Out on the White Night
We turned into pumpkins at the stroke of midnight, just about the time the crowds seem to be gaining momentum – us ‘old fogies’ who have our creature habits to be in bed at a reasonable hour. It was La Nuit Blanche – the one night of the year that one is ‘supposed’ to be sleepless, when one is led from one ‘spectacular’ creation to another and is ‘supposedly’ mesmerized by the creative splendor of the artists who dared to install their monumental works.
Every year it seems the crowds grow stronger. This year, thanks to unseasonably warm and rainless weather, the numbers of people on the streets of Le Marais were akin to Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras. Fortunately, Mardi Gras training faired us well while being herded slowly down rue des France Bourgeois as tightly compacted as sardines in a can.
Every table at the outdoor seating of every café and restaurant was taken. Place des Vosges was particularly alive with diners and strollers under the brick and stone arches of the arcade.
The line to enter this year’s most popular exhibit, “Purple Rain” at the Hôtel d’Albert was literally blocks and blocks long down rue des Francs Bourgeois. While being pressed against the building opposite the entrance by the thousands of spectators, we managed to get a photo or two of the entrance to the interior courtyard in which those who entered were showered with purple-lit rain protected by clear umbrellas. I was happier not getting wet.
Also along the same street at the Centre Culturel Suisse, in the windows of it’s library, the work of a young photographer was projected and became a game for those who wanted to dance in front as the images mimicked their movements.
In another window along rue Vieille du Temple, a group had gathered to witness a performance by a woman clad in white gauze on a somewhat surgical table rolling around among what looked like internal organs to music choreographed by one artist within a décor of stark white designed by another…but I didn’t stay long enough to find out how her gyrations would ever be of any real phenomena.
The line to enter the courtyard of the Hôtel de Ville didn’t take near as long as one might have thought to view “The Leopard” video on an enormous screen. The video was the kind that elicits a “What was that we just saw?” question, but the courtyard of the Hôtel de Ville was still worth a visit.
As is always the case, it is astonishing how well-behaved the crowds are in such public events. Squooshed up against strangers might not have felt quite as comfortable elsewhere, but in Paris, it’s what comes with the territory on a night like this and isn’t at all threatening.
Will we do again next year? But, of course…with pleasure.
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris
P.S. Sunday I met with a young personal trainer from New York who is a ‘trailing spouse’ looking to make us leaner, stronger and healthier. He said that at the end of six weeks, with consistent sessions and learning to do some things on my own, that I could expect to: increase flexibility, strengthen certain weak areas of my body, feel stronger and more stable through my ‘core,’ increase energy and mental focus and sleep better. All this coupled with a bit of weight loss…sounds like just what the doctor ordered. If you’re feeling the need to have such personal attention and not have to go to a smelly gym (not my favorite place), then contact Jeremy at [email protected] and tell him I sent you!