Aline Girard, all rights reserved


How do you change the way people see a museum? The Petit Palais decided to ask an artist. Although their building itself is a vintage treasure, its collection varies. Many of the works are masterful but others are more obscure.

If you visit now however, you will see them all anew.

This is thanks to photographer Valérie Jouve, who has created a personal “counterpoint” to the art. Jouve’s great interest is how people interact with their environment. When it comes to instilling fresh energy, she’s a wonder.

Whether it’s the sweeping grand salons and their history paintings or a room of period portraits, her photos render all of them more vivid, more arresting … and simply more alive.

Sometimes, says Jouve, the key was just a colour. Other times it was a look or a common theme. “I didn’t want anything to be evident,” says the artist. “I was looking for a rhythm, a musicality, of rapport.”

She has certainly breathed new life into the art. You can easily see yourself; here,
only temporary exhibits have a fee.

Valérie Jouve at the Petit Palais runs through 13 January 2018

• While you’re visiting, check out Fernand Pelez’s La Parade des humbles.  Also on show until January and as quirky as it is massive, it’s an example of what this museum can show you. A masterwork by a now-forgotten painter – one of Montmartre’s characters and a story in himself.


Institut de France & Bibliothèque Mazarine; pic Steve Sampson

Contemporary art, all night, for free. Every October, that’s what the Nuit Blanche (“all-nighter”) offers. It links together ephemeral art – videos, projections, installations and happenings – with the chance to visit all kinds of places.

Grand Palais & Pont Alexandre III; pic J.B. Gurliat/Mairie de Paris

This year, there was roller derby on the Alexandre III bridge and the giant “Geode” at La Villette turned into a Tesla sphere.

Géode de La Villette; pic David Pauget/Rfi

Eglise Saint-Merry, a church that figured in Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables, also hosted a great installation.

Inside, only yards away from the Pompidou Centre, artist Daniel Van de Velde hung hollowed out fallen trees. They turned the beautiful building into a “forest” in the midst of which you could hear all-night concert.

Eglise Saint-Merry; pic Steve Sampson

Eglise Saint-Merry; pic Steve Sampson

Eglise Saint-Merry; pic Steve Sampson

It’s a great idea that any town can do.

La Monnaie; pic Cynthia Rose

• The Paris Nuit Blanche takes place every year on the first Saturday in October

Gibert Jeune bookstore; pic Cynthia Rose