Monday, October 5, 2009

La Nuit Blanche

I am not a night owl. So when I heard Paris was going to have its Nuit Blanche on the Saturday I had planned to be in town, I wasn't sure what to think. To do a "nuit blanche" in French means to pull an all-nighter, and La Nuit Blanche is a once-a-year celebration where the entire city does just that. There are parties, dances, and artistic performances until the wee hours of the morning in neighborhoods across Paris. As someone who likes to keep reasonable bedtimes, and who would much prefer getting up early to sleeping in, I was doubful of my ability to partake in the festivities. Nevertheless, I decided to give it a try. I'd like to think I did myself proud.

There are a number of different ways to experience Paris' La Nuit Blanche. You could throw a late/early party chez toi, attend the outdoor dance under a gigantic disco ball at the Jardin du Luxembourg, dine at an unusual hour, or just wander the streets taking it all in. After dinner at a normal hour at my favorite Parisian bistro, I took the latter approach. Leaving the Marais, I crossed the Seine to the Ile Saint-Louis, made my way through a light display on a bridge, saw a street performance in front of Notre Dame, snaked through Saint-Michel, fought the crowds past the Jardin du Luxembourg, wandered around St. Germain de Prés, and hung out in front of the Louvre before catching the metro back to my hotel near the Arc de Triomphe. I didn't make it until dawn, but these days, anytime after midnight is something to be celebrated.

Simply wandering the streets was a perfectly enjoyable way to get a feel for La Nuit Blanche. In some areas there was revelry, and in others it was relatively quiet, but everywhere I went offered something different to see, hear and explore. And with a full moon on a cloudless (rainless!) night, every part of the city was marvelously aglow. Even an early bird can enjoy herself on a sleepless night, especially when she's in Paris.

1 comment:

Nomadic Matt said...

you stayed up all night! i don't believe it!