Postcards from Paris: {Sleepwalking, Nuit Blanche}

The first time that I heard the phrase, “Nuit Blanche” was from an 18 year-old French boy who met me one late afternoon for gouter. He said something like, “I had a nuit blanche last night, and this is my first meal of the day.” Which I found peculiar since gouter was typically around 4:00 in the afternoon.
Nuit blanche translates as White Night, no sleep after the sun has set, and the night continues on just as lively as it would be as if it were still day.
This past Saturday, the 2nd of October was my first Nuit Blanche here in Paris. It was pretty official, and I shared it with several friends and many strangers. The evening started out at the Pompidou Centre, with free entertainment and full access to the entire museum. We listened to a performance with trumpets and swing dancers, and moved on along the city; from Hotel de Ville to Notre Dame there were people out and about past the hour when the metro usually closes. My friends and I went to our favorite late-night boulangerie and indulged in chocolate-filled pastries. We continued our white night on the east side of Paris in Belleville then walked towards the Ile-Saint-Louis where we had the pleasure of meeting a french group of three. They were obviously beside themselves with the events of the evening and had a couple of different vices to share amongst themselves, which they offered to us Americans as a sign of hospitality. We generously declined their offerings of such and such, but continued with conversation as we waited in line for ended up being my favorite installation of the evening; a series of vacuum cleaners sprawled about in this lovely, elaborate room, where the textured ornate wallpaper matched the drapes and gold sconces on the wall offered dim lighting. Connected to each vacuum cleaner was a harmonica, and each machine would go off at a different time blowing air into the harmonicas. The result was some form of music, but describing more accurately a sense harmony and chaos, thus the title of the installation, “Harmonichaos”
More adventures and telling-tales occurred, and the hours spent awake, somewhat in a state sleepwalking, ended with tired feet and heavy eye-lids. We had exchanged a nuit blanche for a jour noir, as the following day was spent dreaming of our time just hours earlier.

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