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Pumping Art Through Our Parisian Veins

8-10-12laNuitBlanche-HoteldeVille Squat8-10-12laNuitBlanche-HoteldeVille MayorsOfficeMayor’s office in the Hôtel de Ville8-10-12laNuitBlanche-PompidouLa Nuit Blanche at Pompidou8-10-12laNuitBlanche-NationalArchivesBubbles at Musée des Archives Nationales8-10-12neerlandaisexpositionWilliam Kentridge “What Will Come”8-10-12VanCleefArpelsatLouvreVan Cleef & Arpels: l’Art de la Haute Joaillerie8-10-12VanCleefArpelsatLouvre2Van Cleef & Arpels: l’Art de la Haute Joaillerie8-10-12VanCleefArpelsatLouvre3

The rain put only a slight damper on the 11th edition of La Nuit Blanche. Thank goodness, Parisians are equipped with umbrellas. (Good advice is to never leave home without your umbrella, your sunglasses or your camera.) No, the number of people on the streets was not the same as in previous years, but that made the lines a little less long and the streets a little less packed.

The biggest problem with La Nuit Blanche is that there are simply too many things to see and do in one evening, in spite of the rain. If you have succeeded to visit two or three venues, then in all honesty, you’ve done good. We stood in line at the Hôtel de Ville only about 20 minutes to enter the southwestern rooms in which 55 works of art were displayed in honor of the event titled “Entre les Murs, Accrochages Ephémères.”

The works, definitely worth the visit, represented Parisian artists, sponsored by the Fond Municipal d’Art Contemporain de la Ville de Paris (FMAC)…and the tour, even more worth the visit, took you through several sumptuous rooms and hallways and then up a grand staircase literally into the Mayor’s private office. (I once had the pleasure of being in this office when Mayor Anthony Williams of Washington, DC came to meet with Bertand Delanoë in September of 2004 [Parler Paris Archives]).

Note: To visit the Hôtel de Ville in person or virtually, Visit the Hôtel de Ville.

The queue to enter the “Aftersquat” at 59 rue de Rivoli was way too long and moving way too slowly. With the added ‘bonus’ of two smokers in front of us and a French man whose ‘space bubble’ was one inch from my neck, we opted out. (Can someone explain to me why a French person behind you in line always has to be touching you even if it isn’t going to make any difference in how fast they move up in line? Is their sense of space THAT much tighter than ours?) Of course, the squat was one of the best exhibits all evening, with 30 artists in residence in six floors. Every two weeks, a new exhibition is installed and entry is free six days a week. There are free concerts on the weekends starting at 6 p.m. and their Web site claims it’s the “Coolest Thing to Do in Paris!” Learn more and see it for yourself.

At the courtyard of the Musée des Archives Nationales (60, rue des Francs-Bourgeois), “Bubble Your Life” by Grazia Magazine, turned the night and the courtyard into a magical paradise. A simple idea and not a huge expense, bubble-making machines spewed millions of the air-filled soapy water molecules into the air, back lit by spot lights. As they floated to the sky, they glistened like fairy dust.

(Isn’t it interesting to learn that?…”The secret to a good bubble is something called surface tension, an invisible bond that holds water molecules together. Water is a polar molecule, so it has plus and minus ends just like magnets that attract each other. When the water molecules align with each other they stick together, creating surface tension.”…and a bubble!)

We missed the other venues, but not the spirit of the night nor of the entire weekend pumping art though our veins. In addition, outside of the realm of La Nuit Blanche, we visited three other exhibitions of note: 1) “Through and Open Window” at the Institut Néerlandais, 2) “Van Cleef & Arpels: l’Art de la Haute Joaillerie” at the Musée des Arts Decoratifs and 3)
Van Gogh: Rêves de Japon” and “Hiroshige: l’Art du Voyage.”

Each and every one was “impressionnant.” Brilliant contemporary art can be found at the Institut Néerlandais (do not miss the William Kentridge “What Will Come” projection onto a table of an animated narrative sequence read by the viewer from its transposition onto a reflective cylinder); the diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, etc., etc., will be heavenly sensory overload at the Musée des Arts Decoratifs; and you will never have seen such beautiful Van Goghs (unless you had visited the Kröller-Müller Museum in the National Park De Hoge Veluwe not far from Amsterdam from where the paintings came) nor enjoyed as many of Hiroshige’s 19th-century wood block prints.

And if that’s not enough, be sure to get advance tickets (or else you’ll wait in a long line) to see the Edward Hopper at the Grand Palais or any of the other exhibitions around town, which you can find at, or other sites listing “Things to Do.”

Someone once asked me what there was to do in Paris in TWO DAYS. I said, “Nothing. Stay home. You need a lifetime in Paris to experience it.”

A la prochaine…


adrian lanuitblanche2012 byAnneMortonAdrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

(Photo by Anne Morton)

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P.S. I hope there is someone out there willing to record today’s newest episode of House Hunter’s International for me so I can also see it for the first time! That would be delightful! “Returning to Europe” – Episode HHINT-4301H, airing today, October 8th at 10:30 pm ET/PT and 1:30 am ET/PT. Then send it straight on to [email protected]. Many thanks!

P.P.S. And I hope to see many of you tomorrow at Parler Paris Après Midi when Michael Honegger will discuss and share a new body of his photographs of the City of Light taken with his trusty iPhone. Visit Parler Paris Après Midi for more information!


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