Sunday, October 6, 2013

Nuit Blanche

Nuit Blanche (white night) is an idiom meaning "sleepless night."  It's also the name of an all-night art event the first Saturday of each October.  There are art installations and performances in several areas of the city.  Our plan was to take it easy on Saturday.  We'd go for lunch and then return to the apartment to rest before checking out the art.  Things didn't quite work out that way.

We ended up going back to Tartine for a late lunch.  I had a croquante, toasted bread with cabécou cheese, smoked duck breast and walnuts.  It was accompanied by salad.  The cabécou cheese tasted like a goat cheese.  I was quite pleased with my lunch.

By the time we finished our lunch it was time to go to the first event of Nuit Blanche.  The brochure we'd gotten from the tourist office led us to believe that there would be 4 helicopters flying over Pont Neuf.  Each helicopter would hold one musician from a string quartet.  They would play music and the sound of the music and the helicopters would be broadcast to the people on the bridge.  This event began about an hour and a half later than advertised and was a disappointment because you couldn't hear the music unless you were near a screen which projected video of the musicians and helicopters.  Needless to say, we were not near that screen and neither were most of the people on the bridge. There was one quick fly-over by the helicopters.

From Pont Neuf we walked up to the city hall of the 4th arrondissement where we saw several weird and incomprehensible displays.  One of them consisted of a man in a cage who was emoting in French. The cage was surrounded by four actors dressed as police in riot gear, also emoting.  Our French isn't good enough to make the dialogue comprehensible, but presumably this performance piece was a political statement of some sort.

We took the Métro to Place de la Republique where we finally saw an installation that we liked.  Place de la Republique is a large public square with a statue of a woman representing the Third Republic in the center.  It's a frequent site of demonstrations and rallys.  The artist had installed several fog machines and the square was covered with fog.  It was eerie, and beautiful, and a little scary because at times the fog was very dense.

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