Friday, October 9, 2009

Nuit Blanche

Nuit Blanche (meaning "white night" or "all-nighter") is an annual all-night Parisian celebration of the arts. The entire center of the city is open all night. Art galleries and famous museums stay open way later than usual. It's a pretty spectacular thing.

Me and my friends met up at Hotel du Ville (city hall) where we knew we could get information on the galleries that were open that night. I knew that I wanted to visit a graffiti exhibit that I had missed out on when Alex was here. Other people wanted to go to the Luxembourg gardens (where there was supposedly dancing), the Grand Mosque, and the Renoir museum.

Also on the agenda: ice cream.

You could easily spot the information people because they were riding on segways wearing light-up vests.
I was pretty jealous of the segway.

Outside Hotel du Ville there was an art exhibit projected onto a giant screen. It was a woman facing away from a camera who was just standing in the middle of a crowded sidewalk. I imagine it was saying something about being anonomys in a big city, etc. etc.

We were a few blocks from the graffiti exhibit, so we started trekking up to it. On the way there, we saw a really cool church that was all spooky inside. Have you ever been inside a gothic cathedral at night with no lights but candles? My friends were afraid that someone was going to jump out and grab them haunted house style.

We waited outside for a few stragglers from our group and noticed that the store across from the church was very busy. It was an-erm- "adult" store. Across from a cathedral. And there were kids looking in the windows. Only in a big city.

We hustled on and passed the Centre Pompidou, outside of which there was a man in a headdress.
We found the graffiti exhibit. Upon walking in, it smelled like paint.

The premise of the exhibit was that they asked 25 prolific graffiti artists to create a work of art that reminds them of the spirit of graffiti and why they began tagging. The results were very interesting.

A guy was making art by pouring out ink with metal in it onto a table, then guiding the ink with a magnet below the table. It was mesmerizing.

Not very practical, but still cool.

My favorite piece, below, looked like a fire extinguisher case. Translated it says:
"Emergency spray paint. Reserved for the exclusive use in graffiti. Break glass. Remove spray can. Shake up and down. Tag."

After the exhibit, we went to find a metro that would take us to the Luxembourg Gardens. But first--pit stop! There is a gelatto place called "Amorino" all over Paris. What's cool is that they make a flower out of you gelatto. I ordered raspberry, passion fruit, and vanilla. It was delicious!

My friend Emily accidentally matched her ice cream to her outfit.

For some God-awful reason, the rest of my group decided to walk to the Luxembourg Gardens. So off we went. Little did we know that there was no dancing, but there was the world's largest disco ball! And a two hour wait to get in. I for one wanted to pass. (That bright light below is the disco ball)

Instead we decided to go to the Grand Mosque which was also supposed to be really cool. It was a bit further out from the city center so we figured that it would be less busy.

On the way there we saw the Pantheon. There was a brass band outside playing disco. It was excellent.

The Grand Mosque was less busy, but we still had to stand in line. It was really pretty. It was all dark, but they have a garden inside, and there were some art pieces.

After the Mosque, we walked to the metro. It was closed. This is the first time that that happened to me. That's because the metro was supposed to be open until 3am this night! Luckily, I was with two girls who lived close to me, and the Mosque was only about a 20 minute walk from my apartment. We ended up sticking close by a family who were walking in the same direction, and everyone got home safe.

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