A white night following a bright blue Indian summer day. The ideal mood and climate for Paris’ annual Nuit Blanche, the one night of the year that the city ceases to sleep. One of my favorites, allowing those brave enough, to explore museums and churches in the early morning hours. Our adventures took place in the Marais, beginnning with a video installation of The Leopard at the magestic Hotel de Ville. Incidentally, the first book my Italian ever gave me.
From there we sought the shortest lines with the most engaging exhibitions. Not an easy task. We found Moby Dick at the Museum of Hunting & Nature, complete with a backdrop of whale sounds.
Seeking a moment of respite from the growing crowds, we entered the Église Notre-Dame des Blancs-Manteaux, only to be enchanted by an array of musicians in “Des voix dans la Nuit!” From pianists performing Chopin to a chorus singing Ave Maria, to a dramatic organist... certainly the longest (and the latest) I have ever sat in a church!
By now it was nearly 1am and we made our way to the grand exhibition Purple Rain. The line was wrapped well around the block, and so we passed by, trying to catch a glimpse of this incredible purple rain… Would it have been worth the wait? Perhaps.
Not yet ready to return home, we caroused the early morning streets in search of a last hurrah. What we found was an impressive structure at the Bibliothèque.
Composed solely of cement blocks held up by their arrangement.
Finally, time to end this white night and before it bacame another bright blue day.
With a last stop in Heaven at the Musée d’art et d’histoire du Judaïsme.
Nuit Blanche is one of my favorite nights in Paris. My first was last year and immediately I became a fan of this night of organized creative chaos. The city comes to frenetic life from dusk until dawn. Around every corner an art installation waits to be discovered, in churches, hospitals, gardens…virtually everywhere. My favorite exhibits are often those found by accident, such as the image of a person sleeping, found in a boutique in the Marais, a light installation by Frédérique Chauveau.
Long sheer illuminated curtains, blowing in the wind at the Swedish Institute…eerily romantic.
Love the Differences in many languages by Michelangelo Pistoletto…love the cultural melange!
Atsara created one of my favorite light installations, hidden in a courtyard on Isle Saint Louis.
The rose window of Notre Dame lit up beneath a pitch plack sky, by Thierry Dreyfus.
A perfect grand finale…at 3am.
Paris’ Nuit Blanche has, since it’s induction in 2002, become a highly anticipated celebration of art and culture. From dusk to dawn the doors to galleries, museums and churches stay open, welcoming those brave and eager enough to enter them. For one night a year ‘the city of lights’ becomes ‘the city that never sleeps’. Almost.
Led by a full moon, we began our journey into the white night at 10pm, following a path of art and music beginning in the Marais with video art projected upon the Centre Pompidou and Hôtel de Ville, ending at 3am with a melody of voices at Church Saint-Séverin in the Latin Quarter.
Walking along the Seine I noticed the most intense set of eyes staring at me. These eyes were large and profound, plastered along Ile Saint-Louis and Pont Louis Philippe. I could only imagine this was an artistic statement, not merely a talented graffiti artist. Indeed, this impressive exhibition, part of Nuit Blanche, is the vision of famed French photographer JR, titled ‘Women Are Heros’. The faces of women from impoverished nations around the world, most notably those in the favelas in Rio de Janeiro and in Kibera, Kenya, are projected larger than life, leaving the viewer moved and mesmerized. With eyes wide open.