nuit blanche 2010

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' by Michelangelo Pistoletto's at Hotel de Ville

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.

the sounds of summer

The summer sun has finally reached Paris. It took a while, with chilly temperatures until just last week. To celebrate the summer solstice on June 21st, Paris holds an annual event in which music fills the air. This musical celebration began in Paris 28 years ago and now takes place around the world.

I first experienced the sounds of Fête de la Musique last year on a visit to Paris, just before jetting off to the Isle of Skye for work. It remains one of favorite nights, as every corner of Paris is filled with song from 7pm until early morning. Classical orchestras, jazz bands, rock musicians, or simply a man standing on the street performing his best rendition of Elton John’s ‘Rocket Man’. Quite a number of characters, as well as large scale talent find their way into this festival of music and it’s a sensation to weave in and out of the streets with tunes of one performer melting into the next. Personally, I love the ‘organized chaos’ of it all and wish it lasted longer than one night.

In the midst of the melodies as we caroused the right bank, we stopped for dinner at a little bistro, and much to my delight the jazz band featured a tap dancer, tapping to many old American favorites.

One of the most impressive and certainly most passionate performers we heard was Buika, a Spanish singer who filled the air with a unique mix of flamenco and jazz. The jardin du Palais-Royal was the perfect setting for such a diva.

As we biked from the vicinity of the Louvre, too impatient to wait two hours on line to hear the Orchestra de Paris, and much more eager to wander in the direction our ears chose to take us, we biked back to the Marais. Here was quite a scene! The streets were filled with dancing and drinking…and yes, a lot of singing. Though not sure who was part of the line-up. Trying to avoid the madness, we took a few narrower paths and came upon a small crowd of people at the door of the Bibliotheque Historique. Like three small birds, these women’s operatic voices filled the air. We were instantly mesmerized. The perfect notes upon which to end the night.

My mom once said, the greatest talent is the gift of song. Maybe in my next life.

nuit blanche 2009

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.