Yesterday was a 2 for one social deal for me because #1 it was the birthday of fellow blogger Shelley aka "A California Girl in Paris" (HAPPY BIRTHDAY SHELLEY!) and #2 it was Le Nuit Blanche.
My Saturday night started with a birthday picnic right in front of the Eiffel Tower on the Champs de Mars. I never used to do to picnics before but ever since I have moved to Paris I can't get enough of them! I have been here officially 3 weeks (YAY me!) and I have already been to 3 picnics around the city. It's just nice to be around fellow assistants, expats, students, Frenchies with some good cheese, wine, sauccisson and fruit. The illumination of the Eiffel Tower was the perfect backlight to set the perfect mood. The weather in France has been superb this week (high 70s) so I hope to have as many picnics as possible before the cold comes along.
The second reason why last night was amazing was because I got to participate in Nuit Blanche for the first time. It's a bit difficult for me to properly explain Nuit Blanche because my French is not the best and I didn't want to spend 4 hours trying to read and comprehend the program. In essence, Nuit Blanche is a celebration of culture and art in Paris. This year they focused on areas north of the River Seine and fortunately for me, 2 of the main areas of the night were around metro Pigalle and Anvers, the 2 metro stations next to my apartment. There were exhibits and displays all over the city and they were free and open to the public. The event started at 7pm and went until 7am, and 2 of the main metro lines were open all night long.
All in all the exhibits were not very impressive and I would see better things in a museum but I think the purpose of the night was to show of the best of Paris by night. It was amazing, at 3 am, people were filling the streets drinking, laughing, fighting, kissing, pissing. Out of the more than 50 exhibits, I saw only 4 but it was great to be apart of the Parisian nigh scene and see a bit of the art Paris has to offer. The best exhibit of the night was an installation called "Purple Rain" displayed in L'Hôtel D'Albert in the 4th arrondissement. The installation was created by Pierre Ardouvin and was inspired by the song "Purple Rain" by Prince. As we entered the hotel, we we each given a purple plastic umbrella and upon entering the hotel's terrace rain started to pour under the illumination of purple light. It was the coolest thing I've seen so far in Paris! My friends and I were trying to figure out how they were able to create rain in this completely open terrace but we could not find the source. It was such a magical moment! Here is a short video I recorded in my cell phone: